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John Koebel

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John Koebel cuts to the crease. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Comsewogue boys’ lacrosse team led by three goals to open the third quarter, but undefeated Bayport-Blue Point came back to win, 9-8, on Friday night with a shot with 11 seconds left on the clock.

Trevor Kennedy scores to the top right corner past a reaching goalkeeper. Photo by Bill Landon
Trevor Kennedy scores to the top right corner past a reaching goalkeeper. Photo by Bill Landon

“Tonight’s atmosphere was awesome and that’s what lacrosse is supposed to be and I thought we played well,” Comsewogue head coach Pete Mitchell said, adding that he was proud of his team for hanging with an opponent of Bayport’s caliber. “I thought we played well enough to win, but the kids played hard and I’m proud of their efforts tonight.”

The Warriors wasted no time getting the game going when midfielder Matthew Spahr, a University at Albany-bound senior, found the back of the cage just eight seconds into the contest, for the early lead.

Bayport-Blue Point answered back three minutes later to tie the game, but Comsewogue senior midfielder Trevor Kennedy’s shot found the cage to help his team edge ahead 2-1 at the 8:46 mark. The Phantoms scored next with four minutes left in the opening quarter, as Comsewogue drew a penalty and went a man down. Tied 2-2, Bayport-Blue Point looked to capitalize with the extra player, but Comsewogue’s defense stood its ground.

With seven seconds left, Kennedy, who will play for Assumption College next spring, struck again to put his team out front 3-2 to open the second stanza. Bayport barked back by firing two quick goals to edge ahead 4-3 and take the lead for the first time, but the Warriors were quick to respond when midfielder John Koebel, an Endicott College-bound senior, split the pipes to make it a new game, 4-4.

Richie Lacalandra snaps a shot between two Bayport-Blue Point defenders for the score. Photo by Bill Landon
Richie Lacalandra snaps a shot between two Bayport-Blue Point defenders for the score. Photo by Bill Landon

“I thought we started out hot, but I knew they were going to come back — they’re a second half team,” Kennedy said. “I knew that they would come out to play in the second half.”

Comsewogue rattled off the next three goals, with sophomore attack Richie Lacalandra, junior midfielder and attack Ryan Dorney and junior attack Will Snelders aiding the team in going up 7-4 to open the third quarter, but the Phantoms found a way to come back.

Comsewogue played keep away until the team turned the ball over, and  Bayport made them pay for it. Despite being a man down themselves now, the team made four quick passes for a score that cut the deficit. With 34 seconds left in the third, Comsewogue’s opponent struck again as the Warriors struggled to stop the onslaught.

With 10 minutes left, Comsewogue received a penalty, and committed another soon after, to go down two men. And the Phantoms cashed in. Bayport, at 12-0 on the season, proved why it’s gone undefeated for a reason, and rattled off two more goals for an 8-7 lead with seven minutes left in regulation.

Kevin Tiedemann dives for a loose ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Kevin Tiedemann dives for a loose ball. Photo by Bill Landon

Kennedy’s stick spoke once more when his shot found the net for his hat trick goal to deadlock the game with little time remaining. Overtime seemed likely, but on the ensuing faceoff, the Phantoms made three quick flips and fired at the Comsewogue cage. The shot found its mark and Bayport edged ahead to retake the lead, 9-8, with 11 showing on the scoreboard clock. Comsewogue won the final faceoff and with precious seconds left, failed to find a clear lane to the cage.

“We did some things that are uncharacteristic of what we do,” Mitchell said. “We lacked discipline by not taking a last shot in the final seconds.”

The loss drops the Warriors to 9-3 in Division II with two games remaining before the playoffs.

“They played a good game,” Mitchell said of Bayport. “And I hope to see them again.”

The Comsewogue boys’ soccer team got the ball rolling.

In League V action Friday, the Warriors invaded Rocky Point territory and blanked the Eagles, 5-0, to earn their first win of the season.

“Today was a big improvement,” Comsewogue head coach Don O’Brien said. “We’ve been struggling with some injuries and today we finally put a team on the field. They executed the offensive system of play and we created a lot of chances.”

Comsewogue sophomore forward Luis Hernandez scored first less than four minutes into the game from outside the right goal post, giving his team the early lead.

Almost 10 minutes of back-and-forth action later, Comsewogue made another good attempt, but Rocky Point junior goalkeeper Michael Antici made one of his eight saves on the day.

Despite Antici’s efforts, the Warriors found the back of the net again before the halftime break.

With 3:30 left, senior midfielder Nick Towler headed the ball off a corner kick into the right side of the goal to give his team a 2-0 advantage.

“I was going toward the goalie and just saw the ball coming and hit it in,” Towler said, laughing. “I wasn’t trying to do anything special.”

The Warriors were gunning to get another one at the start of the second half, but didn’t capitalize until senior midfielder John Koebel scored off a foul kick that had been sent into the box and rebounded off an opponent.

On the other end of the field, Warriors senior goalie Steven Towler made a couple of strong saves during the second half to preserve the shutout, but overall did not see much action.

Comsewogue senior midfielders Jake Muller and Trevor Kennedy tacked on the final two goals of the game, the latter lighting up the scoreboard when Antici tried to catch a corner kick but instead sent the ball bouncing off his hands and into the net.

The victorious Warriors were optimistic about the future, despite losing some of their top playmakers to graduation last year.

“I think we need a little more experience,” Nick Towler said. He is one of this year’s starters who was a sub last season, and he thinks he and his counterparts are “really holding the team together.”

Rocky Point head coach Joe Camarda was disappointed with his team’s effort.

“They played very flat,” he said. “It just wasn’t our game today. They didn’t really step up the way we’ve been playing, so it was one of our weaker games.”

Through the midfield and attack, Camarda said his athletes weren’t patient enough to get opportunities and finish them.

Rocky Point senior defender Jimmy Gohn agreed.

“We just had an off game,” he said. “We had some OK plays every now and again when we blasted the ball and made some connections up top, but unfortunately we didn’t get too many of those and didn’t do well clearing the ball in the back.”

But Camarda thinks his team has what it takes to be a contender in League V.

“This is, to me, one of my best teams,” he said. “Talent-wise and attitude-wise, they’ve really come together. I think we’re going to have a good season and surprise a lot of people, but if we play like today, I don’t think we will.”

O’Brien said that after a performance like the Warriors had, he’s looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season holds for his squad.

“The game plan was executed to perfection — we just have to keep building and get better,” he said. “I knew it was going to take some time for them to work together offensively to create chances, and that’s exactly what they did today. They’re getting better every game, just like we thought.”