Authors Posts by TBR Staff

TBR Staff

TBR Staff
TBR News Media covers everything happening on the North Shore of Suffolk County from Cold Spring Harbor to Wading River.

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Bulls will play Ward Melville in the Suffolk County Class A finals on Wednesday at Stony Brook University

Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom moves the ball up the field while Smithtown East’s Connor Desimone defends. East topped its crosstown rival 17-11 in the Division I semifinals on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The No. 2-seeded Smithtown East boys’ lacrosse team collided with No. 6 Smithtown West in a battle of the Bulls Division I semifinal playoff matchup Friday, and while West was able to close within two goals late in the third quarter, East outscored its crosstown rival to claim a 17-11 victory and move on to play in the Suffolk County Class A finals.

Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

East scored the first four goals of the game with senior attack and co-captain Brian Willetts netting two, and junior attack Dan Rooney and sophomore midfielder Connor Desimone adding a goal apiece. Sophomore attack Sean Barry assisted in three out of four scores.

With his two goals and an assist later in the game, Willetts tallied his 311th career point to put his name in the Smithtown East record books as the top scorer in program history.

The senior attack said it wasn’t so much a personal achievement as it was a team record, adding that it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the teammates he’s had over the years, and the support from his family.

“I owe a lot to my parents — my mom getting me doctor appointments whenever I needed them,” Willetts said. “She’s the reason I stay off the sideline as far as injuries are concerned, and I really appreciate everything she does for me.”

Six minutes into the contest, West sophomore attack Jimmy Caddigan’s solo shot broke the ice to get his team on the scoreboard.

East sophomore attack Michael Latini answered back after grabbing a rebound off the pipes, and pushed the ball to the back of the cage wit 49 seconds left in the quarter, to help his team jump out to a 5-1 advantage.

Caddigan dished one off to junior midfielder Dan Caroussos, who drove the ball home two minutes into the second quarter, and after winning the ensuing face off, West’s junior midfielder Danny Varello took the ball from midfield all the way to the net, and with the good goal, helped his team close the gap, 5-3.

Both teams traded scores, with East’s Barry receiving a feed from Desimone, followed by West senior midfielder Jarrod Wilkom’s unassisted goal that split the pipes to bring the score to 6-4.

Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon

East continued to pepper the scoreboard with senior midfielder and co-captain John Daniggelis scoring twice, and Barry tallying another goal, to give East a 9-4 lead with 4:36 left to play in the second quarter.

East and West traded goals once more, to give the game a 10-5 halftime score.

“I feel like we moved the ball well today and we didn’t make too many stupid errors, and then we tightened it up on defense,” Barry said. “Coach told us to come out in the second half like the game was 0-0, and don’t let these guys get back in it.”

With the game slipping away, West took to the cage with three unanswered goals to open the scoring in the third. First, freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki’s shot found its mark, followed by Wilkom and sophomore midfielder Danny Riley, to trim the deficit to 10-8.

“I’m extremely proud of my players,” Smithtown West head coach Bob Moltisanti said. “I just told them that they have nothing to be ashamed of; they played their tails off. I told my seniors they can look themselves in the mirror and be proud of how they performed all season long.”

Unfazed by the scoring run, East retaliated with five unanswered goals of their own to bring the score to 15-8 heading into the final quarter.

“We know they’re a high-powered offense,” West’s Wilkom said. “We tried falling into a zone, but it wasn’t working for us in the first quarter, so we switched to man-to-man coverage in the second. We played well, but they got on some runs. It got away from us here and there, but we played well as a team.”

Desperate to stop the scoring frenzy, West leaned on Caroussos first, and then senior midfielder Garrett Brunsvold to make it a 15-10 game.

Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

As the clock wound down, East hit the scoreboard twice more, while West’s final goal came from freshman attack Matt Miller off an assist from Caroussos.

“I thought we played pretty well, but they’re a great team,” Caddigan said of East. “They’re county champs two years in a row. They put up 17 on us. We put up 11, but it just wasn’t enough today.”

East head coach Jason Lambert said Smithtown West is also a great opponent that continues to get better, even with a younger roster.

“They graduated nine seniors last year and to make it this far is a testament to them and their coaching staff,” Lambert said. “We’re very fortunate. We’ve got a lot of kids who can move the ball around and they play unselfishly. We do a good job of sharing the wealth and we’ve done a good job at finishing all year long.”

East will face Ward Melville on Wednesday at Stony Brook University for the Suffolk County Class A title. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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Inferno Roadside Grill serves up a juicy cheeseburger in Mount Sinai this season. Photo by Lisa Steuer

By Lisa Steuer

A few years ago, most people would have defined a “food truck” as a vehicle parked on the side of the road that primarily sells hot dogs and is mostly appealing for the convenience it offers.

But today, many food truck operators around the country — and now, Long Island — are specialists in their profession. They are experienced chefs who have worked in kitchens for years, have food management experience, or who grew up learning about and appreciating mom’s authentic cooking. They are restaurant owners, wedding and party caterers and seasoned cooks and bakers who all have at least one thing in common — a passion and love for food and cooking.

Burgers by 25A
Patrick Trovato, a graduate of Port Jefferson high school and a current resident of Miller Place, has operated the Inferno Roadside Grill food truck since 2011. Located in Mount Sinai in the Agway parking lot, the Inferno Roadside Grill has built a following solely through word of mouth, said Trovato. Menu items include burgers, grilled chicken wraps, wings and more, and Trovato said he buys all the ingredients every morning, including the beef, which is ground fresh.

“I’ve only been able to do two things in my life — sales and cook,” said Trovato, who previously owned a New York City restaurant with his father and also worked in insurance.

You can spot Patrick Trovato’s truck, Inferno Roadside Grill in Mount Sinai this season. Photo by Lisa Steuer
You can spot Patrick Trovato’s truck, Inferno Roadside Grill in Mount Sinai this season. Photo by Lisa Steuer

Eventually, Trovato decided to leave the insurance industry and go back to his passion of cooking. He purchased an old camper for $500, and it took about four-and-a-half months to transform it into the food truck that exists today. Trovato did all his research, remodeled it, installed a commercial kitchen, made sure he met the proper codes and opened with help from his business partners — his girlfriend, and his friend Kevin, who owns Smithtown House of Vacuums.

“People can’t afford to risk or lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a restaurant. So the food truck is a small capital investment, comparatively,” said Trovato. “With a food truck, you can just be great at one thing. … A food truck just lets you be a specialist.”

The Inferno Roadside Grill is open year round, Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., weather permitting. This snowy winter, however, made it rough — from Thanksgiving through March, Trovato was not able to be open for a full week.

Looking forward, Trovato plans to open the Inferno Roadside Grill restaurant in Sound Beach by summer. The restaurant, which will be located at 245 Echo Avenue, will have the same menu currently available on the truck, expanded to include specialty “regional” burgers — burgers that are popular in different parts of the country — and possibly a Southern-fried chicken menu. When the restaurant opens, the truck will remain in operation, but the menu will most likely be pared down to strictly burgers and fries, while the other menu items will still be found at the restaurant.

“I have a special sauce on my burger,” said Trovato.  “When you take the fresh ground beef that’s been seared, seasoned, and you add the fresh crisp lettuce, tomato, onion, then you add the sauce, it’s a really unique flavor profile.”

Puerto Rico on Long Island
Roy and Kathleen Pelaez opened their Island Empanada restaurant in May 2011. There are now two locations, in Medford and Ronkonkoma, and two years ago the Island Empanada food truck opened.

Previously, the truck operated during the week, from May through October, off William Floyd Parkway in Shirley, but at press time, the location for this year was not yet determined. The Pelaezes also bring the truck to different events all over Suffolk and Nassau, including fairs, festivals, private parties and even weddings.

“We’re very unique,” said Roy Pelaez. ”And the food is Puerto Rican style, and there’s not a lot of Puerto Rican restaurants on Long Island.”

His mother and father were both born and raised in Puerto Rico. His wife, Kathleen Pelaez, works as a social worker in addition to working in the restaurants, and his daughters — one of whom is getting her master’s degree and the other her bachelor’s — also help out when they can.  “My mom taught me [to cook] and I was able to then teach the other cooks at both restaurants,” said Roy Pelaez, who also worked in and managed restaurants for more than 20 years before opening his own. “It’s the same food that I made in my kitchen, and I was able to just expand the menus to feed a larger amount of people, so it’s really home-cooked food.”

The Pelaezes opened the food truck to make attending festivals and other events much easier for them.

‘Long Island is behind … the rest of the country. Food trucks seem to be sweeping the nation right now. You can really get some good food — inexpensive, hand-held, quick and easy. And now, Suffolk and Nassau are starting to see it, and restaurant owners and entrepreneurs are trying to jump on it.’ — Roy Pelaez of Island Empanada

Since opening two years ago, the truck has done well, said Roy Pelaez, and even though the truck does make things easier, it is still a lot of work, he pointed out. “People just think they’re going to get a food truck and make a million dollars. It doesn’t work like that,” he said. “But the expenses are different.  … I don’t have the big utility bills.”

The Island Empanada restaurants include 26 varieties of empanadas, and the truck includes the 12 most popular varieties, as well as rice, beans, sweet plantains, potato balls, and flan for dessert.

“Long Island is behind a little bit the rest of the country. Food trucks seem to be sweeping the nation right now,” he said. “You can really get some good food — inexpensive, hand-held, quick and easy. And now, Suffolk and Nassau are starting to see it, and restaurant owners and entrepreneurs are trying to jump on it.”

The Mobile Bakery
Jess Kennaugh, owner of Blondie’s Bake Shop in Centerport, found her love for baking at a young age. “It was what I did for fun after school,” she said.

Then in high school, her first job was at A Rise Above Bake Shop in Huntington, her hometown. Kennaugh eventually went away to school, got a master’s degree in education and planned to become a teacher.  “I just always kept going back to the bakery. I couldn’t shake it.”

Blondie’s Bake Shop and the truck, which is used solely for events like fairs, weddings, caterings, etc., both opened in December of 2011. “I knew that food trucks were becoming more popular in the city and in places like Austin and D.C. and San Diego.  So I figured that it was only a matter of time before that happened on Long Island and I wanted to be a part of it.”

The truck has a full commercial kitchen, and in addition to the regular baked goods found in the bakery, there are waffles made to order on the truck — with berries and whipped cream, or chicken and waffles, for instance — as well as grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and even a “macaroni and cheese grilled cheese.”

“It’s restaurant quality food in a laid-back atmosphere,” said Kennaugh, about the appeal of food trucks. “It makes fancier food more approachable.”

At the shop, the most popular item is a lemon berry scone, said Kennaugh, but on the truck a favored item is the s’mores pie — which is a little individual pie with a graham cracker crust, chocolate pudding and toasted marshmallow.

“I think the people can get a sense of our enthusiasm for our product,” said Kennaugh. “I have a really young, excited, creative staff, and that energy is contagious. And I think our product is quality; it’s really thoughtfully made and I think that shows. “

Compared to the bakery, the items on the truck are “a little more indulgent.”

A dinner plate prepared by Roy Pelaez of Island Empanada. Photo by Steve Mahoney
A dinner plate prepared by Roy Pelaez of Island Empanada. Photo by Steve Mahoney

“At the bakery, we sell granola and yogurt and egg sandwiches, so there are ways to get around splurging on what you’re going to eat,” said Kennaugh. “The stuff on the truck is much more indulgent — cheeses and bacon, and we really kind of go crazy with ourselves over there.”

This will be Blondie’s third season. And while Kennaugh was still working on the truck’s schedule at the time of this interview, she said she’s hoping she’ll have the truck out three or four days a week through the last week in October.

“We’re pretty excited because we’re being sought out for private events and more obscure events,” she said.

The Mobile Chef
Steven Mahoney of Amityville has operated his mobile catering business, Iron Mobile Chef, for two years.

“I’ve been in the food industry my whole life, since I was a little kid making pizza,” said Mahoney.  He owned a pork and gourmet food store for about 10 years, and also worked as a private chef on the East End of Long Island for about four years before getting into the food truck business.

“The food truck is a new, fun thing — it’s really great,” said Mahoney. “I did a lot of off-the-premise catering before I had the truck, and now it’s just like an extension — a kitchen I bring everywhere.”

Mahoney attends private parties and events as well as festivals all over Long Island, so the truck never stays in the same place. For bigger parties, Mahoney will bring a staff that includes family members to help out — brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and more. “It’s like a mom and pop store on wheels,” he said.

The unique aspect of Mahoney’s truck is that the menu varies wherever he goes, depending on what’s wanted or appropriate at the particular event. “I can go from hot dogs and hamburgers to lobster tails and filet mignon,” Mahoney said. Items like Philly cheesesteaks and sausage and peppers are usually made for fairs, for instance. At the time of this interview, Mahoney had just finished doing a breakfast party.

“These awesome chefs that are dying to open their own place and they have a passion for cooking and it’s just a little too expensive to get their own restaurant — it’s like their dream come true, but a little bit cheaper,” said Mahoney, about the rise in popularity of food trucks. “It’s a lot more work than a restaurant, but if you have the passion for it, that’s what makes it worth it … I love it and I enjoy what I do. I can work 16-, 17-hour days … and I really love it.”

For those interested in renting Iron Mobile Chef for an event, Mahoney can be reached at (516) 351-5176.

Vietnam veteran Thomas Semkow, from Post 6249 Rocky Point Veterans of Foreign Wars, poses with members of the A-Team in 1968. Photo from Semkow

‘Many veterans of Vietnam still serve in the Armed Forces, work in our offices, on our farms, and in our factories. Most have kept their experiences private, but most have been strengthened by their call to duty. A grateful nation opens her heart today in gratitude for their sacrifice, for their courage, and for their noble service.’ — President Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day Speech, May 28, 1984

By Rich Acritelli

Today Vietnam veterans comprise the largest group of Americans who have fought for this country. Nearly three million citizens were deployed to Southeast Asia during the longest war in our history. For the next couple of decades, they will also be the most prominent group of veterans in this nation.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Bald Hill in Farmingville reaches into the sky. File photo
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Bald Hill in Farmingville reaches into the sky. File photo

Locally, the Suffolk County Chapter of Vietnam Veterans and the VFW Fischer/Hewins Post 6249 of Rocky Point are two groups that strenuously work to welcome home all members of the armed forces who have protected this nation during the war on terror. These organizations are headed by two men who are driven to help every veteran.

Richard Kitson, from Port Jefferson Station, is the longtime president of the Suffolk County Chapter of Vietnam Veterans. Members of this chapter all point to Kitson’s dedication: He organizes members to speak in the schools, march in parades, welcome home veterans, help their families and assist veterans who have fallen on hard times. Both groups have been a fixture at the Rocky Point High School Veterans Day program and have been guest speakers at the Vietnam War history classes that are taught at Ward Melville High School in E. Setauket.

Kitson grew up in Levittown and served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a mortar man in Dong Ha, situated near the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam. The war had especially hit home for Kitson as he not only lost many friends from his hometown but his brother was killed fighting in Vietnam in 1969. It is families like Kitson’s who have completely sacrificed for this nation.

Instead of returning home to a grateful country, these veterans were degraded for their efforts to serve in the military. For several years the government did not recognize those who fought in Vietnam, and because of this policy, these veterans were not properly recognized for their service. It was not until 1978 that the Vietnam Veterans of America was granted the same rights to function as a charter as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

Richard Kitson and Frank D’Aversa served in Vietnam. Photo from Jennifer Pohl
Richard Kitson and Frank D’Aversa served in Vietnam. Photo from Jennifer Pohl

After the war, Kitson went to college, married, started a family and worked for the post office. It was not until the 1980s that he began to fight for greater rights for the veterans who fought in that war. His devotion helped build the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial at Bald Hill in Farmingville and his chapter will read the names of all those residents of Suffolk County who were lost during that conflict at the site on Memorial Day at 5 p.m.

This weekend marks an important date for Kitson for not only thanking our veterans who served in the military but also to recall the memory of his brother. Kitson and his members are always visible to ensure that our local veterans are properly thanked for their past, present and future service.

Joseph A. Cognitore is the commander of Post 6249 Rocky Point Veterans of Foreign Wars. A former football and track standout from Farmingdale, he went to college in South Dakota and after graduation joined the U.S. Army. Cognitore fought in Vietnam in 1970 and had the unique experience of operating inside of Cambodia. A platoon sergeant, he was part of the air cavalry that flew dangerous missions into territory that was held by the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army. Cognitore was a combat veteran who was always looking out for the safety and security of his soldiers.

For almost two decades, Cognitore tried to put the war behind him by taking care of his family and working for the Coca-Cola Company. It was not until the first Gulf War that Cognitore became an active participant at Post 6249 in Rocky Point. He wanted to ensure that the men and women who were serving overseas were properly cared for at home and abroad.

Currently, Cognitore runs one of the most productive VFW posts on Long Island and is the legislative chair for the Department of New York Veterans of Foreign Wars. Retired from his job, Cognitore puts in a tremendous number of volunteer hours running this post. He has helped run a Wounded Warrior Golf Outing, has participated in the creation of a 9/11 Memorial and is always present in our local schools. This weekend presents a somber moment for Cognitore to reflect on all of his comrades who were killed in Vietnam.

Both Kitson and Cognitore state how fortunate they are to have soldiers that still give back to their communities. One of these veterans is Bay Shore resident Ralph Zanchelli. After graduating from high school in 1962, Zanchelli immediately enlisted into the U.S. Naval Reserves. With the war escalating in Vietnam, he was deployed to the USS Bennington CVS 20, which operated in the South China Sea. This aircraft carrier guarded against the North Vietnamese torpedo boats that attacked American shipping off the coast of this communist nation.

From left, Richard Kitson, Clarence Simpson, Barry Gochman, Jimmy O’ Donnell and Bill Fuchs. Photo from Jennifer Pohl
From left, Richard Kitson, Clarence Simpson, Barry Gochman, Jimmy O’ Donnell and Bill Fuchs. Photo from Jennifer Pohl

Zanchelli was a Hot Case-man gunner who caught the rounds as they were fired. This job ensured that discharged armaments would not start any fires within the ship during combat operations. The carrier served 30-day intervals off the coast of North Vietnam, and Zanchelli observed the earliest moments of this war. For Memorial Day, he would like everyone to say a short prayer for those currently protecting this nation.

Gill Jenkins from Post 6249 is another local citizen who goes about his business in a quiet and friendly manner. He lives by the credo that all veterans, regardless of when they served, must be respected. During the height of the Tet offensive in 1968, Jenkins was a plumber and handyman on the USS Intrepid, which operated off the coast of South Vietnam.

This naval veteran served for four years, and he vividly recalled the launch and recovery efforts of this historic carrier to attack the enemy and to locate those airmen that were shot down. During his naval years, Jenkins traveled around the world on the Intrepid. He recalled how the vessel was hit by a typhoon as it was traveling around the tip of the Cape of Good Hope.

One of the nearly 600,000 armed forces members who were sent to Vietnam in 1968 was Tom Semkow from Center Moriches. Currently the main photographer for Post 6249, Semkow was a Special Forces medic in the Mekong Delta for 10 months. During the height of Tet, he remembered how the enemy made their presence felt by firing mortars and attacking the American military squads that operated in the area. He recalled operating in the flooded areas of this country and receiving air boat rides from Chinese operators who transported them into combat areas. Semkow enjoys the camaraderie of this post and likes to attend the Memorial Day services at Calverton National Cemetery each year.

Memorial Day is a moment when our nation welcomes the warm weather, watches a ball game and barbeques. But we Americans need to take a brief time-out of our schedules to honor and recall those Americans who have protected us during every conflict in our history. Thank you to all those service members, especially to the Vietnam Veterans we “Welcome Home” on this national day of remembrance.

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College. He was a staff sergeant in the New York Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach.

A Pagnotta Drive resident in Port Jefferson Station reported on May 11 that somebody used her debit card to make unauthorized purchases.

Punches and pies
A man reported a person hit the back of his head without reason while at a Port Jefferson pizza parlor on Main Street on May 16 at around 3:18 a.m. Police said the man suffered a minor laceration and was transported to St. Charles Hospital for treatment.

Possession and public lewdness
A 49-year-old Huntington Station woman and a 45-year-old Port Jefferson Station man were arrested in Port Jefferson on May 15 on public lewdness charges. According to police, the man was touching the woman’s breasts in view of the public. The woman was also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, the muscle-relaxer carisoprodol.

Sharp objects
An unknown person used a sharp object to damage a 1994 Saturn while it was parked in front of an Ashland Street residence in Mount Sinai between May 13 and May 14.

A Huntington Road resident in Sound Beach reported that between May 12 and May 13 a person took tires from his backyard.

Just leafy
A Sunburst Drive resident in Rocky Point reported a verbal dispute between himself and a neighbor, who pushed the complainant to the ground on May 15. According to police, the dispute was over leaves and the complainant wasn’t injured.

Graffiki Action Park
An unknown person spray-painted graffiti in Tiki Action Park on Middle Country Road in Centereach on May 14.

Knock, knock
A Gould Road resident in Centereach reported that on May 13 two males in their early 20s assaulted him after he answered his door. The suspects took cash from the complainant and fled. It was unclear if the victim required medical attention.

Window rocked
A Hammond Road resident in Centereach reported that unknown people threw rocks at her home’s window, shattering it, on May 11.

Tit for tattoo
A 57-year-old Centereach man was arrested for second-degree harassment, third-degree criminal mischief and acting in a manner to injure a child. Police said the man smashed a window, a lighted neon sign and a cigarette bucket at a Centereach tattoo shop during a May 11 incident.

Checked out
A Strauss Avenue resident in Selden reported on May 17 that an unknown person withdrew money from his checking account without permission.

Came out swinging
A man walking on Boyle Road in Selden on May 14 reported that another man got out of his vehicle and started to swing his fists at the complainant.

Sick and tired
A Firestone Complete Auto Care manager in Selden reported damage to the shop’s garage door and window, which occurred between May 12 and May 13. No property was stolen from the store.

My sediments exactly
The owner of a 1998 Jeep reported the driver’s side window was shattered by a rock found in the front seat on May 11. The car was parked on College Road in Selden and no items were taken from the vehicle.

Buzzed driving
A 44-year-old man from East Patchogue was arrested in Stony Brook and charged with driving while intoxicated and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Police said on May 17, the man was driving a 1990 Mercedes Benz in Stony Brook with a suspended license while intoxicated, and he was involved a motor vehicle crash at about 3:39 a.m.

Shopping spree
Police arrested a 20-year-old woman from Central Islip on May 15 and charged her with petit larceny. Police said she stole women’s accessories from a store at the Smithhaven Mall that day. She was arrested at 2:45 p.m.

Bottoms up
A 55-year-old woman from Centereach was arrested May 15 in East Setauket and charged with operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 of 1 percent, and driving while intoxicated. Police said the woman was driving a 1994 Honda westbound on Route 347, east of Arrowhead Lane in Setauket at about 4:50 p.m. when she rear-ended a van.

Get out of the way
Police arrested a 29-year-old Holtsville man on May 18 and charged him with second-degree reckless endangerment in a case of road rage. Police said he was driving a 1999 Jeep and followed a woman driving a 2014 Hyundai after she got off the Long Island Expressway and headed north on Nicolls Road. She changed lanes and he started tailgating her and honking his horn at her. When she changed her lane, police said the victim told them the man drove up next to her and threw a beer can at her window. Police also said the man pulled in front of her car, stopped abruptly and forced the woman to brake suddenly and drive onto the shoulder of the road. He was arrested at 6:55 p.m. at Nicolls Road and Portion Road in Farmingville.

Window smashed
An unknown person broke the driver-side front window of a 1995 Toyota parked on Stuyvesant Drive in East Setauket on May 17, sometime between 1:15 and 7 a.m.

A bat tip
Someone stole the tip jar next to the register at Se-port Delicatessen on Route 25A in Setauket at 1:25 p.m. on May 12.

Crime spree thwarted
A 21-year-old man from Islandia was arrested at the 4th Precinct on May 17 and charged with two petit larcenies, three grand larcenies and criminal possession of stolen property. Police said the charges stem from crimes that occurred from May 5 to May 17 in Islandia. Police said those crimes included: taking the middle console of an unlocked 2012 Ford F-150; taking a Nintendo game console and three games from an unlocked 2002 Saturn; stealing a Home Depot credit card from a 2005 Chrysler; stealing wallets containing identification and several credit cards from two separate cars; and possessing a stolen Apple iPod. He was arrested on South Bedford Avenue in Islandia.

Busted with heroin
Police arrested a 30-year-old woman from Patchogue on May 15 in Smithtown on Brooksite Drive and charged her with loitering and unlawful use of a controlled substance. Police said that she was loitering at the location at about 11:10 p.m. and she possessed heroin.

Golden arrest
A 60-year-old man from Nesconset was arrested in Smithtown and charged with seven counts of criminal possession of stolen property for various jewels he pawned off at a number of locations dating back to July 24. Police said he pawned off a number of chains, several bracelets, a beaded necklace, earrings and rings at Center Gold Pawn Shop on Middle Country Road in Centereach and Empire Pawn of Suffolk in Bayshore. He was arrested at the 4th Precinct on May 13 at 8 a.m.

Shopping flee
An 18-year-old from East Northport was arrested on May 15 and charged with petit larceny. Police said the man took assorted auto equipment, tools and food from Walmart on Crooked Hill Road in Commack, placed it in a shopping cart and fled the store. He was arrested at the 4th Precinct at 2 p.m.

Not that into you
Police said a 68-year-old woman from Kings Park was arrested in Kings Park on May 15 at 7:35 p.m. and charged with fourth-degree stalking, causing fear. Police said the woman mailed 10 cards and seven gift packages to another woman from Huntington Station sometime between Feb. 1 and May 5. She also hand-delivered three flower arrangements and drove past the woman’s home at least one additional time.

Police arrested a Farmingville man on May 18 at 8:10 a.m. at the 4th Precinct and charged him with second-degree burglary. Police said the man entered a West Main Street apartment in Smithtown, smashed the door to the apartment, broke a fish tank, damaged the television and door jam and stole cash.

Wheeled away
An unknown male took a woman’s wheelchair left on the sidewalk in front of her home on Rogers Lane in Smithtown sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. on May 12.

Someone stole a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee from the driveway of a Cherry Lane home in Smithtown sometime between May 13 at 5:50 p.m. and May 14 at 5:50 a.m.

Found with needle, pills
A 48-year-old man from Smithtown was arrested on May 16 in Smithtown on Brooksite Drive at 7:20 a.m. on May 16 and charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said the man possessed a needle and Vicodin pills.

Failed escape
An 18-year-old man from Huntington was arrested at the 2nd Precinct on May 14 and charged with escape from a detention facility. Police said the man attempted to escape the precinct after being arrested, but cops couldn’t say what the warrant covered. Police said he was also charged with resisting arrest for pulling away from the officer in a violent manner while the officer was trying to arrest him on Broadway in Huntington at about 1:33 p.m.

Be right back
Police said a 30-year-old woman from Bethpage was arrested in East Northport and charged with operating a 2009 Pontiac G6 southbound on Stony Hollow Road and leaving the scene of an accident. Police said the woman struck a tree at Clay Pitts Road and Stony Hollow Road in East Northport on May 16, causing property damage, and left the scene without reporting it, at about 11 p.m.

Trespasser trounced
A 25-year-old man from East Northport was arrested in East Northport and charged with third-degree criminal trespass on May 16. Police said the man placed a metal pole against a fence enclosing Mother Earth’s Landscape & Masonry Supplies on Elwood Road in East Northport and climbed the fence on April 30 at 9:45 p.m. He was arrested at his home on May 16 at 4:01 p.m.

Sprite split at Sev-a-Lev
Someone stole a two-liter bottle of Sprite soda from 7-Eleven on Main Street in Huntington at 6 p.m. on May 16.

Caffeine crash
Police said an employee at Gulf Gas on East Main Street in Huntington reported he was punched near his left eye after telling a teenager who was with three other teens that a coffee cup was not for sale. The incident was reported to have occurred on May 15 at 8:54 p.m.

Bong bong into the room
Two unknown men wearing dark clothing and masks kicked in a side apartment on Tanyard Lane in Huntington at 4:31 p.m. on May 12, and when confronted by the male complainant, fled with cash and a pink bong.

Purse taken
A woman told police her purse was taken from the floor of the passenger side of a Hyundai Accent parked on Truesdale Court in Fort Salonga on May 12 sometime between 12:45 and 3:30 p.m.

Police arrested a 19-year-old man from Huntington on May 14 in Huntington and charged him with first-degree criminal contempt and assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon. Police said the man stabbed another man with a knife in the stomach at a home on Lindsay Street in Huntington at 8:30 p.m. The victim required medical attention.

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Middle Country's Jamie Ortega beats out the Sachem East goalkeeper for a goal. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After not playing for a week and a half, the Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team showed no signs of cobwebs. After a bye week, the top-seeded team in Division I easily outscored Sachem East, 16-4, Tuesday.

Middle Country's Amanda Masullo shoots through Sachem East traffic. Photo by Bill Landon
Middle Country’s Amanda Masullo shoots through Sachem East traffic. Photo by Bill Landon

“Considering we haven’t played in a week and a half, we came out and played the best game we’ve played so far,” Amanda Masullo said. “We played two complete halves today. Sometimes we get tired in the second half, but today we just kept going.”

Middle Country took command of the game from the opening draw, and the Mad Dogs broke out to an 8-0 lead midway through the first half, with the Ortega sisters, Nikki and Jamie, leading the way with two goals each. Sophomores Amanda Masullo and her twin sister Rachel, Ava Barry and senior Alison DiPaola added a goal apiece.

Sachem East lit up the scoreboard for the first time at the 4:41 mark, but midfielder Jamie Ortega scored again two minutes later, for her hat trick goal.

By the halftime break, Middle Country had tacked on four more goals for a 12-1 advantage.

“With the bye week, we had to stay consistent,” senior goalkeeper Ashley Miller said. “We practiced at game level and at game speed, so we could handle whatever they threw at us today. We played well in the second half, we kept up our intensity and we stayed focused because it’s easy to sit back and relax, but we didn’t.”

The scoring fest continued in the second half when Barry served one to Nikki Ortega for her hat trick goal, to break out to a 13-1 advantage. Soon after, the senior struck again, this time off a feed from Rachel Masullo.

Alison DiPaola moves the ball up the field for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Alison DiPaola moves the ball up the field for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

“We had a harder schedule towards the end [of the regular season], so the bye week really helped us, because we definitely needed a rest,” Nikki Ortega said.

Middle Country passed the ball crisply and cleanly as they circled the cage looking for an opening. Amanda Masullo found one, and passed to Jamie Ortega on the cut. She drilled home her shot to give her team a 15-1 advantage.

Sachem East still had some life left in them, and managed three unanswered goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. The clock continued to run uninterrupted, and Nikki Ortega drove home the last goal of the afternoon, to put the playoff win into the record books.

“I thought we did an awesome job on our draw control today and when you control the draw, you control the game,” Middle Country head coach Lindsay Dolson said. “Our defense did an outstanding job to hold that team to only four goals. “We’ll work hard, stay focused and watch film to get ready for Smithtown West.”

After crosstown rival and No. 5-seed Smithtown West topped No. 4 Smithtown East Tuesday, the Bulls will get a rematch to avenge a loss at the hands of Middle Country in the Mad Dogs’ last game of the regular season. The semifinal playoff match will take place Friday at Newfield, at 4 p.m.

“We’ll need to be mentally prepared for the next round and forget that we’re undefeated,” Nikki Ortega said. “This is the playoffs. There are no second chances, so our next game is our whole season and we can’t let up.”

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File photo

With warmer weather comes an urge to leave the house, and we expect, as usual, there will be a lot more cars on the road, so now is a good time to remind our readers not to lose their cool behind the wheel.

Whether a driver made a mistake — as we all do from time to time — or not, it can be terrifying for that person when another motorist becomes enraged and takes it out on them. We’ve all experienced tailgating or obnoxious horn-honking, and some of us have been victims of more dire cases of road rage, like prolonged following and actual physical violence or threats. In the less confrontational incidents, frustrated and angry drivers often lash out because it’s easy to hide in the anonymous bubble of a car, when they would not have been so bold to display such anger in person. In the more extreme cases, the mad drivers may have had a screw or two loose to begin with and might have acted out no matter the location or circumstance.

We understand that daily stresses factor into this problem, and Long Island’s immense traffic congestion doesn’t help the frustration we might already be feeling while in the car. But consider this: The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that aggressive driving is a factor in more than half of all traffic fatalities, according to 2009 data. In those cases, “motorists are concerned with the others’ aggressive driving while many are guilty themselves.”

Terrible accidents involving mangled cars happen all the time, but they don’t have to happen over things as petty as payback for being cut off or revenge on a slow-moving vehicle. We urge our readers to slow down when they’re seeing red behind the wheel and take some time to think about what the other person’s situation might be before lashing out. Give each other the benefit of the doubt because we are all humans who make mistakes. Let small road infractions go with a deep exhale. Rising tempers don’t give us license to rage on the road. And the consequences can be deadly.

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The latest 100 names are read off before being unveiled as part of Nesconset’s own memorial wall in honor of those lost after lending helping hands in the aftermath of September 11 in 2001. Photo by Jenni Culkin

By Jenni Culkin

There was not a dry eye in the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park as the greater North Shore community came together to commemorate the lives of first responders who died from September 11-related illnesses.

The Nesconset park, at the intersection of Smithtown Boulevard and Gibbs Pond Road, was dedicated to victims of the horrendous terrorist attack and was crowded with hundreds of residents and families as 100 new names were added to its memorial wall on May 16.

“They are the reason we get out of bed,” said John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, who acted as the master of ceremonies. “Thank you for allowing us to serve you.”

The wall already had more than 500 names, but those who spoke at the somber ceremony did so with the same sort of hurt felt when the attack first occurred in 2001.

“Like everyone here today, I pale in comparison to those who are going on the wall,” Martin Aponte, president of the park, said during the ceremony with a voice full of emotion.

The service featured various patriotic musical performances and words from elected officials.

“We thank you, from the bottom of our hearts,” said Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset), “I commit to you that I will always stand watch over this park.”

Elected officials from neighboring towns joined the Nesconset community in honoring the lives of the 9/11 responders.

“We are truly a country of greatness and heroes,” said Legislator Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore).

Toward the end of the ceremony, the sons of fallen responders read the names that were going to be etched into the memorial wall. Each name was followed by a solemn bell toll.

Shortly after the names were all read, the sun started to show itself above the memorial park. Feal and those who played active roles in leading the ceremony made it very clear during and after the ceremony that they were grateful for the amount of people attending the ceremony despite the rainy weather.

“It’s humbling to see this many people come out,” Feal said. “For people to withstand Mother Nature truly showed the American spirit.”

Aponte said there are trees among the park’s foliage that are direct descendants of a tree that survived the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. One of these trees was given to the Hauppauge Fire Department and another was also given to the Nesconset Fire Department as tokens of appreciation for each department’s contribution to the park.

A memorial ceremony is usually held, and is expected to continue to be held, every May during Memorial Day week and every September during the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The park has plans to eventually recognize and honor the service dogs that have passed away due to 9/11-related illnesses, Aponte said. There are also plans to place signs on the Long Island Expressway that lead travelers to the park from nearby exits but there are no definite dates at this time.

The park’s upkeep and development is dependent upon donations that can be made on the park’s website, which is at The Greater Smithtown Chamber of Commerce is also going to be hosting a golf outing to benefit the park in early August.

“We built this park so history does not get distorted,” Aponte said.

David Stein is joyous after winning a contest for Northport-East Northport school board. Photo by Rohma Abbas

By Rohma Abbas & Victoria Espinoza

Voters in the Huntington, Northport-East Northport, Harborfields and Cold Spring Harbor school districts resoundingly approved their districts’ proposed 2015-16 budgets and elected a number of newcomers to local school boards.

Both Harborfields and Northport-East Northport school board races had contests this year — in Harborfields, five candidates vied for three seats, and in Northport-East Northport, a pool of seven were competing for three slots.

Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor had races in which trustees ran unopposed.

Voters in the Huntington school district approved a $120.3 million budget, 1,228 votes to 301. Proposition 2, which allows the district to spend just over $1 million in capital reserve monies to pay for state-approved projects, passed 1,252 votes to 251.

Four people ran unopposed for re-election or election: board President Emily Rogan received 1,193 votes, board members Xavier Palacios and Tom DiGiacomo collected 1,139 votes and 1,185 votes, respectively, and newcomer Christine Biernacki garnered 1,189 votes. Rogan, Biernacki and DiGiacomo won three-year terms.

As the lowest vote getter, Palacios will serve the remaining two years on a term of former Vice President Adam Spector’s vacated seat.

“We will maintain our efforts toward achieving cost savings and efficiencies, while preserving the goal of providing students across the district with a high quality education that promotes an affinity for learning as well as college and career readiness in an increasingly global and technologically-driven society,” Superintendent Jim Polansky said in a statement.

Tammie Topel is joyous after winning a contest for Northport-East Northport school board. Photo by Rohma Abbas
Tammie Topel is joyous after winning a contest for Northport-East Northport school board. Photo by Rohma Abbas

Northport-East Northport
In Northport-East Northport, the $159.6 million budget was approved, 3,281 to 788, in a turnout that school officials there called stronger than usual. Proposition 2, which allows the district to spend $1.2 million in capital reserves, was approved 3,561 to 504. Longtime Trustee Stephen Waldenburg Jr., who has served on the board for 15 years, was voted out in a heated race against six others for three seats, amassing 1,290 votes. Incumbent David Badanes, 2,446 votes, was re-elected to another term. Candidate Tammie Topel, former school board member, got her seat back after declining to seek re-election last year, with 2,130 votes and newcomer David Stein, who championed a successful grassroots parental movement to get full-day kindergarten included in this year’s budget, enjoyed victory to the board, with 2,548 votes.

Newcomers Peter Mainetti, Josh Muno and Michael Brunone missed the mark as well, with Mainetti garnering 1,018 votes, Muno receiving 542 votes and Brunone getting 1,039 votes.

Stein said he’s looking forward to working with his colleagues on the school board as his first order of business.

“I feel that the will of this entire community, that did great things this year, was just heard. This is what we’ve been working for. The community put kindergarten together; they did it as a community effort.”

Waldenburg said he “would’ve liked to won,” but the community has spoken.

“I’ve given it my all for 15 years and I’m grateful that I was able to serve that long,” Waldenburg said. “I appreciate it. The community wants somebody else; that’s their choice.”

Newly elected Trustee Tammie Topel and incumbent David Badanes also spoke positively about their victories.

“I feel on cloud nine. I feel really great,” Topel said.

The United Teachers of Northport, the district’s teacher’s union, endorsed the three candidates who won, according to Antoinette Blanck, the president of the union. She said she was “thrilled” the budget passed, especially because of full-day kindergarten.

Voters in Harborfields approved their budget with high marks — 82.5 percent voter support for an $80.5 million spending plan, with 1,442 voting in favor and 305 voting no. Voters also supported a proposition on the ballot to establish a new capital reserve fund, with 79.4 percent in favor.

Incumbents Donald Mastroianni and board President Dr. Thomas McDonagh were returned to the board, and voters elected newcomer Suzie Lustig. Mastroianni earned the most votes, at 1,017, McDonagh earned 958 votes and Lustig got 953 votes.

Candidates Chris Kelly and Colleen Rappa fell short.

Mastroianni and McDonagh are both incumbents; serving their ninth and seventh year, respectively. Lustig, a resident of the Harborfields district for 22 years, will be serving on the board for her first time.

Lustig said she wants to focus her time on making sure all students at Harborfields receive a well-rounded education that is competitive for the 21st century.

“Our school has to be of a holistic level, some children may be gifted in science or they may be gifted in music, and we need to make sure we represent everybody for a competitive environment,” Lustig said.

Lustig has served as the Harborfields Council of PTAs “Get Out the Vote” chairperson for three years now, and has served on the district’s advisory committee since 2013, as well as holding many different PTA positions since 2007.

Mastroianni, who has served on the board since 2006, believes that the biggest challenges Harborfields faces as a district are state-imposed, including the gap elimination adjustment on school district aid, a deduction from each school district’s state aid allocation that helps the state fill its revenue shortfall.

Mastroianni also hopes to focus on current district committee work regarding building usage and full-day kindergarten.

“I think full-day kindergarten is definitely possible, but we have to take a hard look at the costs and the sustainability,” Mastroianni said.

McDonagh wants to focus on many of the projects that have just begun this year, including the capital improvement bond project, and evaluating the need for facility modifications over the next few years.

“The projects being considered include both athletic facilities and educational facilities, as well as just general district facility needs like bathrooms and other facilities,” McDonagh said.

Cold Spring Harbor
In Cold Spring Harbor, voters approved a $64 million budget, 335 votes to 130. Proposition 2, which moved to spend capital reserve money on various projects, passed 318 to 107. Proposition 3, to establish a new capital reserve fund, was approved 314 to 114. Board President Anthony Paolano and Trustee Ingrid Wright ran unopposed for re-election and received 366 and 359 votes, respectively.

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Charlie Leo lost his re-election bid in Kings Park. File photo by Erika Karp

By Phil Corso & Barbara Donlon

Residents gave a thumbs up to school budgets throughout Smithtown and its neighboring districts, including Commack, Hauppauge and Kings Park.

Smithtown’s $229.5 million budget passed, 2,582 to 762. School board President Christopher Alcure, who ran unopposed, was re-elected with 2,395 votes, while newcomer Jeremy Thode was elected with 2,144 votes.

The board largely assembled together in the district clerk’s office Tuesday night as the results came in before eventually filling the board room around 10 p.m. for the final reading of the numbers.

“I am very thankful that the budget passed, it clearly was a fiscally responsible budget that supports our school district and mission,” said Thode, who was not present when the board read the results aloud Tuesday night. “I am also humbled by the overwhelming personal support of the community in my election. I would like to thank everyone for their belief in me and look forward to helping all the students and families in Smithtown.”

MaryRose Rafferty lost her bid, garnering 862 votes, but said she looked forward to working with the board on the other side of the microphone nevertheless.

“I’m not going away, I will still be the voice of the people for the people,” she said.

A second proposition on the Smithtown ballot, related to capital reserves, passed 2,507 to 715.

Community members passed Commack’s $185.1 million budget 1,927 to 575.

In Hauppauge, voters passed the district’s proposed $105.4 million budget, 1,458 to 442. Michael Buscarino and Stacey Weisberg were elected to the board with 1,098 and 1,122 votes, respectively. Candidate Susan Hodosky fell short, with 984.

Kings Park voters came out to support the district’s $84.7 million budget as well on Tuesday.

The community voted in favor of the budget 2,065 to 577. There was also voting on two propositions, regarding bus purchases and a capital project to replace the high school roof. Both passed, 1,998 to 542 and 2,087 to 455, respectively.

Voters ousted Vice President Charlie Leo (1,108 votes) and voted in incumbent Diane Nally (1,821) and newcomer Kevin Johnston (1,886) for the two open seats on the district’s board of education.

“The community spoke and I am fine with that,” Leo said.

The district’s budget included a 2 percent tax levy increase while keeping its current curriculum, extra curricular activities and adding a wish list of items that included an additional social worker, new musical instruments and class size reductions.

“It was uncomfortable at best because of my long association with Charlie Leo and Diane Nally but it was the right time to run for a seat on the Kings Park Board of Education,” Johnston said. “My goals are to provide the best education for students at Kings Park while being financially responsible to the taxpayers.”

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Eddie Munoz celebrates a goal. Photo by Clayton Collier

By Clayton Collier

With 13 goals in the first half, the No. 4-seeded Ward Melville boys’ lacrosse team made quick work of No. 5 Half Hollow Hills East in a 17-1 routing Tuesday in the Suffolk County Class A quarterfinals.

Ward Melville head coach Jay Negus stressed to his team the need for a full 48 minutes of quality play to best their opponent.

“I’m very, very happy with the team’s effort today,” he said. “All year long I’ve been on them to play four quarters of Ward Melville lacrosse together, and today was it. … We put it all together today and at the perfect time. This is a very dangerous team when we can do that.”

Hills East head coach Gordie Hodgson said the Patriots were in control of the game the whole way through.

“I thought Ward Melville dominated in every aspect of the game,” he said. “They dominated on the faceoff and counter possession, and we weren’t able to generate offense because of it.”

Dan Bucaro maintains possession with Half Hollow Hills East players racing to stop him. Photo by Clayton Collier
Dan Bucaro maintains possession with Half Hollow Hills East players racing to stop him. Photo by Clayton Collier

In retrospect, all the Patriots needed was a 10-minute stretch to put the game out of reach for the Thunderbirds.

Ward Melville senior attack Dan Bucaro notched the first goal of the afternoon with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter, muscling past a pair of Hills East defenders to sneak one past Thunderbirds goaltender Jordan Eichholz on the left side of the net. The goal was Bucaro’s first of four on the day.

“I came out fast and ready to go — the team really got me going,” he said. “Everyone came together today.”

The Georgetown University-bound senior said his work isn’t done with Ward Melville, and his goal opened the floodgates for the Patriots, as they tacked on an additional eight goals over the next 10 minutes of play.

Sophomore midfielder Eddie Munoz, who was responsible for two of those eight goals, said Negus told the team at halftime that the kind of offensive output the Patriots had has always been possible for the team.

“He said this was one of our first games this year that we played a full half,” Munoz said of Negus’ message to the team, while up 13-1. “We started off slow this season, so he said it was the first time that we started a first half well, and told us to just keep going.”

Senior attack Billy McGinley had a trio of goals, while classmates and midfielders Jake McCulloch, James Kickel and John Burgdoerfer each scored twice as well.

The lone Thunderbirds goal came on a deflection from Ward Melville junior goaltender D.J. Kellerman.

“He had a goal,” Bucaro said, with a laugh. “He played great, really. He’s just got to keep it up.”

Kellerman made eight saves on the day.

The Patriots will head to Northport Friday for the semifinals, taking on the No. 1-seeded Tigers at 4:15 p.m. at Veterans Park. Ward Melville will enter the game with a chip on their collective shoulder. The last time the two teams matched up, Northport scored four goals in the final quarter to edge out the Patriots, 7-6. Bucaro said his team is hungry to get the win the second time around.

“I’m expecting a really tough game,” he said. “They’re a very good team. We’ve got to get payback; we’ve got to get angry and be ready to play.”