By Vin Mercogliano
MAMARONECK – The formula for Mamaroneck to get to the Class A championship game was simple enough, but getting it done against a familiar opponent would be no easy task.
Win faceoffs and possess the ball.
It’s a recipe for success in any lacrosse game, but against an explosive team like White Plains, the importance of winning those two battles was crucial.
“That was our game plan going in,” senior midfielder Reed Malas said. “If you’re playing against a great offense, you want the ball. The best defense is a good offense, so we just wanted to take good shots and make sure we finished.”
Mamaroneck had eked out a two-goal victory over White Plains when the league rivals met in the regular season, but Tuesday’s 19-8 semifinal was much more convincing for the second seed.
It set up a showdown with No. 8 Mahopac in championship game at White Plains on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. — a team that Mamaroneck has eliminated in each of the previous three seasons, including a 9-8 win to capture the program’s first ever section title in 2012.
“We’re all ecstatic,” junior midfielder Eric Greenberg said. “We’ve beaten them the last three years, so they’re going to want us really bad. I’m sure that they’re ecstatic, too, and at the end of the day, I think that the better team is going to win. We’ll see.”
Mamaroneck (12-6) began on Tuesday with a flurry.
The Tigers won each of the first three faceoffs, which led to two goals from Greenberg and one from Jack Harrigan, giving Mamaroneck a 3-0 lead just over four minutes into the game.
“The first quarter was probably one of the best quarters that we’ve played all season,” Malas said. “It starts with (Ben) Shapiro winning faceoffs. He did a phenomenal job with that. And then we really worked the ball, took minute possessions, took really good shots, and I think that’s what built the lead and carried us through the game.”
No. 3 White Plains (13-5) picked it up in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 7-5 after Chris Polanco’s goal with 19 seconds remaining in the first half. But Chris Conley scored from his knees with just one second left to halt White Plains’ momentum.
“Our offense is really, really strong, so whenever a team goes on a two or three goal run, we’re confident that we’re going to put the ball in the back of the net,” Malas said. “We can do it in runs, too.”
Charlie Harris led Mamaroneck with five goals, including three to help his team pull away in the third quarter. Conley added four goals, while Malas finished with three goals and four assists.
Brendan Johnson led White Plains with three goals, as Mamaroneck allowed only three total in the second half.
“Our defense played great in the second half,” Greenberg said. “Our coach (Jeff Barnard) challenged them at halftime, and they stepped up. We’ve always known they’re a great unit and it looks like they’re coming on at the right time.”
File photo: Chris Conley and Reed Malas