By Bill Landon
After a sluggish first quarter, the Smithtown West boys’ lacrosse team shook off the cobwebs and went on a scoring frenzy, shutting out Deer Park 17-0 on their home turf, to keep the Bulls atop the League II leaderboard at 6-0.
Scoring two goals in the first quarter, Smithtown West junior midfielder Dan Caroussos was on fire for his team, and scored his hat trick goal off an assist from junior attack Joe Zara with 7:14 left to play in the first half, to bring the sore to 5-0.
From there, it was a Bulls scoring clinic.
Freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki banked two goals, and Zara, sophomore midfielder Danny Riley and senior attack R.J. Ehli tacked on a goal apiece to end the second quarter leading 9-0.
Smithtown West head coach Bob Moltisanti said his team lacked focus when opportunity came knocking in the first quarter.
“We had our chances to score, but a dropped pass or a feed that was a little bit off or deflected by a stick and then we missed the cage,” he said. “We did a much better job in the second quarter. The kids did a nice job — they’re aggressive and they’re playing fundamentally sound defense.”
Caroussos was absent in the second half, after playing the first with a heavy heart. Just a day before he was to celebrate his birthday, he instead suffered the passing of his grandfather. He left the game at halftime to attend the wake.
Just seconds into the third quarter, Zawadzki found the cage to join Caroussos with a hat trick, to edge ahead 10-0.
The freshman attack continued to pick up where Caroussos left off, and found the cage a fourth and fifth time, to close out the third quarter leading by a score of 15-0.
From there, Moltisanti rotated his bench players to give the non-starters some playing time.
Junior midfielder Danny Varello owned the faceoff, winning almost all attempts at the “X,” which put the Deer Park defense to work.
“Danny’s faceoff performance has been tremendous this season,” Moltisanti said.
Zawadzki added that early in the game his team made mistakes, but made the proper adjustment to come away with the dominant win.
“We telegraphed our passes early in the game, but we got better reads and better feeds.” Zawadzki said. “Coach told us after the first quarter that we’d better pick it up because we’re not looking good.”
The Bulls held the ball for most of the fourth, and scored two goals while running out the clock, to bring the final score to 17-0.
According to Varello, teams like Deer Park, who have yet to find their first win, are always teams to be wary of.
“They may not be on the leaderboard, but they’ve got athletes and you’ve got to expect a team like that is going to hit you,” Varello said. “So against a team as athletic as they are, I know I’m going in with the mind-set that I can’t miss any faceoffs because if I do, we’re going to lose it.”
Moltisanti said his Bulls’ real test will be on Thursday, when they square off against Half Hollow Hills East on the road for a battle of two undefeated teams.
The opening faceoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Smithtown West is atop the leaderboard with crosstown rivals Smithtown East at 6-0, while Half Hollow Hills East and West Islip are also undefeated at 5-0 and 4-0, respectively.