By Bill Landon
Will Snelders won the battle for the Warriors.
The Comsewogue boys’ lacrosse junior attackman scored seven goals as his team blew out Westhampton Beach, 12-4, on its home field in the opening round of the Division II Class B playoffs Saturday afternoon.
Snelders scored early and often, and broke the ice five minutes in for the 1-0 lead. Then, he received a feed from senior midfielder and attack Brandon O’Donoghue, and drilled his shot home.
Westhampton scored the next two goals to make it a new game heading into the second stanza. Eventually, the Warriors breathed new life into the game. This time, senior midfielder John Koebel’s shot found the cage with 5:20 left in the first half, to put his team back in front.
And Comsewogue never looked back.
“It was hard work — we definitely came out hard,” said Koebel, who’s headed to Endicott College in Massachusetts to play lacrosse next year. “We had a lot of momentum coming in. A lot of people underestimated us this year. Will Snelders scoring seven goals … I have to thank him.”
Junior midfielder and attack Ryan Dorney’s stick spoke next as he took a feed from O’Donoghue and capitalized on his opportunity. From behind the net, senior midfielder Trevor Kennedy flicked the ball to an open Snelders in front of the cage, who startled the goalie by rocketing in his hat trick goal for a 5-2 advantage heading into the halftime break.
“It was not easy — they’re a tough team, they’ve got a lot of speed,” said Kennedy, who is headed to Assumption College in Massachusetts next season. “They were good, but we fought back.”
Westhampton scored three minutes into the third quarter to stop the bleeding briefly, but Snelders answered to maintain the three-goal lead , and scored the final goal of the stanza during a broken play with 52 seconds left.
Comsewogue faceoff specialist Kevin Tiedemann, a junior, owned the faceoff ‘X,’ going 16-for-21 to give the Hurricanes little opportunity to rally back.
In desperation, the Westhampton goalie yelled to his defensemen: “I know you’re all tired, but you can’t back off.”
But Snelders was first to find the back of the net with 9:15 left in the final quarter, when he fired at a small opening and split the pipes for his sixth goal of the game.
“We weren’t very confident coming into today’s game, but once we reached the half, we knew we were going to keep rolling,” Snelders said.
The junior attack scored his seventh goal with 6:15 left on the clock, and a minute later, Dorney dished the ball to sophomore attack Richie Lacalandra for a seven-goal advantage.
“It was a lot of hard work this week — we put a lot of effort in, we studied a lot of film, we prepared and we came out on top,” Dorney said. “We knew we had it with Will’s fourth or fifth goal. He sealed the deal. The kid was hot today, and we were able to finish.”
Lacalandra scored the team’s six straight goal, and Comsewogue head coach Pete Mitchell barked from the sideline: “Richie, we’re red unless they push,” as the Warriors played keepaway to tick time off the clock. With 1:38 left to play, Mitchell saw an opportunity to extend the lead, and yelled, “Richie you’re green,” signaling for the sophomore to take a shot. With that, Lacalandra fired, and scored the final point for his team, which was also his hat trick goal.
“Our faceoff was the game changer — Kevin Tiedemann came into the game focused,” Lacalandra said. “And our wing guys Matt [Fernandez] and Trevor [Kennedy] got to a lot of ground balls for us today.”
With time running out, the Hurricanes managed one final score before their season came to an end.
With the win, Comsewogue will face No. 2 Shoreham-Wading River in the semifinals on the road on Thursday, with the opening faceoff scheduled for 4 p.m.
“They’re a very talented team, so it all comes down to the matchup,” Mitchell said of his team’s next opponent. “The last time we faced them, we lost 4-3 in double overtime, so the boys are going to be ready. It’s going to be a great game for Suffolk County lacrosse.”