Friends Academy tops Oyster Bay to claim Nassau Class D boys lacrosse title

It was a busy spring for many members of the Friends Academy boys lacrosse team.

With all three sports seasons condensed into a four-month span the small north shore school saw many of their best athletes playing other sports.

“We always had everybody playing something different,” coach Bill Garry said. “When we finally had the first day of practice in April was when we set our goal.”

That goal was a Nassau Class D title and on Tuesday at Mitchel Field the Quakers delivered, defeating Oyster Bay, 13-7.

“For me it was harder to get motivated not knowing for sure if we were going to be able to play,” said Albert Paniccia, who also played basketball and football. “For everybody to come in and step up and dig deep makes this extra special.

It’s the second county title for Friends Academy and the first since capturing the Class C championship in 2013.

Paniccia had four goals, Ben Lee added four goals and two assists and sophomore Will Bystrom had three goals and three assists.

Oyster Bay’s Chris Lingen scored his third goal of the game to draw the Baymen to within 7-5 late in the first half but from there Friends Academy rattled off the next six to take a 13-5 lead into the fourth quarter.

“Early on in the game it was a little difficult,” Lee said. “But after we were able to get a couple in a row, things started flowing.”

Garry was also quick to give credit to his coaches and his young defense and first-year starting goalie Thanasi Pappas, who held the Baymen to two second-half goals.

Friends Academy moves on to play Port Jefferson in the Long Island championship Saturday at 10 a.m. at East Islip Middle School.

“We came out here everyday and worked hard and put in the extra hours,” Paniccia said. “It paid off in the end and now we’re going to take it to the LIC.”