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Griffin McGrath

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By Bill Landon

The Mount Sinai Mustangs made short work of visiting East Hampton-Bridgehampton on the football field Saturday afternoon, shutting out the Bonackers, 33-0, in a victory that was icing on the cake for the host team’s homecoming celebration.

It was a lopsided game after Mount Sinai scored its fourth unanswered touchdown, and rather than kick the extra point, the Mustangs took a knee to arrest the scoring fest at 27-0.

Mount Sinai head coach Vinnie Ammirato rested his starters and flushed his bench, as every available player on his 35-man roster saw action the rest of the way.

On their first possession of the game, the opposing team was forced to punt on three and out.

With the game less than two minutes old, Mount Sinai senior running back Christian Knab fielded the ball then found a hole, bounced to the outside and went the distance for the score. With the extra point, the Mustangs took the early 7-0 lead.

“We played our hardest — everyone played their best,” Knab said. “We came out and we did what we’re supposed to do.”

The Bonackers, fielding just 18 players and losing two to injury during the game, used every available player on their bench out of necessity. Again, unable to move the chains, the opposing team was forced to punt.

Mount Sinai senior wide receiver Griffin McGrath went 64 yards for the next touchdown, and after another East Hampton-Bridgehampton three and out, junior wide receiver Jake Knab fielded a clean ball and took it all the way down the stretch for the team’s third touchdown.

“I caught the ball and there was a good wall set up [in front of me so] I followed the wall,” McGrath said. “And it was clear all the way to the end zone.”

Jake Knab took over at quarterback for junior R.J. Maher the rest of the way.

“This game was unusual — first string starters usually come out and sometimes second string goes in,” Knab said. “Today was a fun game for me because I rarely play.”

Early in the second quarter, Mount Sinai junior running back John Paolella plowed up the middle to find the end zone for another six points.

“We played well all around and second teamers got their chance today,” Paolella said. “It was a chance to play at homecoming and we made the most of it.”

As the kicking team took to the field for the point-after attempt, Ammirato barked the play from the sideline, and the Mustangs lined up as if they were going for two, but took a knee to keep the score 27-0.

“We don’t want to score anymore,” Ammirato said from the sideline. “Let’s keep the score reasonable.”

The Mustangs non-starters couldn’t control themselves, and freshman running back Liam McGrath, who was brought up from the junior varsity squad to play in the game, was not to be stopped as he raced with the ball down the left sideline for the final touchdown of the afternoon. Choosing not to attempt the point after, Mount Sinai again took a knee to hold the score at 33-0.

With the win, the Mustangs improve to 6-1, vying for second place in League IV with John Glenn. The Mustangs will battle John Glenn on the gridiron Saturday in the last game of the regular season, to break the tie.

“Everyone is going to work their hardest and put in the extra work in practice,” Christian Knab said, for his Mustangs team to be able to top John Glenn. “And we’ll have to see what happens on Halloween.”

Ammirato said that the best part of the homecoming win is that everyone on his bench saw action.

“Just getting everyone in the game — I love when that happens,” the head coach said. “These kids come to practice every day and work just as hard sometimes they get in the game sometimes they don’t, and today they got a chance to play some quality minutes at homecoming in front of a big crowd; getting their names announced.”

Ammirato said that because the junior varsity game was cancelled, it presented an even bigger opportunity, bringing up some sophomores and freshman that saw some action, too.

Griffin McGrath is ready to see his team claim the No. 2 spot.

“We’ll have to work hard in practice this week and watch film,” he said. “And we’ll have to execute the coaches’ game plan to the letter.”

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Mount Sinai senior attack Dan Bullis looks for a cutter as he races around the circle in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss to Manhasset at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai senior midfielder Zack Rudolf maintains possession of the ball as he cuts inside past a Manhasset player in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior midfielder Zack Rudolf maintains possession of the ball as he cuts inside past a Manhasset player in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon

With 28 seconds left, Nassau County champion Manhasset scored the go-ahead goal to edge out the Suffolk County title-winning Mount Sinai boys’ lacrosse team, 7-6, in the Long Island Class B championship game Saturday night at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

“It’s just frustrating,” Mount Sinai head coach Harold Drumm said. “When you play your heart out and you give it everything you have and you don’t come out as the winner, it’s hard to accept.”

As the two teams collided, Mount Sinai found itself lighting up the scoreboard first with three unanswered goals.

Senior midfielder Tony DiMonti drove home an unassisted shot, followed by senior midfielder Zack Rudolf, and then junior midfielder Griffin McGrath dished one up to senior attack Dan Keenan, who split the pipes for the 3-0 lead.

Manhasset broke the ice with a goal to end the first quarter, and added another to open the second, but Mount Sinai senior attack Dan Bullis got the call next, finding the back of the cage unassisted at the 7:32 mark to edge ahead, 4-2.

Demonstrating that any position on the field could score, Mount Sinai sophomore defenseman Lucas Capobianco-Hogan went the distance, as the longstick buried his shot, as his team took a 5-2 advantage into the half.

Mount Sinai senior midfielder Tony DiMonti shoots and scored in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss to Manhasset at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior midfielder Tony DiMonti shoots and scored in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss to Manhasset at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon

Both teams traded goals in the third quarter, with Manhasset scoring first, and Keenan following off a feed from Bullis, to help the Mustangs stay out in front, 6-3, to start the final stanza.

Manhasset owned the final 12 minutes of play, and scored three unanswered goals to tie the game at 6-6 with 4:02 left in regulation.

The game looked as though it was heading into overtime, but with 28 seconds left on the clock, a spin move in front of the cage led to the Indians scoring the go-ahead goal. Mount Sinai won the ensuing faceoff, but could not respond as the clock expired, ending the Mustangs’ season.

Drumm said he was proud of his team for playing hard and giving it all they had.

“I told the kids it’s been a great season for Mount Sinai, and this has been a special season for us,” Drumm said. “They’ve got to look at themselves in the mirror and decide what’s important in life.”

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The Mount Sinai boy’s lacrosse team embraces one another in celebration of the Mustangs’ first-round playoff win over Islip, 6-4, on May 18. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The bond between seniors Danny Bullis and Dan Keenan spans nearly eight years, and the connection between the attackmen was evident on the field Monday as the two connected for half of the No. 3-ranked Mount Sinai boys’ lacrosse team’s goals in a 6-4 victory over No. 6 Islip in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs Monday.

Mount Sinai’s Griffin McGrath scoops up the ground ball off the faceoff in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Griffin McGrath scoops up the ground ball off the faceoff in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We practice together all of the time … and there’s a good connection there,” Bullis said. “I always know where he is on the field so I tend to feed the ball to him.”

With the game tied 1-1 to the start of the second quarter, the team’s leading scorers connected for their first goal of the evening.

Less than two minutes in, sophomore Nick Cesario scooped up a turnover in the Mustangs’ zone and carried it all the way down the field before passing it to Bullis. Milliseconds after receiving the pass, Bullis dished the ball outside to the left of the goal to Keenan, who whipped it in past the goalkeeper to break the tie.

Senior Tony DiMonti scored next from 30 yards out off an assist from senior Jason Vengilio, and senior goalkeeper Charlie Faughnan made two big stops — one while the team was a man down — to preserve the 3-1 advantage heading into the halftime break.

“Playoffs are playoffs and every game is going to be a battle,” Mount Sinai head coach Harold Drumm said. “Islip is an excellent team, and we’re just really proud of the kids. They worked really hard.”

Mount Sinai’s Charlie Faughnan deflects the ball away from the net in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Charlie Faughnan deflects the ball away from the net in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Bullis tallied the first goal of the third stanza off an assist by junior Griffin McGrath, and after Islip scored the next goal of the game to cut the lead in half, Keenan found the back of the net off another pass from Bullis to give Mount Sinai a 5-2 lead.

Islip refused to go down quietly and kept pushing for a goal. The team got an open look at the net, but couldn’t capitalize and made one final attempt with nine seconds left in the quarter, but Faughnan came through with another save.

“Charlie’s been playing outstanding,” Drumm said of his goalkeeper, who finished the game with seven saves. “Charlie saves us and bails us out a lot. Our defense does a great job, but Charlie is the backbone of that and he makes some saves that I just have to thank him after the game for.”

Islip squeezed a goal past Faughnan with 8:55 left to play, and just over a minute later, Bullis and Keenan connected for a final time, for Kennan’s hat trick goal.

“Dan Keenan, when he shoots overhand, he has one of the best shots in the league, without question, and Danny Bullis is an excellent lacrosse player,” Drumm said. “[Bullis] can feed, shoot, dodge, he does a great job. He looks for anybody that’s open. They work in practice together all the time and they work well together, so it’s a nice matchup.”

Mount Sinai’s Danny Bullis shoots the ball over an Islip player for a goal in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Danny Bullis shoots the ball over an Islip player for a goal in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Islip scored once more two minutes later and threatened late in the game, but Mount Sinai’s defense shut down any Islip opportunities and the offense continued to pass the ball around the outside to eat some time off the clock and preserve the win.

“It was a good team win,” Bullis said. “Our defense was really solid, and goalkeeping, and offensively we moved the ball well. [In the second quarter] we just started making better choices on offense like possessing the ball; moving the ball, and it just started to click.”

Mount Sinai extended an 11-game win streak into the postseason, and will have another home game Thursday, where the team will host No. 7 Eastport-South Manor at 4 p.m.

“We had an excellent regular-season for us and we’re real proud of the guys, but none of that really matters at this point,” Drumm said. “What matter is now and we won the game today and moving into [today] we play Eastport-South Manor … and we’re prepared. We’ll go into that game knowing it’s going to be a game liked this — a battle — and just try to win every play and hopefully come out with a ‘W.’”

This version corrects the spelling of Tony DiMonti’s name.