When they met during the regular season Port needed an overtime period to beat MacArthur. When they met on Saturday during the quarterfinal round of the playoffs they needed pride, guts and skill, as they came back from a four-goal deficit to defeat the Generals 11-8.
All week long leading up to this game, the talk around town and on the lacrosse bulletin boards was that this was going to be "the game of the year." The regular season game was a hard-hitting contest and the Generals, who scored two goals late in the game to force the overtime, were out to prove something.
Port started off well, controlling the ball and keeping the action in MacArthur's end but could not seem to put the ball in the net. The Generals, though, stunned the Vikings by scoring two quick goals to put Port in a hole. Sean Lowes got Port on the board before the first quarter ended to make it a 2-1 game.
Michael Cosolito scored early in the second quarter to tie things up but MacArthur came right back. Clearly this was going to be a battle. Cosolito scored his second of the game a few minutes later but MacArthur scored two in a row to pad the lead. Fortunately, Jose Galeano, off of a feed from Pat Mulqueen, brought the Vikings within one to end the half trailing 5-4.
MacArthur wanted this game badly and they came out smokin' in the second half. They ran down the field unmolested three times and three times they scored. Midway through the third period of what could have possibly been the last game of their season, the Vikings were down 8-4. They needed to do something and they needed to do it quickly.
Good teams find a way to win. Donald Wilson picked up a loose ball and tucked it in to cut the lead by three. Minutes later Mulqueen stole a ball and fed Doug Lutin who beat the General goalie one on one to make it an 8-6 game. Seeing their lead deteriorate, MacArthur began to look jittery. When they committed a foul and Wilson scored on the man-up to make it 8-7, the crowd at The Pit was howling. Like a fighter smelling blood, Port didn't let up. With time running out Danny Maher scored to tie the game at 8-8 going into the fourth quarter. Port had scored four in a row to begin phase one of their comeback.
They needed to build on this momentum to win the game and MacArthur needed to contain Port and turn things around. Things, it seemed, went Port's way. Cosolito, who had dominated on face-offs that day, won the face-off to start the fourth quarter and passed it to Mulqueen who scored to give Port the lead for the first time all day. Minutes later Spencer Bodner scored off of a pass from Wilson to give Port a little insurance. Port continued to play smart and control the game. Danny Maher scored his second of the game to make it 11-8 with about four minutes left to go but MacArthur continued to press.
The Port defense stepped up to the challenge. Bobby Ogrudek, Scott Schnipper and Jon Ross turned it up a notch and rode the Generals hard, stripping them of the ball or forcing them to make poor passes or take off-balance shots. Goalie Scott Udell did his part by making key saves and playing aggressively around the net, pouncing on loose balls and setting up clears.
When the final horn sounded Port celebrated the victory and it was only then that they could sit back and fully appreciate what they had accomplished - seven unanswered goals! Trailing by four with less than a half to play they not only came back but crushed a tough opponent, showing a lot of character and skill in the process.
Port and MacArthur will meet again one day and we have seen the start of what could become a great rivalry. But that's a year away. Right now Port is headed to "the turf" - the semifinals at Hofstra University Stadium on Thursday, May 24 at 3:30 p.m. to face a very tough Wantagh team.