Instant classic.

Titanic struggle.

Flat-out war.

Choose your overused cliché because each would be an appropriate summation of today’s “Battle of the Sound” opener between Manhasset and host Darien.

When it was over, the Indians celebrated like they had just won a state championship. The Blue Wave, on the other hand, had the look of a boxer who had just gone the distance in a title bout but couldn’t believe the final scorecards.

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That’s because Connor English’s fifth goal of the game, with 1:51 remaining, lifted Manhasset, the No. 5 team in this week’s LaxLessons Top 25 regional rankings, to a 14-13 win over No. 2 Darien.

This game had a little bit of everything, but that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering it marked the third high-scoring one-goal game in the last four years between the two national powers.

“That’s the way lacrosse was designed to be played — up-tempo with a lot of up and down the field,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said.  “There was a lot of great talent on both sides of the ball for both teams.”

But to hear English say it, from the Manhasset standpoint, Saturday’s game was all about getting back on the horse that bucked ya. Manhasset (5-1) was coming off an 11-10 overtime loss to Comeswogue, a game the Indians think they should have won.

“Comeswogue was a good team, but it was sort of a trap game for us. We may have been looking ahead to today,” said English, who has 24 goals in six games this season.  “This is a really nice win for us. To beat a top team in the country like Darien leaves you feeling pretty good. This goes way beyond my expectations. After they put a whoopin’ on us last year, we knew we had to play four hard quarters today.”

English was a one-man wrecking crew in the first half, scoring four goals. Both Manhasset coach Bill Cherry and Darien’s Brameier said they were basically in awe of the University of Virginia-bound attackman.

“Connor is the most complete player I have ever seen,” Cherry said. “He is our heart and soul and you would be hard-pressed to name a player who can change a game better than he can.”

Added Brameier: “Connor was the man today. We had no answers to stop him.”

Against most teams, English’s first-half explosion would probably have been more than enough to lead to a win, but Darien (1-1) isn’t most teams. Middie John Bolton scored his fourth goal of the first half with 37 seconds left and the teams went into the break tied at 7.

Enter Case Matheis, freshman attackman extraordinaire. You know, the little kid who is trying to fill the gigantic shoes of All-State attackman Nikki Dysenchuk, who is probably going to miss at least the entire regular season with a torn ACL suffered during football season.

Two things had been constant in the 25 seasons prior to 2009: Brameier was Darien’s coach and no freshman had ever started for the Blue Wave. Well, so much for Year 26 of the Brameier regime because Matheis is off to the kind of start that may one day be remembered as a blip in an extraordinary high school career.

Matheis’ 24 incredible minutes pretty much got the Blue Wave faithful worrying less about when Dysenchuk’s likely return date will be and thinking more about a tiny kid who floats around the crease and leaves little doubt when the ball lands in his stick.

Matheis matched English with five goals, only his last four came in the second half as his team battled to take back the momentum Manhasset appeared to grab in the third quarter. The Indians built leads of 10-8, 11-9 and 12-10, but Matheis twice pulled the Blue Wave to within one and then tied the game at 13 with 2:35 to play in the fourth.

Matheis, all of two games as a varsity starter, is a keeper and soon-to-be a household name in Fairfield lacrosse circles and beyond. He has eight goals in his two varsity appearances and is quickly developing into just the target teammate Tyler Foley will need going forward.

Foley, though, didn’t do much today as Manhasset pole Bradley Cappellini locked things down and held him scoreless.

Cappellini was one of the best players on the field. Besides holding Foley at bay, the Harvard-bound defender scored a rare goal, taking a looping pass from goalie Jack Meyer and lasering a righty blast into the upper right corner of the cage midway through the fourth to give Manhasset its 12-10 lead.

Then, with Manhasset up one in the final seconds, Cappellini stripped Foley as the Loyola-bound attackman drove to the cage.

“We got work done today,” Cappellini said. “We learned a little more about who we are. This was a must-win game and we did what we had to do to pull it out.”

Jeff Molinari (Harvard) added three goals and was basically a nuisance all over the field all day for Manhasset, which pleased Cherry with its mental toughness following the loss to Comeswogue.

“We knew that one loss wasn’t going to end our season,” Cherry said.

On the contrary, one win may have completely changed it.

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Posted In: Fairfield lacrosse, General, Long Island lacrosse

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12 Responses to “"Battle of the Sound" lax lesson of the day: English”

  1. LAX says:

    Huge win for Manhasset, but Darien has a bright future with Matheis, who might be the best player in the world for his age.

  2. Taz says:

    ‘Cuse – Was @ the game. Great recap!

  3. re:lax says:

    Nicely done ‘Cuse. It really WAS all that. Bet MSG wishes they could pull a mulligan on this week game of the week.

  4. Setter99 says:

    The MSG game of week selections are a joke. These people obviously don’t know lax. I mean Iona-Don Bosco last week??? Cmon.

  5. slacrosse says:

    Cappellnni holding Foley at bay reminds me of another Sett player , Pate (Harvard), who pretty much totally shut down Bocklet in last yrs great game.

  6. TonyTiger says:

    MSG game of week should just be called CHSAA game of the week. I subject some money has changed hands there. So much for giving viewers the best game MSG.

  7. Lax Novice says:

    If it weren’t for a Long Island lax retail chain and a Long Island credit union, there wouldn’t be a MSG HS Lax game of the week. You want more Westchester and Connecticut public school representation? Then find a local sponsor willing to pony up and support HS lax on TV.

    Otherwise, be happy to get the fine coverage MSG provides, no matter who is playing. It’s better than infomercials on Sunday mornings.

  8. LaxMan says:

    it does seem like they show Chaminade and St. anthonys alot, i think they should have Yorktown against Lakeland-panas (the murphy cup) that would be a good one to have on tv so they can talk about Charlie Murphy. I like watching long island games all those teams are sick, Rocky point, Comsewougue and Ward Melville should get some play

  9. syracuse says:

    These are all good suggestions for the game of the week, but in truth you need to put on the air the game that has the most star power/reaches the biggest audience potentially. You should look at the rankings and then see how they correspond with the schedule in a given week.

    No question Darien-Manhasset should have been the game of the week this week, but that’s in retrospect. Think about it, in a given year West Islip-Chaminade is a great matchup and certainly worthy. This year’s game was one-sided, but that doesn’t mean MSG didn’t have its head in the right place.

    I don’t think Yorktown-L/P should ever qualify. Because even though there are some great players playing in that game in a given year, it doesn’t showcase two regional powers. It only showcases one usually. Town-Jay is nice, but if you want a really big audience you don’t ever put two Section I teams on.

    Inter sectional games — games between Sections 1, 8, 11, CHSAA, NJ, FCIAC, the ones with the most cross-over appeal are the best way to go:

    Yorktown-Melville, John Jay-Garden City, Darien-Manhasset, etc. These are the ones that really create a buzz.

  10. slacrosse says:

    Assume Town/Darien not scheduled for MSG?

    If not would be an absolutely incredible game to put on. Even though no LI team for sure LI would be watching in throngs.

  11. Joe Lombardi says:

    slacrosse –

    Correct. JJ-Yorktown will be on MSG (airing May 17).

    Here’s the MSG game of week schedule. BTW – Nice job by Paul Carcaterra, who has joined Jim Cavallo this year providing analysis. Paul Carc always does his homework and really breaks down the game in an interesting and informative way.

    Below dates are air dates, not game dates:

    Sunday – (Doubleheader at St. Anthony’s): Delbarton vs. St. Anthony’s; Fairfield Prep vs. Chaminade
    April 26 – Garden City at Manhasset
    May 3 – Summit at Chatham
    May 10 – Bergen Catholic at Fairfield Prep
    May 17 – Yorktown at John Jay
    May 24 – CHSAA Metro final at St, John’s
    May 31 – CHSAA LI final at Hofstra
    June 7 – NJ Tournament of Champions final at Rutgers University
    June 14 – All three state finals from Paetec Park, Rochester

  12. slacrosse says:

    Thx Joe

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