Leading off today:
Sophomore Dylan Nealis had quite the weekend for Massapequa, and Massapequa had quite the weekend representing Section 8 soccer, which scored big in the hardware department in New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships.
A day after scoring the goal in Massapequa's 1-0 win over Monroe-Woodbury in the boys Class AA semifinals in Middletown, Nealis knocked home a free kick midway through the second half Sunday to help the Chiefs beat Fairport 1-0 for their first title.
The goals were Nealis' first two of the season, and goalkeeper Dan Vitiello posted his 12th shutout.
"I knew I had to step up big time," Nealis told MSG Varsity. "All these teams are good. I knew if we played our game, we would come out on top."
The winner vs. Fairport came off a free kick after Nealis had been pulled down atop the penalty area in the 58th minute. Rather than trying to put the ball in the air over or around Fairport's four-man wall, Nealis unleashed a worm-burner that went untouched into the net after a defender on the wall jumped in anticipation of a chip.
"I knew the wall was going to jump up, so I slid it under," he said. "It felt amazing. I think they thought I was going to put it over the top."
Massapequa's girls were every bit as successful Sunday.
Alyssa Iannuzzi scored the winning goal as the Chiefs defeated North Rockland 2-1 in the girls Class AA final. at Cortland State. Chiefs midfielder Olivia Stegner opened the scoring with her first goal of the season.
The girls team's fifth state crown put an exclamation mark on a great day for Section 8. Three boys teams (Massapequa, Carle Place, Friends Academy) won outright championships, and the fourth (Jericho) went home with a share of the title. Garden City's girls were the section's sixth champion of the day.
Leading off today: Rob McAuliffe now has something no other NYSPHSAA boys soccer coach has: seven championships.
McAuliffe's Chazy Eagles played a 1-1 tie with Jasper-Troupsburg in Class D action in Middletown, sending the squads home as co-champions.
"Coach never gives up on our team and is always encouraging us," said Josh Barriere, who tallied Chazy's goal to knot the score. "He's very thoughtful and unselfish. He never takes credit for how well we do and it's all about the players with him. He is irreplaceable to our program and we couldn't do this without him."
More hardware: Stop us if you've heard this one before: Eden won its fifth straight NYSPHSAA volleyball title and 11th overall, sweeping past Millbrook 25-7, 25-18, 25-15 in Class C at the Glens Falls Civic Center.