Perhaps a bit obscured in the shadow of greatness that surrounds Joey Spallina is the understanding that the Mount Sinai boys lacrosse team is a lot more than Joey Spallina. And that’s saying something. That’s saying a lot.
Spallina, by any measure, has to be considered one of the greatest high school lacrosse players Long Island has produced. The Mount Sinai senior attackman surely made his mark in more ways than one Tuesday evening, becoming Long Island’s all-time career points leader as the top-seeded Mustangs romped over No. 2 Shoreham-Wading Rivcr, 16-5, in the Suffolk County Class C final. It was Mount Sinai’s second straight county championship. The Mustangs will defend their Long Island title against Manhasset or South Side Saturday at Hofstra University.
Mount Sinai (18-0), the Division II regular-season champion, took charge from the start and never allowed SWR (16-2) to pick up any momentum, building leads of 6-1, 10-2 and 14-4 by the end of the first three quarters.
Late in the game, with the result a mere formality, there was one final piece of unfinished business. Spallina worked his way from around the back of the cage, dodging a defender before putting in the game’s final goal with 2 minutes, 37 seconds remaining. The public-address announcement followed that Spallina had scored the 501st point of his career, a Long Island record.
Spallina (225 goals, 276 assists for his career) surpassed West Islip’s Nick Galasso, who set the previous standard at 500 points in 2010, according to Newsday.
“This is awesome, honestly,” said Spallina, who would be in his fifth varsity season had the pandemic not claimed the 2020 campaign.
Spallina scored three goals from six shots to go with five assists. That gave him 76 goals and 88 assists this season, tops in Suffolk, per Newsday.
“He’s just proved on every aspect to be the best high school lacrosse player I’ve ever watched or coached,” Mount Sinai coach Harold Drumm said. “I don’t know what else he could possibly prove. He broke the record in four years, not five, you know, and we didn’t go really deep in the playoffs a couple of those years and every single team does whatever they can do to try to stop him and he still has eight, nine, ten points a game and all the kids on the team thrive off him. He’s just an exceptional, exceptional lacrosse player.”
No one has to tell that to SWR coach Michael Taylor.
“He’s got to be one of those historical players,” Taylor said. “He’s unbelievable. His lacrosse IQ is off the charts.”
And Spallina has a lot of friends. Talented friends.
His fellow attackmen, Lucas Laforge (six goals, one assist) and Cole Marsala (three goals, one assist), did their parts in making life difficult for SWR. Gavin Takacs contributed two goals and an assist, Christopher Colantonio had a goal and an assist and James Carretta also scored.
The SWR goals came from Francisco Cortes, Liam Kershis, Max Barone, Owen Taylor and Alec Gregorek-Ali. Gregorek-Ali finished the season with 60 goals and 23 assists while Kershis ended up with 42 goals and 35 assists.
Both goalies, SWR’s Jaden Galfano (seven saves) and Mount Sinai’s Brayden Wilcken (11 saves), played well.
SWR long-stick midfielder Ryan Farron said Galfano, a sophomore transfer from Eastport-South Manor, “was given a pretty hard task, you know, a lot of shots on the crease, a lot of shots from Joey, you know, not an easy task. I thought he played a great game, though, you know. The kid has a lot of heart, transferred here knowing he’d be a standout goalie, and I think he proved it this season and I think he proved it this game. I think he’s an amazing goalie.”
A big difference-maker was Austin Oppenheim’s faceoff work. The Mount Sinai senior won 19 of 23 faceoffs and collected nine ground balls.
And then, of course, there was Spallina, who is committed to Syracuse, as are his junior brothers, Brett and Jake Spallina.
“It’s not just him, but the whole offense just runs through Joey,” Farron said. “His game is more feeding than getting a goal, so he uses the slide to his advantage and his whole team works around him. They cut backdoor and they’re really good at it and they just got the better of us today at it.”
SWR’s only two losses this year have come to Mount Sinai, including a 12-7 defeat May 15.
Asked about his team’s approach to handling Joey Spallina, Taylor said: “We had several things we tried. Obviously, not many of them worked. So, you learn from it and thank God Joey’s graduating.”