Sports

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Smithtown West’s Jimmy Caddigan dives and shoots the ball past Riverhead’s goalkeeper in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Smithtown West boys’ lacrosse team blew the Riverhead Blue Waves out of the water in a dominating performance on its home turf Friday afternoon.

In a tune up game for the playoff-bound Bulls, the team controlled the draw, the clock and the time of possession, and shut out Riverhead, 14-0, to improve to 8-2 with two games left to play in regular season, League II play.

Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom maintains possession with a Riverhead defender at his hip, in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom maintains possession with a Riverhead defender at his hip, in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

Smithtown hit the scoreboard quickly and often, and freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki put away a pair in just over three minutes of play. The first, was off a feed from senior midfielder Jarrod Wilkom.

The Bulls rattled off five more goals to take a 7-0 lead into the second quarter.

Smithtown sophomore attack Jimmy Caddigan got on the scoreboard first, and sophomore midfielder Danny Riley tacked on the next. Senior attack Brennan Laforge found the cage twice — on his second, the ball ricocheted off the pipe and he snagged the rebound and drove his shot home — and Riley struck again for the final goal of the quarter.

“In the second half we took over on offense, but they’re a tough team,” Riley said.

Smithtown junior midfielder Dan Caroussos fed a diving Zawadzki in front of the cage, and while airborne, Zawadzki buried his shot before touching ground, for his hat trick to put his team out front 8-0.

Zawadzki wasn’t finished, and scored his fourth goal of the game off a feed from senior midfielder Garrett Brunsvold, to lead by nine to end the half.

The Bulls opened the second half with possession thanks to junior midfielder Danny Varello’s mastery at the faceoff “X,” and from there, they slowed the tempo of the game. Smithtown’s passing remained solid and deliberate throughout the game, as the team circled the cage looking for any opportunity. Opportunity came knocking three minutes into the third quarter, and Caroussos fired a shot between the pipes to surge ahead 10-0.

“We played very well today, our defense communicated very well and Zach Lamberti, our goalie who’s been playing great all season, had some big stops,” Smithtown West senior defenseman Chris Weider said. “Dan Varello at the ‘X’ won almost all of our face-offs today, and when you do that it means time of possession.”

With the heavy lead, Smithtown went to work on running down the clock. The team’s assistant coach, Tom Rotanz, barked from the sideline: “Zero-zero, get big, get wide,” as the Bull’s offense dropped back, spread out and snapped the ball around the circle, first one way, and then the other, as time bled off the clock.

Smithtown West’s Brett Disalvo passes the ball in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over Riverhead on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Brett Disalvo passes the ball in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over Riverhead on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

Riverhead’s goalkeeper, fresh off a big stop, looked to clear the ball to a defender at his right, only to have Smithtown junior attack Nick Cascone take flight and snatch the ball from the defender’s waiting stick.

Upon landing, Cascone fed the ball to Caddigan in front of the cage. Caddigan snapped one by the startled keeper and put his team up 11-0.

“One of the things we’ve focused on all year is limiting our turnover,s because when you play the better teams, they’re going to beat you on it,” Caddigan said. “When you have the ball, they don’t, and when you have a face-off guy like Varello, you control the game.”

Rounding out the final three goals for Smithtown was freshman attack Matt Miller, Laforge, for his hat trick, and junior midfielder Brett Disalvo.

Smithtown head coach Bob Moltisanti was pleased with all aspects of his team’s game, and in particular, that of his senior goalkeeper.

“Danny Varello had an excellent game at the ‘X,’ and Zach Lamberti did a nice job in the cage turning away some of their good chances,” he said. “Our defense played close and we were able to shut the door on [Riverhead] a few times. Our attack did an excellent job on the ride — turning them over — and that created scoring chances for us in transition.”

With two games remaining in the regular season, Moltisanti said his strategy is to continue to take the season one game at a time.

“I’m happy if we get better every time we’re on the practice field, and we get better every game we play,” Moltisanti. “And right now, all we’re thinking about is getting ready for Copiague.”

Smithtown West hosted Copiague Wednesday, but results were not available by press time. The Bulls will conclude the regular season with a game at West Islip on Tuesday, May 12, at 5 p.m.

Luis Antonio Fernandez leads the pack for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

With twice the number of athletes, Northport’s boys’ track and field team dominated the League II meet on its home track Tuesday to win the meet 105-20.

Sam Augustin leaps over the hurdle for Northport. Photo by Bill Landon
Sam Augustin leaps over the hurdle for Northport. Photo by Bill Landon

Middle Country head coach George Royce said that most of the districts’ athletes come from Newfield, so a venue change earlier in the year adversely affected his team.

“At the very beginning of the season the athletic director moved us to Centereach, so a lot of our athletes [from Newfield] just didn’t come out for the team,” Royce said. “The Newfield kids didn’t want to take the bus over, and we lost quite a few good athletes, so we’re really short.”

Short or not, finishing fifth for Middle Country in the 3,200-meter run was sophomore Luis Antonio Fernandez, a second-year varsity runner who had never competed in the event before.

“We only had one kid in it and I already ran the 1,600 and I wasn’t feeling that good for the 800,” Fernandez said. “So I wanted to wait a little bit so I could recover.”

Northport freshman Isaih Claiborne was at the head of the pack for the 3,200, and stayed with the leader, making big kicks down the final 200-meter stretch to cross the finish line at 11 minutes, 36.3 seconds.

Crossing the finish line first in the 1,600 was a tie between Northport senior Michael Cossaro and junior Sam Napoli, who both finished in 4:59.03.

Northport head coach Bob Burkley said his team’s victory was due to the number of competitors his team fielded this day. Burkley has been coaching for years and also noted that he coached Middle Country’s head coach back in 1974.

“The team aspect is what won it for us,” Burkley said. “It was a team effort because they ran in groups, and that was the key.”

Denzel Williams competes in the long jump for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Denzel Williams competes in the long jump for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

Middle Country standout Denzel Williams, a junior, is a premier sprinter and one of the fastest kids in League II, according to his coach. While he believes Chris Weiner is the best pole-vaulter in the league.

Williams, who won the 100 in 11.6,  said that the running conditions weren’t the best, as he ran slower than his personal best of 11.2.

“The wind affected me — it was a long bus ride here and I didn’t get a good warm up,” said Williams, who specializes in the 100, 200 and long jump events.

With the win, Northport improved to 2-1, while Middle Country dropped to 0-3.

Despite the strong athletes Royce has, the coach said his team has a tough time filling the roster to compete against the bigger teams.

“We’re very young, with only one senior and we have talent, but we’re small and have trouble competing against these larger schools,” he said.

Middle Country will host Sachem North on Tuesday at 4 p.m., and Northport will travel to Connetquot Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

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Corey Aviles, after forcing a turnover, races across the field and fires a shot across the net for a Patriots goal. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Being down 3-1 early against championship-caliber boys’ lacrosse program in Chaminade didn’t scare the Ward Melville Patriots.

The host team bounced back to tie the game in the second quarter and eventually edged ahead, holding onto a marginal lead to pull away with a 7-5 nonleague win.

“Chaminade is a great program,” Ward Melville head coach Jay Negus said. “It was a slugfest and our boys took a big step beating a powerhouse like Chaminade and I’m very proud of them. Even though it wasn’t as pretty as I would have liked in terms of execution — we had some breakdowns — we just wanted to put four quarters together and we did that today. We got the result we were looking for.”

Danny Bucaro maintains possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Danny Bucaro maintains possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Both teams came out on fire right off the opening faceoff, and Chaminade scored two quick goals before Ward Melville put its first point on the board to cut the deficit in half. The two teams traded possession with some passing miscues, and at the end of the first quarter the score remained 2-1.

The Flyers (now 8-2, 5-0 NSCHSAA AAA) scored again in the opening minutes of the second to edge ahead with a score of 3-1, but the Patriots (now 10-2, 6-2 League I) answered back with two quick goals. The first was a stick-side high left shot by junior midfielder Owen McAvoy to cut the lead to one. The second was a rocket from the right goal post by senior midfielder Corey Aviles after he forced a turnover in the Patriots zone, carrying it all the way down the field for the tying goal at 3-3.

“It’s great to get a big win against a school like Chaminade,” McAvoy said. “It’s the first game we really came out here and went balls to the wall — and put it to them.”

McAvoy added another goal off an offensive rebound that shocked the Chaminade goalkeeper, and Aviles tallied his second point with nine seconds left in the half to give his team a 5-3 advantage heading into halftime.

Negus addressed his team during the break and explained to his athletes that the game was all about seizing the opportunities when they were presented to them.

“You guys are taking that next step to be at that level with this team,” he said. “We got to give the defense a rest. Bury the ball and make this game out of reach.”

Still struggling to win possession at the faceoff, Chaminade capitalized early in the third to make it 5-4, but Ward Melville junior goalkeeper D.J. Kellerman came through with two big saves to preserve the one-goal advantage.

D.J. Kellerman attempts a save. Photo by Desirée Keegan
D.J. Kellerman attempts a save. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I felt confident,” Kellerman said. “A little shaky in the beginning, but my defense really shut it down. I love them — they’re great.”

Ward Melville ripped another crossing shot to bring the advantage back to two, 6-4, and Kellerman caught another save to maintain the lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Senior midfielder Jake McCulloch rocketed a shot from nearly 20 yards early in the final stanza, and Chaminade scored once more a minute later. Kellerman made three big saves in the final minutes to keep the Flyers at bay and seal the Patriots’ 7-5 victory.

“It’s a big win for us as a program,” Kellerman said. “We had a tough loss against Northport [6-7, on April 22] but we bounced back. Coach did a great job getting us ready and we’re a hardworking team.”

What McAvoy said he thinks continues to lead the players to success is that ability to continue to fight, even when the team is down.

“We were fighting for ground balls and hustled all over the field,” he said. “We were fired up in the locker room and thought this could be a big statement make for us. We laid some bodies all over the field and really made them feel our presence.”

Aviles and McAvoy finished with two goals each, and McCulloch and senior attack Danny Bucaro tacked on a goal and an assist apiece, while Kellerman made 13 saves on the evening.

Ward Melville was scheduled to host Brentwood on Wednesday. The Patriots will travel to Patchogue-Medford on Friday, and the opening faceoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

“We’ve been talking about fighting back against adversity and that shows the character of the team,” Negus said. “Today we showed that we can battle back against the best of them.”

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Comsewogue's Sarah McKoy and Seaver Lipshie double-team a Deer Park player on the way to the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Comsewogue hammered out a 17-7 victory on Monday in a girls’ lacrosse matchup against Deer Park, dominating the home team and scoring seven unanswered goals in a nine-minute span alone.

Hannah Dorney, a Comsewogue midfielder, crosses into Deer Park's zone on her way to a double hat trick and the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Hannah Dorney, a Comsewogue midfielder, crosses into Deer Park’s zone on her way to a double hat trick and the Warriors’ 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With the win, the Warriors improved to 9-3 overall, with an 8-3 mark in Division II.

Comsewogue midfielder Jamie Fischer, a sophomore, won the opening draw and with the game not even two minutes old, freshman midfielder Hannah Dorney fired a shot straight up the center for the first goal. Minutes later, Dorney did it again. The score 2-1 after a Deer Park goal, the Warriors regained possession off a Deer Park save and senior attack Haley Lochren’s shot hit its mark.

Dorney bounced another shot in halfway through the first for a hat trick, then made it 5-1 with an over-the-shoulder shot into the left side of the goal before Deer Park managed to get on the scoreboard again. The Falcons scored again with 10:10 left in the half to bring it to 5-3.

Comsewogue rotated midfielders at the draw and continued to win the ball, keeping it away from the competition. Dorney scored her fifth goal of the game at 9:19, blazing the trail for the team to light up the scoreboard six more times, ending with a Fischer buzzer-beater.

Jamie Fischer, a Comsewogue midfielder, collides with a Deer Park player on the first draw of a game the Warriors' won 17-7 on April 27. Fischer scored a hat trick in the match. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Jamie Fischer, a Comsewogue midfielder, collides with a Deer Park player on the first draw of a game the Warriors’ won 17-7 on April 27. Fischer scored a hat trick in the match. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Today we definitely did great on the draw,” Fischer said. “I think that’s so important because we definitely need to keep possession.”

Lochren opened the second half with two straight goals, the first assisted by sophomore Julia Tuohy. After a Deer Park goal brought the score to 14-4, Tuohy scored a goal of her own off a play that began with Fischer winning the draw and carrying it down the field. Fischer passed to senior midfielder Seaver Lipshie at centerfield, who lobbed the ball over to Tuohy. The sophomore stuffed it into the left side of the goal.

The teams got shots past the keepers a few more times, to give the game its final 17-7 score.

Dorney finished the game with six goals and an assist; Lochren and Fischer each added a hat trick; and Tuohy tacked on two goals and four assists. The win was a team effort, with three other players adding a goal apiece and three more finishing with an assist.

Comsewogue's Julia Tuohy carries the ball into Deer Park's zone on the road to the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Comsewogue’s Julia Tuohy carries the ball into Deer Park’s zone on the road to the Warriors’ 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We have a lot of strong players,” Fischer said. “It’s not just one player, two players; we’re a team and we all work well together and we’re all strong together.”

The sophomore said the girls are “becoming less selfish.”

Comsewogue head coach James Fernandes agreed his team has a nice balance on offense and defense in terms of skill sets, and with a handful of underclassmen on the roster, he’s hoping their help will put the Warriors in a good position to make the playoffs.

“We have a very coachable group — the girls have done a great job and we’re building every week,” he said. “The younger girls are like sparkplugs for us. They do everything; they’re all over the place and it’s awesome. We have a seventh-grader out there and the girls, they thrive off her. When she makes a play, they love it.”

The team has three games left. First, the Warriors will travel to Shoreham-Wading River Friday for a game at 4 p.m., then will finish up the season hosting Islip and Miller Place. Fernandes said the team needs to win two out of the three, and Fischer thinks her team has what it takes.

“Our record is so much better than last year,” she said of the team’s 4-10 overall record last season. “We hope we’ll get into playoffs and I think we will.”

While Dorney thinks the team started off the season a little shaky, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by an average of almost 10 goals in the last three games, and will use that momentum to propel them into the end of the league schedule.

“Now, we realize that we’re good enough to hang with the teams that are usually at the top,” Dorney said. “It’s a good win to come up with, and now we have a big game Friday that we have to get ready for, and I think that we’ll come together.”

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Kings Park’s Rachel Slagle looks up the field to make a play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park’s Rachel Slagle looks up the field to make a play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

At 3-6, it was a must-win game for the Kings Park girls’ lacrosse team to keep its chances of a postseason appearance alive, with four Division II games remaining before the playoffs. The Bonackers of East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson led by two, but the Kingsmen turned up the heat late in the first half to surge ahead by three and held onto that margin for most of the second half, to pull out a much needed win, 12-10, Monday afternoon.

“Coming in we thought they were a little better than us, but we knew we could beat them,” Kings Park sophomore Shannon Savage said. “We took our time, we worked together and we slowed it down on offense, and we didn’t force anything in the middle.”

The Bonackers struck first, but Kings Park junior Shannon Donovan evened the score early in the half.

Kings Park’s Shannon Savage shoots the ball play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park’s Shannon Savage shoots the ball play in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

Again trailing by one, Kings Park junior Alexa Cebulski answered the call six minutes in, to retie the game, and sophomore Jillian Winwood drove her shot home next to give the Kingsmen their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Savage scored next to double the lead, but the Bonackers responded by rattling off four unanswered goals in just over three minutes of play to jump out in front, 6-4.

Cebulski and Winwood both found the cage with 10 minutes left in the half to again tie the game.

Savage, on a penalty shot, found the back of the net to edge ahead 7-6, and from there, Kings Park never looked back.

Kings Park junior Rachel Slagle dished one off to junior Haley Mango, who split the pipes to bring the score to 8-6.

The Bonackers’ goalie looked to clear the ball from the crease after a save, but Slagle leaped in the air and snagged the pass. She drove the ball in past the startled goalkeeper to close the half ahead 9-6.

“We played better in the first half where we scored more goals,” Cebulski said. “And we played really well on both sides of the ball today.”

The Bonackers opened the second half hitting the scoreboard first to trim the deficit.

Kings Park’s Jillian Winwood passes the ball from midfield in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Kings Park’s Jillian Winwood passes the ball from midfield in the Kingsmens’ 12-10 win over East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

Winwood struck again for her hat trick goal, this time, off an assist from Savage, to get back up by three goals. The Kings Park lead grew to four when Winwood dished one up to Mango for an 11-7 advantage.

“We did well in transition and we slowed the offense down,” Winwood said. “They came out fast, but we came out stronger and we came to play today, so I’m really proud.”

A man up, the Bonackers took advantage of the extra stick and fired another shot home to draw within three goals, and two minutes later, found the net again to trail by two, 11-9.

Kings Park junior Kristin Frizol finished the scoring for the Kingsmen with four minutes to play, and the Bonackers wouldn’t go quietly, as they scored with 30 seconds left to play, but it was too little too late.

“The second half we took control of the game and held them defensively and we stayed calm,” said Kings Park head coach Sally Ayres. ”We kept winning the draw and we kept that three-goal lead through most of the second half.”

After Winwood’s hat trick, Savage, Mango and Cebulski added two goals each, and Slagle, Donovan and Frizol rounded out the scoring with one goal apiece.

With the win, Kings Park improved to 4-6 and needs to win three out of the next four games to ensure a postseason appearance.

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Shoreham-Wading River’s Isabella Meli pulls back to fire a shot at the cage in the Wildcats’ 12-4 loss at Sayville Friday. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Shoreham-Wading River girls’ lacrosse team couldn’t keep up with the Golden Flashes on Friday. Despite lighting up the scoreboard early, the Wildcats fell to Sayville, 12-4.

“I don’t really think they played with a lot of heart today,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Rachel Feirstein said of her team. “They didn’t play the game that I know they can play.”

Sayville scored first but a minute later, Jesse Arline passed the ball to Sophia Triandafils, who tied the game. It didn’t last for long though — by the time another minute had passed, Sayville had edged ahead, 3-1.

Shoreham-Wading River’s Jesse Arline pulls the ball out and away from the crease to try to get an open look at the net in the Wildcats’ 12-4 loss at Sayville Friday. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Shoreham-Wading River’s Jesse Arline pulls the ball out and away from the crease to try to get an open look at the net in the Wildcats’ 12-4 loss at Sayville Friday. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Shortly afterward, following a foul call, Shoreham eighth-grader Isabella Meli, a midfielder and attack, fired a shot straight up the middle from 10 yards out to pull her team within one.

“I think today wasn’t one of our best games but I think we did good on draw controls,” she said. “I think we need to have a more positive attitude while we’re playing — and less turnovers.”

Sayville then scored four straight goals, but it would have been more without Shoreham senior goalkeeper and captain Lauren Daly, who made three big saves to minimize the damage.

The half ended with the Wildcats down 7-2.

“I think we had some moments of greatness, but I think there were times where we could have won a few more 50/50 balls and taken some better shots,” Daly said. “Sayville is a great team. They have some really good players and some really good ball movement, so I think defensively we communicated well with each other.”

At the start of the second half, Shoreham patiently maintained possession of the ball for more than five straight minutes and finally found the back of the net, to bring the score to 7-3.

After another Daly save, Sayville hammered one in net and forced Shoreham to call a timeout. Daly came out of the huddle to make another save, but Sayville squeezed another ball past her to jump out to a 9-3 lead.

“I walk into every game with the same attitude, and every single game I just try to play my best,” Daly said.

After winning the draw, Shoreham-Wading River’s Samantha Higgins maintains possession of the ball as she makes her way into Sayville’s zone with a defender on her hip, in the Wildcats’ 12-4 loss at Sayville Friday. Photo by Desirée Keegan
After winning the draw, Shoreham-Wading River’s Samantha Higgins maintains possession of the ball as she makes her way into Sayville’s zone with a defender on her hip, in the Wildcats’ 12-4 loss at Sayville Friday. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Sayville’s defense continued to pressure, forcing Shoreham outside the crease. Even there, the Wildcats couldn’t find the open looks.

Sayville scored another time before Shoreham scored its final goal of the game.

Samantha Higgins, who won possession off of several draws for the Wildcats, swiped the ball out of the air, took it all the way down the field and passed to Meli in front of the net, who whipped it in for the score.

Daly made her final of nine saves on the day, and Sayville scored twice more to end the game at 12-4.

Feirstein does not believe the game and its result are indicative of the way her team can play.

“I think the negative outweighed the bright spots, but there were some — we had an eighth-grader who scored two goals,” she said of Meli. “I have a lot of confidence in my team; they just need to show it. They need to work together as a team, and they practice it all week long — they just need to put it together in a 50-minute game.”

Daly said to end the regular season strong, the team will need to work on winning more ground balls and capitalizing on turnovers, which the girls hope to do Monday, when they travel to Miller Place at 4 p.m.

“We have some really great players and we’re a young team, but I think we’re a confident team,” she said. ”I think when we play confident and when we play our best, we’re a threat.”

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From left to right, Matt Lopiccolo, Jacob Arditti, Maki Stavropoulos, Jeff Towle and Mark Napoli signing their letters of intent. Photo from Chris Boltrek

By Clayton Collier

Five Ward Melville student athletes will continue their football careers after committing to play at the collegiate level — a rare occurrence for the lacrosse powerhouse that they hope will soon become a trend.

All-County quarterback Jeff Towle, center Maki Stavropoulos, guard Matt Lopiccolo, defensive end Jacob Arditti, and tackle Mark Napoli will all move on to play college football this fall.

Ward Melville head coach Chris Boltrek said having more of his athletes signing to play in college is essential in reviving the Patriots football program, largely because it makes the sport more appealing to other athletes at the school.

Jeff Towle reaches back to throw a pass in a previous contest. File photo by Bill Landon
Jeff Towle reaches back to throw a pass in a previous contest. File photo by Bill Landon

“To get the football program at Ward Melville to take off, the environment and the image had to change,” he said. “I thought there were plenty of good football athletes in the district that just didn’t realize the potential they had and didn’t realize that playing college football was a real possibility, and instead they gravitated toward lacrosse or baseball or other sports that they thought offered that for them.”

Boltrek, who played college football at St. Lawrence University after graduating from Ward Melville, said the program occasionally gets one player every few years who moves on to the collegiate level. Now having five in one year, he hopes it will bring new life into the program.

“To have five in one year is a pretty big deal for us,” the first-year varsity head coach said.

Towle, who will attend Division II Pace University this fall, also doubled as a talented catcher on the baseball team, but said football has long been his preference.

“I was always a quarterback at heart,” he said. “I just happened to be showing more talent in baseball at the time. Then I got my opportunity on the football field and play well. I’ve been a football guy my whole life.”

Towle was not even the starting quarterback until the final five games of the season. Serving as the reserve, Towle continued to train to ensure he would be ready should he get his chance.

“I worked as hard as I could, knowing maybe I’ll get a shot, maybe I won’t,” he said. “But if I did, I wanted to be ready.”

When Towle got his chance, he thrived, completing 13 touchdown passes and tossed for over 1,100 total yards of offense.

His mother, Jessica Spencer, said her son’s dedication led him to obtaining such an opportunity.

“He hung in there and he did everything they asked him to and it paid off,” she said. “I’m very proud of him and I’m very grateful to have him.”

Stavropoulos, a captain and three-time All-Division honoree, and Lopiccolo, who also achieved All-Division honors, will remain teammates as the pair heads to Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Lopiccolo and Arditti, like Towle, had obstacles to overcome as both were cut from the junior varsity squad in ninth grade.

“I was sad because football is my sport — I’ve been playing since I was five,” Lopiccolo said. “But at the same time it gave me the drive to work harder and hit the gym.”

To ensure that they wouldn’t be cut again, the pair “lived in the gym,” as Boltrek described, working out for 90 minutes a day, five days a week under the coach’s guidance. Lopiccolo said he was thrilled when he and Arditti made the team the following year, crediting the effort they put in  aover the year to improve themselves physically.

“It’s crazy how the tiniest bit of effort can change something completely,” he said.

Napoli, the team’s final commit, was an All-Division tackle who will attend the Division III Stevenson University.

Towle said he, along with his four fellow teammates that committed to play college ball, owe their diligent work ethic and ultimate success to Boltrek for his ambition and guidance.

“To be honest, we probably worked harder than any team in the county throughout the week during the season, and that’s a credit to [Coach Boltrek],” he said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without him; any of us.”

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Girls’ lacrosse brings the heat en route to third straight win

The connection between Mackenzie Heldberg and Natalia Lynch goes as far back as kindergarten, so when one of the junior midfielders gets the ball, the other is confident that her best friend can finish the job, the girls said.

“When I look up, I know she’ll be there cutting and I know she does the same for me, so I think that’s the best friend thing,” Heldberg said of the connection. “We knew we were going to have to play hard, so it feels really good to take away the win.”

Smithtown West head coach Carie Bodo started off by addressing her previously 5-2 team before the game and telling them that it was a game of possession.

“Win the draw and take smart shots,” she said.

Her team did just that, as the Bulls topped the previously second-ranked North Babylon, 16-9.

In the first 10 minutes of the first half, Smithtown West rattled off six unanswered goals, with Heldberg tallying a hat trick and an assist, and Lynch adding a goal and an assist, before North Babylon scored its first goal.

“I think my team really came out with a lot of fire and we really wanted this, so it feels great to win,” Lynch said. “We knew that this game was really important to us, so once we got that lead, it really helped us.”

North Babylon managed to score just two goals before the halftime break, while the Bulls scored four more to break out to a 10-3 lead.

Heldberg remained strong on the draws, and gaining that possession at midfield proved to be the game-changer for Smithtown West.

“I think it’s a big aspect for possession and I think everyone is good at getting the loose ball of the draws, even in the air like Natalia [Lynch] did a few times,” Heldberg said. “I put them up to her and I know she’s going to get them, and having [Addie Stapleton] behind me helps, too.”

North Babylon scored the first two goals of the second half, but Smithtown West countered with another six-goal tare, with Heldberg and Lynch connecting for two of them, to bring the score to 16-5.

“We played together since second grade and ever since our first year together, we would always look for each other,” Lynch said. “She’s amazing on the draws and always knows where to put it to get it to me and sees me when I’m open, and I think that helps a lot with the connection that we have.”

North Babylon went on a 4-0 run to end the game, but the team’s comeback effort fell short.

Heldberg lead the team with five goals and two assists, while Lynch finished with two goals and four assists.

“I like passing it to my players,” Lynch said. “I have a lot of confidence in them when they get opened.”

Senior attack Kaitlin Unser and sophomore midfielder Kayla Kosubinsky finished with two goals and two assists apiece, and sophomore attack Chelsea Witteck tallied a hat trick in the win.

“We did exactly what we said we wanted to do,” Bodo said. “We wanted to fast break to them and we’re definitely a fast break team, so as soon as we win the center draw, we book it and it goes in.”

Once Smithtown West realized that North Babylon’s Ally Kennedy was the team’s scorer, after she scored the first six of her seven goals, the Bulls were able to isolate her and protect their lead.

One of the Bull’s greatest benefits came from multiple girls getting their names on the score sheet, with seven girls tallying goals and nine getting at least a point.

“If one of our girls get hurt or someone is having an off-game, someone else can step up, because everyone can score,” Lynch said. “There’s not one girl that is a weakness on the field and I think that’s a great thing.”

Girls’ lacrosse team hits 7-0 atop Division II standings

Mount Sinai's Sydney Pirreca fires a shot at the net with Huntington defenders on her back. Photo by Desirée Keegan

In a battle for first place, Mount Sinai outlasted Huntington, 14-9, Tuesday evening, under its home lights, to remain the only undefeated girls’ lacrosse team in Division II.

“It’s a great feeling to still be undefeated and it’s so much fun playing with everyone,” Mount Sinai freshman attack Meaghan Tyrrell said. “I think we did come out really hot. We came out wanting to win.”

Mount Sinai’s Kasey Mitchell maintains possession as she heads toward the cage with Huntington’s Ryann Gaffney at her hip. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Kasey Mitchell maintains possession as she heads toward the cage with Huntington’s Ryann Gaffney at her hip. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Although Huntington’s senior attack Alyssa Amorison scored first at the 23:31 mark, off an assist from junior attack Katie Reilly, Mount Sinai was quick to counter with four straight goals. Senior attack and co-captain Sydney Pirreca scored the first and fourth, with Tyrell adding an assist on the first, to help the team to a 4-1 advantage.

The two teams traded goals, the goalkeepers traded saves and then traded two more goals. With the score 6-3, Huntington called a timeout to regroup.

“We need the draw,” Huntington head coach Kathy Wright told her players. “We need to get on those ground balls.”

Huntington moved senior midfielder Samantha Lynch to the faceoff in place of senior defender Heather Forster, and the switch proved to be successful.

The Blue Devils won the draw and with 6:55 remaining in the first half, sophomore midfielder Ryann Gaffney circled around the cage and passed to Lynch, who stood undefended at the front of the cage and knocked it into the right corner. A minute later, Lynch scored again off an assist from Reilly to pull within one, 6-5.

Thirty seconds later, Pirreca scored her hat trick goal. After a scrum at midfield for the ground ball off the draw, the senior attack was fouled, and jetted downfield for the score and a 7-5 lead heading into halftime.

“To me it’s not so much about being undefeated, it’s about the girls getting better every game,” Mount Sinai head coach Al Bertolone said. “Our mantra is one game at a time, to win the day, and today we did a great job. I thought it was a back and forth game early and I think we’ve really been a great second-half team, locking them down.”

Mount Sinai junior midfielder Rebecca Lynch scored the first two goals of the half within a minute of each other to put her team up 9-5. Huntington’s Gaffney scored next, unassisted, after gaining possession at midfield.

The teams continued to trade possession of the 50/50 balls, and Tyrrell added another assist when she passed the ball from behind the net to freshman attack Camryn Harloff in front of the net for a 10-6 advantage.

Mount Sinai's Meaghan Tyrrell looks up the field to make a play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Meaghan Tyrrell looks up the field to make a play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I feel pretty confident when I pass for shots,” Tyrrell said. “Even though I didn’t start off so well, I moved forward and got better as the game progressed.”

The Mustangs scored the next three goals, with Tyrrell having a part in all three, and Huntington called another timeout. During the break, Bertolone addressed his girls: “We need five seconds of focus to win the draw and get to goal, and don’t take any lapses down there on defense.”

The Blue Devils scored after the timeout, and Tyrrell scored her second goal of the game before Huntington junior attack Emma DeGennaro sent a shot off a foul into the right corner of the net for the next score. Amorison tacked on the final point of the game at 6:38. After that, the teams exchanged the ball as the defense stood strong on both ends to bring the final score to 14-9.

“I just think our older kids are bringing these younger kids along,” Bertolone said. “We’re coming together. We have a lot of babies out here that are really growing up fast, and this is a great group with great
senior leadership.”

One of the youngest on the team, Tyrrell finished the game with two goals and five assists; Lynch and Pirreca each tacked on a hat trick; and Harloff and senior midfielder Mary Ellen Carron added two goals apiece.

“Meaghan Tyrrell is a very good player,” Bertolone said. “I’ve got two [younger players] — her and Camryn Harloff down low, and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about them. They’re hardworking kids, so I’m happy for their success.”

Moving forward, he wants his team to improve in all facets of the game and to grow stronger as the season progresses. He said he believes his girls are doing all the little things necessary to be successful.
Tyrrell echoed her coach’s sentiments.

“We just have to keep getting better and keep improving,” she said. “We have a great team, we’re going to keep working together and do our best to keep moving forward and hopefully continue to win. There’s no stopping for us.”

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Middle Country’s Zach Harned puts on the breaks as he looks for an opening in front of East Islip’s net, in the Mad Dogs’ 8-5 win over the Redmen Saturday. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Middle Country boys’ lacrosse team scored four quick goals in less than three minutes and continued to fire off shots and find the back of the cage to claim an 8-5 victory over East Islip, Saturday.

Less than a minute into the game, junior midfielder Kyle Stemke scored first for the Mad Dogs, and senior midfielder Brandon Thomas followed with a goal of his own a minute later to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

Middle Country’s bobby Emerson cuts around East Islip defenders as he makes his way up the field in the Mad Dogs’ 8-5 win over East Islip Saturday. Photo by Bill Landon
Middle Country’s bobby Emerson cuts around East Islip defenders as he makes his way up the field in the Mad Dogs’ 8-5 win over East Islip Saturday. Photo by Bill Landon

“We played a solid team with a solid defense today who have a lot of offensive power,” Stemke said, as his team made eight of its 21 attempts at a goal. “We made some goals when we had to and we were able to shut them down defensively at the end.”

Middle Country head coach Kenneth Budd said his team has struggled at the faceoff position lately, but that wasn’t the case for the Mad Dogs in this matchup.

Junior midfielder Declan Canevari won his third possession of the game and dished the ball to senior attack Bobby Emerson, and Canevari followed with his fourth faceoff win, and took the ball down the right sideline, cut to the inside and buried his shot between the pipes to give Middle Country a four-goal advantage.

Budd said his faceoff specialist was the difference-maker in the contest.

“Declan was phenomenal at the ‘X’ today,” Budd said. “When you control ‘X’ you get possession, and that’s how you win games.”

Middle Country senior attack Zach Harned assisted in his team’s first goal of the second quarter when he fed the ball to junior midfielder Cole Demaille, who found the back of the cage. Stemke crossed the ball over to Emerson next, who sent home his second goal of the game to take a commanding 6-0 lead.

“We knew their goalie was good, but we came out firing and we were really amped when we went up 6-0,” Harned said. “We came out clean, we maintained possession and we played hard.”

East Islip wouldn’t go quietly though, and rattled off three unanswered goals in less than three minutes late in the half, to keep Middle Country’s defense on its toes.

Harned halted the Redmen’s scoring spree, and blasted a shot to the back of the cage to bring the halftime score to 7-3.

Middle Country’s Kyle Stemke races downfield and winds up to fire a shot at the cage in the Mad Dogs’ 8-5 nonleague victory over East Islip Saturday. Photo by Bill Landon
Middle Country’s Kyle Stemke races downfield and winds up to fire a shot at the cage in the Mad Dogs’ 8-5 nonleague victory over East Islip Saturday. Photo by Bill Landon

East Islip found the cage late in the third to trim the deficit to three, and Middle Country failed to find the cage until halfway through the final quarter when Stemke moved down the right sideline, crossed to midfield and scored his second goal of the game to double East Islip’s score to lead 8-4.

East Islip tallied one more goal with three minutes left to play, and despite Middle Country being a man down off a penalty with 2:45 left to play, the Mad Dogs defense stood its ground.

“We stepped it up on offense and then our goalie made a big defensive stop at the end of the game,” Emerson saidå.

With the nonleague win, Middle Country ended its five-game losing streak and improved to 3-5 overall, while maintaining a 2-4 League I record.

The Mad Dogs will host Lindenhurst next, on Wednesday, at 7 p.m., where the team looks to continue its success to move up in the league ranking.

“The key to the game was us getting out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter,” Canevari said. “Even though they came back, we gave ourselves a sizable margin that we could work with. I just focused on getting possession at the X; we haven’t been doing that lately — to get possession, get the ball to our attacker’s sticks to win the game.”

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