2001 MLL Champions: Long Island Lizards

2001 MLL Champions: Long Island Lizards

2001 MLL Champions: Long Island Lizards

2001 MLL Champions: Long Island Lizards

"Big players play big in big games." That quote from Lizards' Head Coach John Detomasso proved true when his roster full of big names outplayed the Baltimore Bayhawks for a 15-11 victory and the 2001 MLL Championship. Paul Gait, who was not one of the 18 assigned players and wasn't drafted until the ninth round, was named MVP for the game with his 7-goal performance. John Gagliardi put in his second outstanding defensive performance of the weekend, this time holding Mark Millon to one goal. Another star for the Lizards was Sal LoCascio who made 19 saves despite playing with a bad back. Casey Powell, who finished with 2 and 2, shared his feelings on the team, "I hate gold necklaces, I hate IROC's, and I hate the LIE, but I love team Long Island."

Baltimore opened the scoring with two quick goals. Sims took A.J Haugen to the goal with a right-handed dodge. Haugen seemed out of it and struggled most of the game. Tom Marechek had the second goal with a sweet around the world off a pass from Dan Denihan. Powell responded for the Lizards with a strong dodge through numerous sticks for a goal. Baltimore got another quick one when Paul Cantabene drilled a Marechek feed past LoCascio. Baltimore would go cold soon while LI was just starting to warm-up. Powell showed tremendous field vision and found Paul Gait wide-open on the crease in the same spot where Gait had stuck the game winner on Saturday afternoon. Then television star Terry Riordan popped a left-handed crank right above Baltimore goalie Greg Cattrano's head to tie the score at three.

Paul Gait quickly got things started in the second quarter once again dunking one on the crease. LI got the next goal with Riordan picking up the loose ball and firing it into the back of the net. Baltimore finally scored again after being held scoreless for 16:30 with Marechek converting an unsettled situation. They would then go scoreless for the rest of the half as the Lizards poured three more on. Powell dodged from behind and despite being tackled and drawing a flurry of flags he scored. Then Sean Radebaugh found Paul Gait cutting on the crease, which Gait finished. Gait got another one right at the end of the half when Pat McCabe threw the ball up field, Hugh Donovan misplayed the ball and Gait caught it and scored just before the horn went off. It was a great play and one that took a lot of wind out of the Bayhawks sails.

Baltimore got two quick goals to start the second half. Millon finally put one on the board when he dodged lefty across the top. Then Rob Shek followed that up with a bounce shot that popped the top left corner. Radebaugh answered for the Lizards as a recipient of good ball movement off the face. Josh Sims was able to score next for the Bayhawks on an extra-man play. The penalty against Long Island was understandable as Matt O'Kelly was retaliating to Brian Reece holding his knee in O'Kelly's throat. The old adage was proven true, "It's the second guy that gets caught." On the ensuing face-off Gary Gait scooped an awesome ground ball and hit Sean Radebaugh who moved it to Paul Gait who once again dunked it on the crease. Gary then followed up with one of his own to make the score 11-7 and Baltimore called time-out. Baltimore got their next goal off a fast break out of the box, which Kip Fulks converted. Long Island answered as Powell made a great look to Paul Gait cutting on the crease, which he finished behind the back. Greg McCavera scored his first of the game just as time expired in the third quarter to give Baltimore some momentum heading into the final period of the season.

Baltimore would get four great looks in the early part of the quarter but either the caught pipe or were gobbled up by LoCascio. Then Long Island peeled off three in a row to essentially put the game on ice. Riordan ripped a lefty crank low and away. Then Paul Gait finished yet another feed from Radebaugh and finally Kevin Finneran scored from the same place Riordan had a few minutes earlier. Baltimore was down 15-9 with 6 minutes to play. They attempted to bring in some of their two-point shooters like Jeff Sonke but it was to no avail. They eventually would get two one-pointers but it was meaningless. The true highlight of the last 2 minutes was Paul Gait throwing his equipment, including helmet and stick to the cheering crowd in the stands.

Baltimore was clearly disappointed with the outcome and intimated to some degree in the post game press conference that they weren't getting any calls. Cantabene claimed, "I didn't lose a straight up face-off today...you saw what was going on." Million asked if he could comment on the calls but Head Coach Brian Voelker said no. To this objective observer, the officiating was the best I've seen all season and the officials were not calling it any particular way. Penalties actually went 6-4 against Long Island. Millon, who injured his ankle badly on Saturday said it was a non-factor today, "[My ankle] was not too bad, actually felt pretty good, no excuses." Detomasso spoke of the Syracuse influence (Gaits, Powell, McCabe, Mulligan, Byrnes, ect.) on his coaching this weekend, "I was telling the guys, `Don't look past Saturday. We are taking this one game at a time.' When Robbie Mulligan grabbed me on the bus and said `Hey, Coach, you know at Syracuse when we go to Final Fours we prepare for 120 minutes not 60.' And I said, `I like that idea.'" LoCascio was exchanging in some humorous banter with teammates Spalina, Ghedina, ect. Yelling, "Hey Hofstra, how does it feel to win on Monday?" Finally for those of you keeping score at home the Championship trophy weighs 63 pounds according to the Body. It was so heavy that with his heavily banged up shoulder, Gagliardi had a difficult time hoisting the metal.

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Great Game!
    by (#12866) on 9/03/01 @6:55PM
Good Job Long Island! You Guys ruled the entire game! Congrats!
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Yea LI
    by (#7579) on 9/03/01 @7:11PM
Congrats Lizards. P.Gait proved he was one of the best in the world even at his old age. Lets try to Re-Peat in 2002!
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a healthy paul gait - that's all we've ever asked
    by (#5616) on 9/04/01 @12:22AM
he might not be on my favorite mll/nll team but paul has not been himself since 1997. he hasn't had a "big" game in awhile but this weekend paul decided to make a statement. i look forward to his return the nll.
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(no subject)
    by (#15241) on 9/05/01 @3:33PM
P.Gait is the best
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P. Gait's Facemask
    by (#7244) on 9/08/01 @1:41PM
Paul and Gary Gait are the best to ever play the game, but why does Paul have that weird facemask? Nothing against him, i think it looks kinda kool. I just wanna know why he has it and none of the other players do.
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    by (#9694) on 9/03/01 @10:43PM
i enjoyed this season and hope that you guys continue this it kept the summer interesting read about the games and matchup
Nice job
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    by (#9702) on 9/04/01 @12:29AM
I honestly consider myself lucky to have been at the MLL championship weekend. The Gaits put on one of the more impressive performances I've ever seen in athletics. These guys know how to get it done. They are the best this sport has to offer past, present, and for the near future. If you didn't see the Lizards play this year, make a New Year's resolution to go to a game in 2002. You may never see players like this as long as you live. Also, if Gary Gait is willing to switch to men's lacrosse from women's then Yow would be absolutly nuts to pass on him. Thank you Paul and Gary.

PS. Did anyone notice they were the last ones signing autographs after everyone else had returned to the locker room. What a class act!
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Paul Gait (nt)
    by (#7239) on 9/04/01 @7:38PM
(no text)
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hey casey
    by (#12400) on 9/04/01 @12:32AM
I hate having no plumbing, I hate having no electricity, and I hate snow but I love Carthage.

With love,
A proud Long "Strong" Island resident
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classy, real classy
    by (#4213) on 9/04/01 @3:05PM
Hey Casey,
We may not have a free Lexus and a cushy job but we love our island. We also love players who like to play for our island. You don't like the island then leave. I'm sure D-Rock would love for you to return to Boston. After he finished with you it looked like you were run over by an IROC strangled by a gold chain and got carjacked by one of the proud strong island residents!

We love trailers, fuzzy dice, hairspray, and chrome wheels and oh yeah the Saints ain't to bad either!

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    by (#15999) on 9/04/01 @6:00PM
Right on Casey! Don't forget the sweet wife beaters and tats of stuff like the Tazmanian Devil with a lacrosse stick.
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Casey head-band
    by (#16165) on 9/05/01 @9:04AM
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anti-casey feelings in the fieldland
    by (#5616) on 9/04/01 @9:29PM
i'll comment on what i've seen & heard from the nll guys - they play for the fans so i'm not surprised that gary & paul stayed to sign autographs. as to the above anti-casey platitude, some details please?
btw - dan radebaugh isn't the last defender willing to give casey a wack.
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(no subject)
    by (#4213) on 9/05/01 @3:15PM
he said it, not me! "Irocs, goldchains,... and the L.I.E." not to mention Grubman, Soprano wannabies, and the occassional scratching of the balls routine! Just a little taste of heaven we call Strong Island!

Sure they, other D-men, want a whack at him but from my eyes to God's ears D-Rock got quite a few in and a two game suspension because of it. Why and how is that only one person can get a suspension for fighting and the other a mere slap on the wrist? Don't get me wrong Caseyites out there and start thinking I ain't thinkin straight. Casey's got game, mad game and I'm glad he plays for us but... I'm just not diggin him doggin' my home like that. Sure we ain't got the King's English, the fashion flare of something other than Rocky I II and V, an honest car salesmen that sells current models vehicles with today's EPA standards for emmissions control, and a bad Highway Works Deptmartment but we gots pride in our home. That's all, nutin for nutin I likes the guy but what's he got that makes him the man and us, the JETS faithful, the peons?
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Defense wins championships
    by (#16151) on 9/04/01 @12:37PM
Congrats to Sal LoCasio,John Gagliardi,Pat McCabe
and the whole defensive unit for their outstanding
play..Kudos are also in order for the whole middie
unit for their ability to "get back" on defense and challenge which slowed down the fast breaking
On offense the unselfish play of the middies and
the ball movement were a "great sight to see"..
Nice to see all the "egos" where left in the locker room and team play dictated..Coach J.D. and "Norm" great game plan ...Gary/Paul Gait your
game speaks for itself..Hopefully the M.L.L. and
Warrior will "wake up" and promote you both for
what you both are "ambassadors of the game" and not let "outside competition" blur their vision
any longer..
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    by (#12539) on 9/06/01 @9:46PM
We all know Casey's a deusch. Regardless what jewelry we wear, car we drive, or expressway we use, we still produce the best lacrosse talent in the country year after year. You want to spin your Warrior stick around like a baton, go find a parade. Thumbs up to us hard working Long Islander's for a great year...Sal, Spallina, Riordan, Haugen, Sombrotto's, etc... I love the island, the Islanders, the Jets, and the Meadowbrook Parkway!!!
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