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 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.
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.