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Lacrosse

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It was a back and forth battle between the Shoreham-Wading Wildcats and visiting Sayville in the Div-II class C quarterfinal playoff round May 18 with both tied at four goals each at the half. Junior attack Hayden Lachenmeyer scored the go ahead goal for the Wildcats with a seemingly impossible goal for SWR. She lay on the ground but yet managed to get a shot off for the goal. With just over two minutes left, Shoreham-Wading River netted an insurance goal and from there let the clock upwind for a 9-7 victory.

Senior Isabella Meli topped the scoring chart for the Wildcats with an assist and three goals as her younger sister Gabby Meli had an assist and netted two goals. Senior Nicollette Constant scored as did Lachenmeyer with her out-of-nowhere shot while freshman Catherine Erb along with teammate Amanda Padrazo, a junior, had a goal apiece.

The Wildcats as the No. 4 seed advances to the semifinal round and will face top seeded Mount Sinai on the road May 22. Game time is 4 p.m. with a $10 admission ,or tickets can be purchased online for $7at: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXIWildcats advance to semi-finals with one impossible shot

By Bill Landon

The Harborfields Tornadoes’ girls lacrosse team had a difficult time against visiting Sayville April 9, losing the game 4-5.

The loss puts Harborfields at 3-4 in league and 4-5 overall. The Tornadoes will host West Islip April 17 with a game time set for 4 p.m.

 

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Port Jeff sophomore attack Daniel Koban, right, celebrates with his older brother Nick after Daniel scored one of his three goals against Babylon April 8. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After going down four goals in the opening quarter, Port Jefferson’s boys lacrosse team shifted gears in the second, scoring three goals and then surging in the third quarter and finding the net four times to take a
one -goal lead. Babylon countered in the final 12 minutes of play to retie the game and then scored the go-ahead goal with four minutes left, defeating the Royals 11-10, April 8.

Sophomore attack Daniel Koban and junior Colton VanOverberghe each scored three goals for Port Jeff, while senior midfielder Jonathan Moshe netted two. Junior Jack Speidell and sophomore Gage Jampol also scored one goal apiece.

The loss drops the Royals to 2-4 in league and 4-4 overall in the Division II standings as they approach the midway point of the season with eight games remaining

The Royals continued their road trip against Deer Park April 10. They will be back on their own home turf April 24 when they host Miller Place. Game time is 10 a.m.

By Bill Landon

The Warriors continued their winning ways defeating Hauppauge, 17-4, at home in a Div II matchup April 2. 

The victory extends Comsewogue’s winning streak to four in a row with a record of 4-0 in league, 4-1 overall. Senior attack T.J. Heyder tallied five assists and two goals, and Sean Kennedy recorded three goals and three assists for the Warriors. Senior Chris Wolfe stretched the net three times and Jake Deacy split the pipes twice.

Hauppauge’s Riley Henselder had one goal along with an assist, and Andrew Sellitto, Dylan Sas and Andrew Maiorini also scored.

Comsewogue hits the road on April 6 against Kings Park while Hauppauge retakes the field hosting Harborfields April 4. Game times are scheduled for 10 a.m and 4:30 p.m. respectively. 

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Port Jeff freshman Kyle Scandale passes to Daniel Koban in a non-league victory against Longwood March 23. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Port Jefferson’s boys lacrosse team trailed the Longwood Lions through three quarters, but the Royals got down to business in the final 12 minutes of play, outscoring their opponent 6-1 to clinch an 11-8 come-from-behind victory in a nonleague matchup March 23.

Junior Aidan Kaminska sat atop the scoring chart for the Royals who split the pipes five times along with an assist. Junior Colton VanOverberghe dished up an assist and stretched the net four times while Jonathan Moshe, a senior, along with sophomore Gage Jampol netted one goal apiece.

The Royals remain 0-1 in league but the road win against the Lions puts them at 2-1 overall. The Royals were back in action March 27 when they hosted West Babylon and lost 15-5.

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By Bill Landon

The Panthers of Miller Place stayed with Sachem East’s girls lacrosse team goal for goal most of the way, but the Flaming Arrows had one more left with three minutes left in the game to edge ahead by one. 

The Panthers were unable to answer, falling 6-5 in a nonleague matchup on the road March 23. 

Juniors Madison Murphy and Lauren Mancini led Miller Place in scoring with two goals each. Senior Ava Burns scored a goal with one assist while sophomore goaltender Chloe Anthony had five saves. 

The loss drops Miller Place to 0-1 in league and 1-2 overall. The Panthers were back in action March 27 when they hosted Comsewogue and lost 18-1.

This post was edited to include correct photos.

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Miller Place senior co-captain Sebastian Cannon drives against a WHB defender March 16. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Miller Place’s boys lacrosse team tried to shake off the early season cobwebs but had their hands full when the Westhampton Hurricanes blew into town for a non-league matchup where the Panthers fell 17-4 at home March 16. 

The goals for Miller Place were few and far between but sophomore Nicholas Belvedere scored one goal along with two assists, freshman Aiden Schook stretched the net twice and senior co-captain Sebastian Cannon split the pipes to round out the scoring. Freshman goalkeeper Kenny Leen recorded 10 saves.

The Panthers were back in action March 19 where they faced Babylon on the road in another non-league contest before league play gets under way today, March 21, at home against Hauppauge. First faceoff for both games are 5 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively.

Clockwise from top left, Cannon drives against a WHB defender; Leen with one of his 10 saves; sophomore Matthew LoNigro gets checked; freshman midfielder Anthony Bartalotto gets checked by two WHB players; Cannon drives against a WHB defender; Belvedere passes over the middle; Bartalotto turns the corner.

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Patriots’ high-powered offense dominates West Genesee 15-2 for second straight state title

Ward Melville's boys lacrosse team toppled state rival West Genesee for the Patriots' second straight state title. Photo from Twitter

Ryan Pallonetti wasn’t missing the game this time, and he made his presence known.

The Ward Melville senior scored three goals in the Patriots’ 15-2 win over West Genesee for the school’s second straight state title June 9. He’d missed all last year and half his sophomore season with a knee injury.

“We’re unselfish, move the ball well and take smart shots, always looking for the extra pass to get the easy goal.”

— Matt Grillo

“Ryan’s an incredible player,” said classmate Zach Hobbes of Pallonetti, who scored the first two goals and assisted on the third to get the game going. “It was great seeing him play the way he did today since he didn’t get the opportunity to last year.”

A familiar yet different narrative developed in this season’s finale compared to last. Ward Melville had eked out a 10-9 win against Pittsford after scoring six straight, the final coming in overtime. Matt Grillo scored the final two goals of the game, which was on his birthday, and rose to the occasion once more this time around. The senior (four goals, one assist) went on another scoring run to propel his team this year, finding the net three straight times in the third to help extend Ward Melville’s halftime advantage from eight goals to 12.

The lopsided result in the final was out of the ordinary, although it followed the Patriots’ landslide victory in the state semifinal, an 18-2 win over Niskayuna.

West Genesee has won 15 state championships, the most in New York history, under head coach Mike Messere, the nation’s all-time leader in career victories with 846. Ward Melville, ranked No. 1 in the country by Inside Lacrosse, split six previous championship-game matchups with West Genesee, the last in 2013, a 16-4 victory under former legendary head coach Mike Hoppey. Current head coach Jay Negus won his first last year.

“Ryan’s an incredible player. It was great seeing him play the way he did.”

— Zach Hobbes

“I have to credit my defense for getting me ready for every game,” said Grillo, who ranks sixth in the county in scoring with 70 goals and 16 assists. “Even in practice, it’s the best defense I’ll have to face all year. They played amazing as usual to hold a very good team to just two goals. On the offensive end, jumping out to an early lead is something we’ve tried to consistently do all season. To see us execute like we did on our biggest stage is something really special.”

The Patriots defense made multiple stops to give Ward Melville plenty of opportunities in transition. Hobbes and junior Malachy McAvoy each racked up two goals and four others added goals.

“It took a lot of stress out of the game knowing that we maintained a lead all four quarters,” Hobbes said. “When you build a lead that early in a game it gives the team a lot of confidence, and we have a lot of experience in playoff games. It’s an unreal feeling winning back-to-back championships — it’s something every team works for every season, and we were able to do it twice — especially winning it with my best friends. We’ve worked for this moment.”

“I have to credit my defense for getting me ready for every game. Even in practice, it’s the best defense I’ll have to face all year.”

— Matt Grillo

Grillo credited Ward Melville’s unique bond as helping the boys claim the program’s 10th state title and third in the last six years. The Patriots became just the second school to reach the double-digit title mark. It was Ward Melville’s 15th trip to the finals.

“It really helps with our dynamic,” he said of his bond with his teammates. “We had everyone contributing. We’re unselfish, move the ball well and take smart shots, always looking for the extra pass to get the easy goal.”

Grillo said his younger self dreamed of playing for Ward Melville, recalling standing on the sidelines beaming, hoping he’d one day take the place of the athletes he was watching with eyes wide open.

“I always give it my all in every practice, every game,” Grillo said. “So many great players have come through this program and built it up to what it is now, and it’s an amazing feeling knowing we were able to continue the Ward Melville lacrosse legacy. This has been a ride I’ll never forget.”

The senior added after each success and milestone that he and Hobbes would look at each other and say: “our younger selves would be proud of what we accomplished.”

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Matt Grillo scores twice, Dylan Pallonetti and Liam Davenport add a goal and an assist each in Patriots' 19th Long Island championship title win

By Bill Landon

The competition to become Class A’s Long Island champion came down to a battle for the ground balls, and as Ward Melville’s defense scooped them up, with it, came the title.

Long-stick midfielder Ethan Larson grabbed five ground balls and long-stick midfielder Pat O’Neill had three in the Patriots’ 8-5 win against Massapequa at Hofstra University June 2. Defenseman Alex Mazzone took hold of two grounders and caused two turnovers. All were crucial given Massapequa (17-2) won 11 of 17 faceoffs.

Being up by just a single goal to start the second half isn’t something the Patriots are used to, minus their one-goal loss to Half Hollows Hills East April 18. Senior Matt Grillo (two goals) said he thought the team was on edge given the unfamiliarity with being in a tight game after halftime, but said one of O’Neill’s possessions gave Ward Melville the spark it needed to ignite a string of scores.

O’Neill grabbed a ground-ball win on the opening faceoff 11 seconds into the second half, darted in on Massapequa goalie Mike Venezia, who shined with 14 saves, made a stick fake and scored. The junior’s goal gave Ward Melville a 3-1 lead.

“That really gave us the energy [we needed], fired us up,” Grillo said.  “We were tired, and the sun was getting the best of us, but we hydrated, we stretched, we just got our legs loose and we came out hot. We just didn’t turn back from there.”

Liam Davenport beat Venezia with a bouncer off a feed from Dylan Pallonetti to give Ward Melville a 4-1 lead with 10:33 left in the third, but Venezia robbed Pallonetti and Grillo from close range that quarter and made a stunner of a save on Grillo early in the fourth to keep the game close.

Ward Melville head coach Jay Negus tipped his hat to Venezia, who held the Patriots to 8-for-40 on shooting.

Ryan Pallonetti, Dylan’s older brother, scored to bring the game to 7-4 with 7:14 left, but again Massapequa had an answer. Venezia initially made the stop on Dylan Pallonetti’s shot, but when he spun his stick to try to trigger a fast break, he inadvertently flicked the ball back into the box.

“To be quite honest we were real sloppy in the first half on both ends,” Negus said. “We were missing some ground balls on the defensive end, but in the second half we made the adjustment. They really attacked the ground balls — I thought our poles did an excellent job then keeping their heads up and working to move in transition. Even the short-stick guys did a great job at picking up the ground balls — they were running all over and on a hot day like this, you can wear another team out. We like to play fast.”

Ward Melville will face Section II’s Niskayuna at Adelphi University in the state semifinals Wednesday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m.

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By Bill Landon

Ward Melville’s boys lacrosse team swallowed a bitter pill April 18 when the Patriots suffered their only loss of the season, 7-6, loss to Half Hollow Hills East. The No. 1-seeded Patriots had their chance to avenge that loss going up against the No. 3 Thunderbirds in the Class A county championship Wednesday, and did so in convincing fashion.

Behind junior Dylan Pallonetti’s five goals, Ward Melville won 14-5 at Islip High School May 30.

“We remembered that feeling when we lost to them — we weren’t going to let that happen again,” Pallonetti said. “We came out with some fire, put some goals in and never really let them take the game away. For now, we’ll practice hard, study Massapequa and keep the train rolling.”

Ward Melville (18-1) will face Massapequa (17-1) in the Long Island championship at 12:30 p.m. June 2 at Hofstra University.

Pallonetti said finding out that Ward Melville moved up to No. 1 in the nation, according to Inside Lacrosse, gave the Patriots a little extra juice.

It gave him some extra motivation, too, scoring a hat trick in the first half to turn a 5-4 first quarter advantage into a 7-4 halftime lead.

Half Hollow Hills East’s Mike Gomez found the back of the cage early in the third to close within two, but it was as close as the Thunderbirds would come the rest of the way. Ward Melville goalkeeper Collin Krieg (5 saves) said even with a nine-goal lead you can never get too comfortable in the game of lacrosse.

“Obviously we came out with more intensity today thinking we [shouldn’t have lost to them] in the first place,” Krieg said. “Yeah, we were ahead by nine, but to be honest you never know — that team can easily put up a bunch of points. I never like to count my chickens before they hatch.”

Having a potent Patriots offense on the other side of the field though didn’t hurt.

Eight different Ward Melville players scored, five finding the cage over a 4:30 span in the first quarter alone for a 5-1 lead before Half Hollow Hills East responded with three straight. Senior Matt Grillo added three on the day and seniors Zach Hobbes and Michael Giaquinto tacked on a goal and an assist apiece.

Ward Melville, which has now outscored opponents 204-75 this season, bring home the school’s third straight county crown and 26th overall in 40 appearances in the title game.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game — they played us hard the first time — but tonight we wanted revenge,” Grillo said. “It’s always nice to get another win, add some more hardware to the Ward Melville legacy.”

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