Smithtown West’s boys lacrosse team found itself in an unfamiliar position this season.
Down four goals in the third quarter, the Bulls bounced back to tie the game 7-7 and eventually take a 10-9 lead, but a last-minute goal forced overtime, where the No. 2-seeded boys lacrosse team fell to No. 3 Half Hollow Hills East in the Class A semifinals May 24.
With Smithtown West down four goals, seniors Kyle Zaradski and Andrew Arce each scored twice, and junior Matt Caddigan made the go-ahead goal to give the Bulls their first lead of the game with six seconds left in the third quarter.
Half Hollow Hills East’s Mike Gomez found the net four minutes into the final quarter, but Arce stretched the net three minutes later to retake the lead, 9-8. The Colts countered again, but Arce continued to have an answer, scoring his fourth goal of the game for a 10-9 Bulls lead with 3:22 left to play.
With a minute left, Half Hollow Hills East forces overtime, and held the ball for one shot in the final seconds of a four-minute overtime period, which gave the Colts a sudden-death victory.
Smithtown West, which had outscored its opponents 202-82 this season, ended the year with a 14-2 record.
In the rainy and windy conditions, junior attacker Marc Cottage and the Smithtown West Bulls dismantled
Middle Country Mad Dogs on its home turf.
Scoring the first four goals for boys lacrosse team April 3, Cottage sparked the Bulls offense with a team-high eight points in a 15-3 victory at Newfield High School. He helps keep their season perfect so far at 4-0 and gave Middle Country its third loss of the year (1-3).
“It felt good,” Cottage said about his performance. “I thought our offense played great in the first quarter. It was a good team win.”
The Bulls got an early first quarter advantage leading 5-1 after a Danny Caddigan goal with 3:15 left. The game was tied at one point after Cottage’s first goal in the first minute. Then, Middle Country’s Tom Stock found the back of the net 43 seconds later to tie at up at 1-1.
Not much scoring happened in the second quarter, but it was Kyle Zawadzki who scored all two of Smithtown West’s goal in the 12 minutes. His first goal gave the Bulls a 6-1 lead, assisted by Christian Lowd with 10:46 left. Middle Country’s Jacob Hyman had an unassisted goal 1 minute, 13 seconds later to cut the deficit back to four, but Zawadzki’s shot in final minute hit its mark to make it 7-2 Bulls at the half.
There was a combined 28 points scored between 12 different players for Smithtown West. The Bulls had 13 assists on 15 goals.
“Everyone was contributing,” Zawadzki said. “It wasn’t just one person, even though Cottage did have seven goals. He was just capitalizing on all the opportunities he had.”
The Bulls put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring the Mad Dogs 5-1, giving the Bulls a nine-point advantage at 12-3. Matt Caddigan scored 48 seconds into the quarter and was assisted by John Hoffman, who had four assists on the afternoon. Andrew Arce also had a goal and an assist for the Bulls. Three of Cottage’s seven goals came in the third, with one of them finding the back of the net in the final four seconds of the quarter.
Hoffman, Cole Vencak and Troy Riley all had good, unanswered goals in the fourth for the Bulls to win 15-3.
Even though he’s a junior, Cottage sees himself as a captain of the team.
“I always have seen myself as a leader,” Cottage said. “I’m pretty sure all the starters feel that way — to teach the younger kids — just to be the best and play well.”
Stock found the net twice for the Mad Dogs and going up against Smithtown West, he wanted to do exactly just that.
“They’re a pretty good team,” Stock said oft Smithtown West. “They’re ranked pretty high. I was just trying to score some goals.”
Smithtown West played with three different goaltenders in Cameron Young, Kyle Walker and Mike Simone. Adam Hyman stayed in the entire game as the only goalkeeper for Middle Country. He had nine saves on the afternoon. He said the team will bounce back from the loss.
“We just need to work hard in practice and take this loss as a ‘W,’” Hyman said. “We just have to keep on working hard. This loss motivates the whole team to get better because no one likes to lose.”
Middle Country head coach Chris Siragusa said that Smithtown West is the best team they will face all year. Middle Country finished 5-9 in Division I last year, and lost 16 seniors from that squad, boasting a majority
of freshmen and sophomore this year.
“I think it’s just [about gaining] experience for our guys, because of the youth,” Siragusa said. “Stock and [Jacob] Hyman are both sophomores and they’re going to be part of the future. They were part of the team last year when their heads were spinning. I think it’s just about getting older and maturing.”
Smithtown West will look to stay undefeated when it hits the road to face Northport April 5 at 10 a.m. Middle
Country wants to retaliate after the loss with an at-home contest against Sachem North at 4 p.m.
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