The Chiefs were down. Oh, were they ever down.
Massapequa's girls lacrosse team was down a goal -- mostly thanks to West Babylon's Christina Esposito, who tied a career high with eight goals Monday. They were down a coach -- a red card to Megan Zimmer, who was flagged for disputing the tight officiating that led to four Massapequa yellow cards. And they were down not one but two players for the final 15:36.
But as it turns out for this gritty crew, what goes down, must come up.
Esposito scored with 15:32 left to give the Eagles (0-2) an 8-6 lead, but the Chiefs, led by Kristin Yevoli and Kelsey O'Brien, scored eight times in the last 14:34 to beat West Babylon, 14-12, in non-league.
Yevoli's bouncer on O'Brien's feed from around the back of the net gave the Chiefs a 13-12 advantage with 2:55 left, their first lead. Yevoli and O'Brien each had four goals and two assists, with O'Brien scoring three goals and one assist after Massapequa went down by two players. Colleen Bourgal's score with 1:40 to go provided the final margin.
"We were definitely motivated," O'Brien said of a team that became noticeably amped after Zimmer's ejection. "That really knocked us. We knew that to win, we'd have to say, 'You know what? We can do this.' "
But first they'd have to stop, or at least slow, Esposito. The Northwestern-bound midfielder showed off her shooting prowess, dancing around defenders or, on three occasions, sprinting from midfield to finish with overhand blasts.
"We had to mark up on her because she's just so good," Yevoli said. "We did our best."
After Paige O'Connor's score gave West Babylon the 10-8 lead, a fired-up Massapequa (3-1) responded by scoring four straight, capped by Rosemary Pimental's sprawling, falling shot that bounced in for the 12-10 lead with 6:36 to go. Samantha Apuzzo's free-position goal with 3:21 left tied it at 12.
"Winning is the best when you're coming back from a tie or down by one," Yevoli said.
"There's nothing like it."