Graham's GWG lifts Chaminade over WI
In practice shooting drills, Chaminade players are instructed to mentally divide the net into three triangles, a large one in the middle, and two smaller ones on either side.
"Rather than yell out 'shoot it low right or low left,' our buzzword is 'little triangle,' " Flyers coach Jack Moran said.
Saturday, Chaminade's Matt Graham got an A in geometry as his sharp-angle shot with 13 seconds remaining found the right triangle and produced a 7-6 boys lacrosse victory over West Islip, supplying a sizzling ending to a non-league game in damp, chilly weather at Chaminade's Orr Stadium.
"I probably would have liked him to shoot it more straight on, but I can't argue because it went in," Moran said. "Out of the timeout, we went to Matt in the alley and if the shot wasn't there, he was going to pass it to Ryan [Lukacovic] behind the net."
The shot was there as Graham (two goals, one assist) beat Jack Kelly (12 saves in an otherwise superb game) low to the stick side. "I practice that shot all the time," Graham said. "It was a slim angle, but I was open."
Graham got his scoring chance because Flyers goalie Danny Fowler (11 saves) came up big moments earlier. He got his stick on a shot from the right slot by Anthony DeLuca and then outhustled the Lions to the end line, giving Chaminade (3-0) possession with 51 seconds left. "Both goalies were excellent, but Danny was the difference," Moran said.
West Islip (2-1) was able to gain possession on the final faceoff, but it came after a prolonged scrum near midfield and when the Lions called timeout, there were only 3.8 seconds left. Fowler made an easy save on Nick Aponte's long, desperation shot to give Chaminade the victory in this annual early-season non-league matchup of nationally ranked schools.
"A game like this is what it's all about," said junior Brendan O'Callaghan, who scored the first three goals of his varsity career, including one each in the third and fourth quarters to provide a 6-4 lead. But Brendan Smith and Tom Moore (three goals) scored in the fourth to set up Graham's second career game-winner.
"The first one was last year against Fairfield Prep," Graham, a senior, said. "This one feels a lot better. It's West Islip."