2008 - It is Long Island Again

- Long Island easily defeated Central to walk away with their fourth consecutive Gold Medal. Hudson Valley also defeated Western to win the Bronze Medal. gold medal teamThis was Long Island's 15th Gold Medal, Central's 9th Silver Medal, and Hudson Valley's 7th Bronze Medal.

Hudson Valley controlled the game and won the bronze medal (7-5) in men's lacrosse at the 31st annual Empire State Games. The entire team contributed to the victory but the game was won on the exemplary achievements of two particular Valley players. Luke Haggerty in the goal and Cole McCormack's face off work was the difference for Hudson Valley. Western scored three goals in the fourth quarter, two of which were in EMO but fell short.

In the first quarter Long Island scored three unanswered goals on their way to a 14-3 win. Matthew Palasek scored first, his first of six goals, with an assist from Steven Murphy on a side arm shot over the top of the goalie's stick.

In the cage, Long Island played Rob Bellairs in the entire game and he finished with 8s/3ga (73%). Central split goalies at the half. Alex Fiore took over for the second half and finished with 2s/8ga.

Long Island won their fourth consecutive gold medal. Although the medal game was a blow out, the indications that the competition was the best in years was readily available. Although Long Island defeated all their opponents they won most by slim margins (Western by two, Hudson Valley by one, Central by one).

hv-westIn the Tournament, Joe Marasco, of Hudson Valley, led in total goals with 16 and total points with 20. John Greeley (Central) led in assists with 7. Mike Poppleton took the ground ball category with 27. Alex Fiore and Luke Haggerty led in the goalie category. Fiore ended with 26 saves (57.78%) and Haggerty ended with 29 saves (56.86%).

Chris Nourse of Central had 15 takes, while Ben Litwak (Hudson Valley), Clay Del Prince (Western) and Michael McCormack (Long Island) each had eight takes.

Cole McCormack (Hudson Valley) and Jeff Froccaro (Long Island) was the strong forces in face offs and were major factors in wins for their teams.

In the team category, each team had a different area in which they excelled.

  • Long Island led in total number of goals scored (72), fewest goals against (32) and clearing percentage (84%).
  • Western led in total number of shots on goal (100), percentage of total shots on goal (72.99%) and riding percentage (27%).
  • Hudson Valley was a leader in face-off percentage (64%).
  • Adirondack led in both fewest penalties (4) and fewest penalty minutes (4.0).
  • Central led in ground balls (180), takes (45) and goalie percentage (55.4%)

It was, as usual, an exciting time for the players, coaches and fans and well worth the effort that the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation puts into this annual extravaganza.

Summaries for each day are available.line