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Lax

By Bill Landon

It was the inaugural battle for the Cat Cup at Shoreham-Wading River High School Feb. 29, a fundraiser to kick off the traditional LAX Out Cancer campaign, a charity that helps local families fighting this insidious disease. 

The event pitted the faculty of Albert G. Prodell Middle School, Wading River School and Miller Avenue School along with the high school in a fun-filled Olympic-style competition. Included were a tug-of-war, beach ball relay, rope skipping relay and hockey shot competition among other events in the high school gym in front of a capacity crowd. There were food sales, raffle tickets, silent auctions and apparel sales in the hallways just outside the “stadium.” 

After the dust settled, it was the Miller Avenue faculty that stood above all others capturing the coveted Cat Cup.

At the last tally, the event raised $8,500 according to Lax Out Cancer committee member Melissa Brandt, adding that this year there are three recipients in the community that will benefit from this year’s effort.

The event bookends the LAX Out Cancer lacrosse event featuring local teams in a carnival-like atmosphere at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Saturday, May 4.

By Bill Landon

It was all Mt. Sinai in the Suffolk Class C final where the No. 1 seeded Mustangs led by eight goals at the half over No. 2 seed Shoreham-Wading River and never let up to capture the County title 16-5. 

Joey Spallina reached a milestone in the win, scoring a goal to eclipse the Long Island high school record of 501 points, a combination of goals and assists, in the victory May 31 at East Islip High School.

Sophomore attack Lucas Laforge topped the scoring chart for the Mustangs with six goals and one assist and Joey Spallina had five assists and three goals for eight points. Brayden Wilcken had 11 saves in net.

The win sends the Mustangs to the Long Island Championship round at Hofstra University Saturday June 4th. Game time is 5:30 p.m. 

Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Comsewogue, the No. 2 seed, had its hands full in the final minute of the Class B boy’s lacrosse semifinal against its third-seeded visitor, West Islip.

Warrior goalkeeper Adam Wachholder had two clutch saves against a surging Lion attack, holding on to the lead for a 6-5 victory on May 24.  

Midfielder Justin Bonacci had two goals and two assists; senior attack Michael Katz had an assist and two goals; and teammates Thomas Kennedy and Dylan Rocchio both scored. Wachholder, a sophomore, had 11 saves in net on the day. 

The win sends Comsewogue to the Suffolk championship final, where this battle-hardened unit will face off against Smithtown West on Wednesday, June 1 at East Islip High School. 

Gametime is set for 4:30 p.m. 

— Photos by Bill Landon

 

By Bill Landon

It was the battle of the unbeaten when the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats collided with Mount Sinai in the final game of the regular season.

Both teams faced off with perfect 15-0 records. Mount Sinai senior attack Joey Spallina did what he’s done all season, topping the scoring charts with six assists and three goals to lead his team to a 12-7 win over the Wildcats at home May 12.

The Mustangs scored two goals in the opening minutes of the game, took a 6-2 lead into the halftime break and kept their foot of the gas the entire way, never looking back as they now to sit atop the Division II leaderboard.

Mount Sinai attack Cole Marsala found the back of the cage four times. Teammates James Carretta and Jake Spallina, Joey’s younger brother, had two goals apiece. Goalie Brayden Wilcken had 11 saves in net.

Liam Kershis and Alec Gregorek both scored twice for the Wildcats and teammates Francisco Cortes, Steven Cain and Liam Gregorek, Alec’s younger brother, each scored. Keeper Jayden Galfano had 14 stops between the pipes. Both teams will be top seeds going into the postseason which begins May 17.

 

By Bill Landon

Saturday, May 7 was truly a day of remembrance for Mike Bowler, the legendary Rocky Point boy’s lacrosse coach, in the school’s second annual Mike Bowler Tribute Day. 

Bowler, who passed away in Dec. 2019, was someone who left his mark on the community throughout his 43 seasons at the helm. His impact on student athletes was felt well beyond the playing field. He established the boy’s lacrosse program in 1978, amassing more the 600 wins during his career. Bowler also led his team to a state championship in 2008.

In 2020, coach Bowler was named New York State Coach of the Year in boys lacrosse by the National Federation of High School Sports. The award is presented to those who have made the greatest impact on student athletes in their respective sport.

It was a cold, windy and wet day on Saturday, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of the game as the Eagles hosted Bellport in this Division II matchup. 

Sophomore attack Ryan Meyers had an assist and six goals to top the Eagles scoring chart in the 16-7 victory. Senior Tyler Moeller had a goal and five assists and teammate Kyle Moore had four goals and two assists for the Eagles. Eighth grader DJ Xavier had six saves in net and Aidan Donohue, a sophomore, also stopped two.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Comsewogue Warriors had their hands full when Bayport Blue-Point came to visit. 

Trailing by two goals in the early going, senior Mackenzie Beck brought them back with a hat trick. Teammate Shannon Harrington had an assist and two goals, and Madison Schubert’s goal put the Warriors over the top, 6-5, in a division II matchup on April 25. Kamryn McCrary also had an assist in the victory, and senior Gabby Tommaso had seven saves in net. 

The win lifts the Warriors to 7-3 in league play while the loss drops the Phantoms to 9-2. Comsewogue is back in action on April 28 with a road game against Elwood John Glenn. Gametime is scheduled for 4:00p.m.

Photos by Bill Landon 

The Port Jefferson Royals, fresh off their hard-fought victory over Mattituck three days earlier, hit a roadblock in their matchup against Islip High School on April 14. 

The Buccaneers had led by seven goals at halftime. Unable to close the gap, the Royals fell 14-5. Port Jeff senior Stephen Bayer had a hat trick, leading the Royals in scoring. Seniors Kyle Scandale and Michael Scannell both scored one goal as well.

The loss drops the Royals to 4-3 in league and 6-3 overall.

 

Photos by Bill Landon 

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The East Bulls will battle crosstown foe Smithtown West in semis May 25

By Bill Landon

Being down early doesn’t faze the Smithtown East boys’ lacrosse team. And despite the 4-0 lead visiting Connetquot had in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs May 19, the Bulls bounced back for a 12-10 victory to advance to the semifinals.

Connor Desimone rockets a shot into Connetquot’s goal. Photo by Bill Landon

“That’s kind of been our M.O. this year — we’ve allowed our opponent to jump up on us early in games and these guys have done a good job all year staying together, [being] positive and chipping away at it,” Smithtown East head coach Jason Lambert said. “When we got down 4-0, I said, ‘hey guys, we’ve been here before, we’ve done this before — we’ll come back.’ And with our seniors and the leadership we have here, there’s never panic with this group.”

Smithtown East didn’t find the cage until two minutes into the second quarter, when senior midfielder and co-captain Luke Eschbach slammed home a solo shot. Senior Michael Latini attacked next, with 5:05 left in the first half, to cut the lead in half. Senior faceoff specialist Brian Herber won the ensuing battle at the ‘X,’ and dished the ball to classmate and co-captain Connor Desimone who buried his shot 20 seconds later to pull within one, 4-3.

At the 3:15 mark of the second quarter the Thunderbirds struck again, but so did a lightning bolt, which suspended the game for 30 minutes. Connetquot picked up where it left off when play resumed, to double Smithtown East’s score, 6-3.

“That half hour stop was almost a blessing in disguise,” Lambert said. “It allowed us to gather ourselves, talk to the kids and tell them exactly what we were seeing, and hear what they were seeing.”

Desimone passed to Latini, who on the cut shot the ball behind his back, catching the keeper off guard to make it a 6-4 game.

Brian Herber wins a faceoff and fires at the net. Photo by Bill Landon

“I’ve done it in practice and I’ve never tried it in a game,” Latini said. “But I always wanted to try it, and today, it went in.”

After another Herber faceoff win, Latini scooped up the flick, and senior Dominic Pizzulli drilled his shot into the netting as the Bulls trailed 6-5. The four-goal deficit early in the game had little effect on Herber or the rest of his team.

“I was a little nervous,” Herber said. “But I know this team and knew we would definitely come back — we always do.”

With 26 seconds left before the break, Desimone leaped from behind the cage dove in front to bury his shot and make it a new game.

Smithtown East goalkeeper Thomas Harkin, who had eight saves on the day, commended his opponent for the tough battle.

“They brought a lot of ball movement, they moved well inside — they are very good at doing that, but we prepared for that,” Harkin said. “We knew we had to step it up, wake up a bit. We knew the next ground ball, the next pass, the next shot, the next anything, it’s ours.”

Two minutes into the second half, Desimone gave his teammate’s words meaning when he scored his hat trick goal to give his team its first lead, 7-6.

Thomas Harkin makes one of eight saves. Photo by Bill Landon

“Our guys have a ton of heart, starting with our goalie,” Desimone said.

Smithtown East’s lead wouldn’t last long though, as the Thunderbirds scored three unanswered goals for a 9-7 advantage with 2:30 left in the third.

Senior Bobby Burns put an end to the Connetquot rally, and Herber’s faceoff win led to the game-tying goal by senior Mike Marino. Marino tied the game again minutes later, 10-10, and the Bulls’ defense stood strong in the final eight minutes, cutting off all lanes to the cage.

“[Anthony] Voelker played great on [Connetquot junior attack George Wichelns],” Herber said. “He’s a big part of Connetquot’s team and [Brian] Cosgrove was playing great off ball, which really slowed them down.”

Desimone passed to Eschbach for the game-winning goal, and Desimone put the game away soon after.

“It all starts in our cage with our goalie Thomas Harkin — he’s been great all year, and our faceoff kid Brian Herber battling giving us chances, giving us the ball, giving us the opportunity to play offense,” Lambert said. “It was a total team effort, but those two guys, they’re the backbone of our team.”

Smithtown East will face crosstown rival Smithtown West in the semifinals May 25 at 6:30 p.m.

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Smithtown East senior lacrosse player Gerard Arceri has been selected to the 2016 U.S. Men’s National U19 training roster. Photo from the Smithtown Central School District

Smithtown East senior Gerard Arceri has been selected to the 2016 U.S. Men’s National U19 30-man training roster and will now compete for one of 23 spots on the final team, which will participate in the World Games next summer.

Smithtown East senior lacrosse player Gerard Arceri has been selected to the 2016 U.S. Men’s National U19 training roster. Photo from the Smithtown Central School District
Smithtown East senior lacrosse player Gerard Arceri has been selected to the 2016 U.S. Men’s National U19 training roster. Photo from the Smithtown Central School District

“Gerard has separated himself from a very strong pool of tryout participants,” said John Jez, 2016 U.S. Men’s National U19 team manager. “He possesses the qualities and skills to potentially make the final 23-man roster and assist in the efforts to bring home a Federation of International Lacrosse world championship in July.”

Arceri will participate in training and team development from Nov. 13-15 at The Ohio State University, followed by a second session on Jan. 8-10 in Bradenton, Fla.

Smithtown Central School District had the most invitees — five — of any public school in America.

Fellow East alum John Daniggelis, who now plays lacrosse at Yale University, made it to the last round of cuts with Arceri. Kyle Keenan, a 2011 Smithtown West graduate, made the U.S. U19 team the last time the games took place four years ago.

Katie Reilly races between two opponents. File photo by Kevin Freiheit

Three Huntington athletes participated in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Weekend at Towson University in Baltimore, Md. Newly minted alum Samantha Lynch played in the senior All-America game and incoming seniors Katie Reilly and Taylor Moreno were on the Long Island All-America underclassmen tournament team.

Lynch came off the bench to help the North team rally from an 8-1 deficit and nearly overtake the South, falling just short, 14-12. The South led at halftime, 10-3, but the North owned the second half, outscoring its opponent, 9-4.

Lynch took a shot and scooped up two ground balls in the game, which drew a crowd of 3,711 to Towson’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. Each of the teams was comprised of a 22-player roster, representing the finest graduating seniors in the country.

Reilly and Moreno played on a Long Island team that finished second in the tournament, winning five of six games. Long Island topped New England (17-8), South (20-6), Midwest (20-2), Philadelphia (11-6) and Washington, D.C. (9-7) before dropping a 12-6 contest to Baltimore in the championship game.

Lynch is headed to the University of Notre Dame on a lacrosse scholarship. Reilly has verbally committed to Princeton University. Moreno has given a verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.