Comsewogue boys’ lacrosse players are returning a year wiser and are looking to avenge a bitter loss from the end of last season.
Despite starting a lot of underclassmen last year, the team made it to the Suffolk County Class B semifinals, where the Warriors fell to Miller Place, 6-5.
“We wanted to win the county championship, so I think it gives the returning players a little bit more of an edge this year to achieve that goal,” junior defender Matt Spahr said. “Every practice everyone comes out with a lot of intensity and energy. It makes everyone really compete for a spot. No one is ever complacent and everyone is always on their toes.”
The Warriors have benefited from a clean turf field this preseason. Persevering through the tough winter, the boys have shoveled snow off the field three times and haven’t missed an outdoor practice, which will get them off to a good start.
“It’s a lot better for us to be out there on the turf because some of the other teams don’t have the opportunity to play out there, so we’re getting a lot of touches and open field looks,” junior goalkeeper Jake MacGregor said. “It’s better than being in the gym and having all of those tight spaces where we can’t run and stretch our legs out a lot.”
According to Comsewogue head coach Pete Mitchell, the improvements the team made last year should carry over into this season and the Warriors are returning some strong players on defense, which is the heart of the team.
“Defense at Comsewogue is always a focal point,” MacGregor said. “We rely mainly on our defense. I feel like we could push lots of transitions and score lots of goals off our defensive turnovers.”
Mitchell will be leaning on three-year starters MacGregor, an All-County player; Spahr, who recently signed to play with the University at Albany; senior faceoff specialist Zach Deutsch; and junior defenseman Stephen Reed, who is also All-County.
All of those defensive returners will be crucial to pulling the team together to start the season, as the young offense continues to progress in outdoor practices.
“Our defense creates a lot of offensive opportunities for us, but we have to be able to score,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been working a lot with the offense, trying to hone their junior varsity skills into varsity skills. We’re still very young on that end, so there are going to be some growing pains at the beginning of the year.”
Another adjustment for the team will be new competition in Hauppauge and Kings Park, as a result of a league realignment. Comsewogue and the other Class B schools are now in League 3.
“I think the Class Bs are very, very good,” Mitchell said. “Our [league] is, I think, very diverse, and there are 10 teams that could be county champs this year. It’s very balanced, and it’s good for lacrosse — there should be a lot of exciting lacrosse games.”
MacGregor said although there will be a bunch of tough matchups, the guys are taking it one game at a time, with the first coming on Thursday, at Mount Sinai at 7 p.m.
“I’ve been playing with these guys since I was in third grade, so we know each other really well — we have good connections and chemistry,” he said. “I feel like it’ll transfer well into game-time situations. We have a lot of good players that can make some great plays, and we’re just focusing in on Mount Sinai right now.”