Smithtown West starts off strong with 12-6 win

Smithtown West starts off strong with 12-6 win

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Smithtown West senior Natalia Lynch makes her way down the field. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West junior Chelsea Witteck tallied a game-high five goals and one assist. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West junior Chelsea Witteck tallied a game-high five goals. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With help from Chelsea Witteck’s five goals and one assist, the Smithtown West girls’ lacrosse team pulled away with a 12-6 victory over Sachem North Monday, putting the group’s first tally in the record book.

The Bulls came bursting out of the gates with senior midfielder Mackenzie Heldberg winning the first draw and getting the ball back to take it to goal for the 1-0 lead just 11 seconds in.

Off the ensuing draw, Heldberg won it again and brought the ball into Sachem North’s zone. A crossing pass was made and a shot missed, but the ball still managed to bounce in just seconds after the first goal.

At the 2:23 mark, Witteck scored off a quick pass in front of the net for a 3-0 advantage.

“In the first half we came out strong — winning the draws, finishing our shots,” the junior attack said. “I’ve been working on my shots and we’ve been working a lot on our plays and getting good looks and everyone can feed and play all over the field.”

Smithtown West sophomore Grace Langella wins up to pass the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West sophomore Grace Langella wins up to pass the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The draw wins kept coming, and with them, came more goals. By the 14-minute mark, Smithtown West had an 8-0 lead before the Flaming Arrows put their first point on the board.

“Our offense is our strength,” assistant coach Peter Klement said. “We move the ball around real well when we handle it well.”

By halftime, the Bulls were up 11-2, but came out with less urgency in the second.

Again, 11 seconds in, Smithtown West scored. This time, it was Witteck off a feed from senior midfielder Natalie Lynch.

“I think we were pretty well-prepared for this,” Lynch said. “We worked really hard together in the first half and I think everyone really wanted this. I think we lost our fire in the second half a little bit, but we don’t have a team where just one person can score or two people can score, and that’s definitely a plus having so many different options.”

Smithtown West freshman Taylor Mennella gains control of the loose ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West freshman Taylor Mennella gains control of the loose ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

After the first goal of the final 25 minutes, the Bulls wouldn’t score again. Sachem North controlled the tempo and dominated the time of possession, rattling off the final five unanswered goals, but the Flaming Arrows’ comeback effort was not enough, as Smithtown West’s early lead kept the team ahead.

Heldberg and sophomore attack Grace Langella finished with two goals and an assist apiece, and Lynch and junior midfielder Kayla Kosubinsky each added one goal and two assists.

“I think we got a little too comfortable and once we realized that we needed to play harder defense, get ground balls and run faster, I think we were able to pick it up,” Heldberg said. “On defense, we have a lot of returners so that keeps us strong. On offense, we blend very well and have so many options and we’re able to move the ball well and quick in transition. I’m excited — I think we’re going to have a great season.”