By Mike Dougherty
MAMARONECK- Peter Conley spent the entire game entertaining stick-weilding company, so it was a shock to see the standout midfielder running loose straight down the middle of the field in overtime.
Nick Charla recovered just in time.
The long pole froze the Lakeland/Panas defense with a nifty stick fake in traffic along the right sideline as Scott Greenberg rolled back to help, and calmly flipped a pass to Conley, who rushed the cage and scored to give Mamaroneck a 7-6 win Tuesday in a Section 1 Class A semifinal.
In an instant, sticks and gloves were airborne.
“Nick did an unbelievable job down the stretch,” Greenberg said. “He was coming to flip it to me and noticed Peter was open, so he threw a little fake and got the ball to Peter.
“Once Peter caught the ball, I stopped running. I knew the game was over.”
Conley, a Georgetown signee, finished with three goals.
“We have confidence with Nick handling the ball,” he said. “He’s probably got the best stick of any of the poles. I knew there wouldn’t be anyone on me because the attackmen were covering me so I made a break for it. I just ran down the middle and Nick put it right on my stick. I looked up and there was room to run.”
There was a groan on the Lakeland/Panas sideline before Conley wound up for the shot.
After they let a 6-1 lead get away in the second half, the Rebels were on edge. They did get some good looks down the stretch and in overtime, but were shut down over the final 30 minutes,
“We started to play a little selfishly, like we had in the first half of the season,” Lakeland/Panas coach Jim Lindsay said. “The first half we shared the ball and were getting open looks. And credit their goalie, he made a couple of big stops. It’s confidence and discipline, and in the second half we lacked both.”
Scott Greenberg gave Mamaroneck a little momentum with two third-quarter goals, and Dylan Pailes-Friedman gave the Tigers chance after chance by going 13-4 on faceoffs.
“That shouldn’t be overlooked,” head coach Jeff Barnard said. “He gives us possession after possession. He does a phenomenal job there, game after game, against big teams.”
Ben Martin knotted the score with 4:18 to play from the right wing.
“I wasn’t nervous. We’ve been here before,” Conley said. “They ran down. We ran down. We just had a little juice there to finish it off.”
Mamaroneck will defend its sectional title on Thursday at 8 p.m. at White Plains High School against North Rockland.
“I don’t even know what happened in the first half,” Greenberg said. “We came out so flat. I have no explanation for that. We’re mostly seniors and we’ve been down before and we didn’t get down. We fought for our lives.”