Tags Posts tagged with "Playoffs"

Playoffs

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Shoreham-Wading River junior wide receiver Joe Miller dives for yardage in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River senior wide receiver Jon Constant drags tacklers up the field in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior wide receiver Jon Constant drags tacklers up the field in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River hasn’t lost a football game since November 2013.

It was a second-round playoff game against Babylon, a team that had always derailed the Wildcats. But since last season, Shoreham’s new winning culture permeates every player who wears the blue and gold.

In eight games, Shoreham-Wading River has outscored its opponents 291-47. Saturday was no different, as the Wildcats defeated visiting Center Moriches, 42-13, for another perfect season and to win the League IV title for the second consecutive year.

Senior running back Chris Rosati has been the Wildcats’ powerhouse running back all season. He scored three touchdowns on the afternoon, but it might have been more if he had played the entire game.

Rosati’s first score came on the second play from scrimmage where he cut to the outside, turned up the field and went 59 yards into the end zone in a game that wasn’t even a minute old. Senior kicker Daniel Mahoney followed by doing what he’d done all season, splitting the uprights to give the Wildcats the early 7-0 lead.

Shoreham-Wading River found the end zone again six minutes later, when junior quarterback Kevin Cutinella threw to classmate Daniel Cassidy, a tight end, for six more points.

Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leaps up for the interception of Center Moriches’ Hail Mary pass during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leaps up for the interception of Center Moriches’ Hail Mary pass during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

“We prepare for every game like it’s the last game — we play with heavy hearts and we play as hard as we can for [Tom Cutinella],” Cassidy said, referring to his teammate who died last year after taking a hit in a game against Elwood. “And we don’t take any team lightly.”

With Mahoney’s kick, the Wildcats took a 14-0 lead with 4:07 left to play in the first quarter.

The Red Devils were unable to run the ball, but moved the chains on two consecutive pass plays. It was not enough — after the team failed to make a fourth-down conversion, the Wildcats took over in their own end.

Rosati answered the call again. After seeing that the running lanes inside were closed, he bounced it outside and raced by two defenders with alarming speed. He covered 71 yards and again entered the end zone untouched.

“We’ve kept the momentum from last year,” Rosati said. “We work at it in practice and we work on both sides of the ball. On offense, we try to grind it out on every play and our linemen work so hard and they open the holes. On defense, we just fly around. We try to hold them to as few yards as possible.”

With Mahoney perfect on the day, the Wildcats broke out to a 21-0 advantage to open the second quarter.

Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati pushes for more yards as he’s tackled by a Center Moriches player during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati pushes for more yards as he’s tackled by a Center Moriches player during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

Unable to move the chains, the Red Devils were forced to punt. With a long kick well down field, the Wildcats committed a rare miscue — after choosing not to field the kick, the ball bounced into a Shoreham-Wading River player and Center Moriches pounced on the live ball to recover its own punt.

Center Moriches senior quarterback Joe Martins connected with classmate Kyrin Taylor, a wide receiver, who made it to the 1-yard line for a first and goal. Senior running back Chris Iannelli finished it, but the extra-point attempt struck the left goal post, halting the score at 21-6.

On the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, Rosati struck again. This time the running back swept to his left, outran defenders and sped down the left sideline for his third touchdown of the afternoon. Again, Mahoney was money, and Shoreham-Wading River broke out to a 28-6 lead.

“Our goal is to shut out every team we play,” Rosati said.

Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Justin Squires makes a move during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Justin Squires makes a move during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

The Red Devils had little success moving the ball again, and the Wildcats took over.

Senior wide receiver Jon Constant scored next on a reverse play, covering 40 yards for the score.

“The coach told us before the game to perform on each side of the ball,” he said. “Just shut out the [defense] and fly to the ball.”

With Mahoney’s foot, Shoreham-Wading River surged ahead, 35-6.

On their final possession of the first half, the Red Devils let the clock bleed off and called a timeout with two seconds left. Desperate for a score, Center Moriches dropped back and threw the Hail Mary deep down field, but Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leapt up and grabbed the ball to end the half.

With both teams scoreless in the third quarter, senior running back Justin Squires lit up the scoreboard with 4:07 left in the game. On a handoff up the middle, Squires broke outside, found an open running lane and went 70 yards for the touchdown. With Mahoney’s chip shot, the Wildcats were out in front 42-6.

Center Moriches managed one more score with just under a minute left to close out the game, and with the extra-point good, it brought the final score to 42-13.

“I told the kids to just go out and finish — finish every play and let’s finish this season 8-0,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Matt Millheiser said. “And then we can get ready for the second season.”

The top-seeded Wildcats will face No. 8 McGann Mercy on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Miller Place High School, as the home team, as construction of the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field at Shoreham-Wading River nears completion.

The seniors of the Shoreham-Wading River football team pose for a photo after their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
The seniors of the Shoreham-Wading River football team pose for a photo after their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

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Smithtown West senior forward John Kazubowski kicks the ball behind him toward the goal. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West senior forward Max Mohrmann pushes the ball forward toward East Islip’s net. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West senior forward Max Mohrmann pushes the ball forward toward East Islip’s net. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

John Kazubowski said he normally doesn’t score goals, but if he told you that Tuesday, he’d be lying.

The Smithtown West senior forward scored a hat trick to lead the No. 3-ranked Bulls, 4-2, over No. 14 East Islip in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.

Just over 10 minutes into the first half, Kazubowski went to knock the ball deeper into East Islip’s territory from the 30-yard line, only to hit the top of the crossbar and bounce into the right corner of the net for a good goal and the 1-0 lead.

In shock, the forward threw his hands up in disbelief as the crowd erupted.

“I don’t usually shoot during the season a lot, so I thought, ‘Hey, might as well,’” he said. “I had space so I took it and it came out nice, I guess.”

Minutes later, an East Islip player escaped defenders and on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, knocked it into the right corner to tie the game.

Smithtown West head coach Tom Lips said that since his team was going against a low seed, the other team knew they had to give it their all if they wanted to progress through the bracket.

Smithtown West senior midfielder Matt McDonnell keeps the ball in play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West senior midfielder Matt McDonnell keeps the ball in play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“They have everything to loose, but more importantly, we’ve had two starters out of our consistent lineup,” he said of junior defender Reed Massaro and sophomore midfielder Andrew McDonnell who were both injured in the last game of the regular season. “We’ve had no injuries until the last game of the season and this is our first game playing without them, so it obviously affected us greatly — especially in our back line where we’re very thin defensively.”

Despite Kazubowski scoring again in the eighth minute off an assist from senior midfielder and co-captain Matt McDonnell, East Islip tied it up, 2-2, off a foul kick four minutes later.

“I don’t think we rose emotionally to the occasion,” Lips said. “I think the other team outworked us. Do I think we’re a better team? Yes, but they outworked us. We have talent, it’s just we weren’t cohesive, pretty much played their style and it’s a compliment to them. We just weren’t good today.”

The Bulls opened up the second half with an early attempt, but couldn’t capitalize, which happened multiple times throughout the game.

“We came a little not awake in the first half and it was a tough one, but we rallied through the second half,” Kazubowski said. “We have to play better in the next round if we want to do something big this season. We have to wake up for the next round and produce something better.”

At the 21:53 mark, the senior forward proved he couldn’t be stopped, when he grabbed a tipped rebound in front of the box and faked out the keeper, shooting the ball into an empty right side for the 3-2 advantage.

Smithtown West's Nathan Biondi maintains possession as East Islip defenders swarm around him. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West’s Nathan Biondi maintains possession as East Islip defenders swarm around him. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We didn’t play our best, but we definitely came back after they scored a goal or two and pushed in the end,” Matt McDonnell said. “I think we were physically a little more fit toward the end of the game, which helped us.”

With 15:09 left on the clock, McDonnell took a penalty kick shot after a teammate was blocked on a breakaway, and he shot it past a diving East Islip goalkeeper for the 4-2 win.

“I think we were just able to persevere,” he said. “We had a few missed plays and couldn’t finish a few opportunities, but we worked hard and got back in it. If we come together as a team we can go far.”

Smithtown West hasn’t lost a game since Sept. 16, when the team fell to crosstown rival Smithtown East, 1-0, and are now 14-1-1. The Bulls move on to host No. 11 Half Hollow Hills West on Friday at 2 p.m.

No. 16 East lost its outbracket game at home against No. 17 Sachem North, 3-1, on Oct. 24.

Miller Place's Kristin Roberto and Comsewogue's Brooke Cespites fight for possession in a semifinal game. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Comsewogue field hockey has come far this season.

After making it to the playoffs with a 9-5 overall record, the No. 4-ranked Comsewogue Warriors made it past the first round of playoffs for the first time in school history, topping No. 5 Bayport-Blue Point, 1-0.

Unfortunately for the girls, their undefeated semifinal opponent, No. 1-seeded Miller Place, wanted to stay that way, and eliminated the team from the postseason with a 4-0 shutout Monday.

Comsewogue's Brooke Cespites and Miller Place's Arianna Esposito fight for possession in a semifinal match. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Comsewogue’s Brooke Cespites and Miller Place’s Arianna Esposito fight for possession in a semifinal match. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“It’s awesome to make history — I’m really proud of our team,” Comsewogue junior defender Megan Turner said through tears. “It’s awesome. I really love these girls.”

Both teams stormed the field, playing with intensity and pressing for possession.

“I think they came out really, really strong,” Comsewogue head coach Katy Dornicik said. “We didn’t have a lot of scoring opportunities, but I feel like in the middle of the field we were evenly matched, we just didn’t come out strong at the end.”

With 26:42 left to play in the first half, Miller Place senior forward Danielle Powers broke the ice when she scored off a corner with an assist from junior Arianna Esposito.

“A lot of their passes were connecting, they were looking up, which was great,” Miller Place head coach Alana LaMorte said. “That’s what we want to do, and their corners were phenomenal today.”

Comsewogue came through with some big blocks off more corners to stay in the game, but after the Panthers called for a timeout, the team kicked it into high gear, leading to another goal off a corner, this time by senior forward Alyssa Parrella, off an assist from sophomore Crystal Esposito.

Miller Place's Emily Contrelli catches a loose ball in a semifinal game against Comsewogue. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place’s Emily Contrelli catches a loose ball in a semifinal game against Comsewogue. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Coming out of the halftime break with a 2-0 lead, Miller Place cheered and shouted to build up the intensity as the team took the field. That strategy worked — the last two goals for Miller Place were again scored off of corners. With 13:59 left to play, Parrella found the right corner of the box from the far left side, off an assist from junior Julia Burns, and rounding out the scoring with less than five minutes left to play was Powers, off an assist from the younger Esposito.

“It feels great, but we’re looking forward to the next one,” LaMorte said of the win. “I think they both came out really intense. I do think that Comsewogue really put up a very big fight. It was not easy for us even though the score differential says otherwise. I think both teams came out tight, we just were able to put it in.”

Miller Place moves on to face Rocky Point in the Class B finals on Thursday at Dowling College at 4 p.m., while Dornicik is forced to say goodbye to some of the girls she’s coached since they were in seventh and eighth grade.

“It’s rewarding to see how far they’ve come now that I’m the varsity coach,” she said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Turner said her Warriors team had a lot of confidence coming into the game and believed it could overthrow its No. 1-seeded opponent. She said the team, the coaches and the fans have been nothing but supportive throughout this season’s journey.

“We were all there for each other, we really tried our hardest and this is definitely one of the best teams I’ve ever been on,” she said. “I think it’s a very big self-esteem booster considering how far we made it.”

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Port Jefferson junior forward Jillian Colucci controls the ball in a recent league game against Babylon. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Royals have struck again.

Port Jefferson’s girls’ soccer team is undefeated in its league for the third time in four years, following a recent victory against Stony Brook, its seventh straight shutout win. That 8-0 result last week was the cap on a nearly perfect season, as the girls have lost only two games this year — their first two matches, both of them nonleague games in early September.

Their 12-0 record in League VII is a familiar one. The Royals went undefeated in league play last year and lost just one league game the year before. They also went undefeated in League VII three years ago.

The Royals have scored 68 goals in overall play this season, compared to just nine goals scored on them.

Likewise, the huge win over Stony Brook was just one of several: the Royals have shut out their opponent nine times this year, scoring five or more goals in most of those wins. In the three league games in which Port Jefferson did not shut out the competition, the girls still won by at least three goals.

In total, the Royals have given up only four goals to league challengers this year.

While Port Jefferson has two scrimmages coming up before the playoffs, the team is the top seed heading into the postseason.

This year’s Class A playoff game looked a lot like last season’s semifinal matchup, as the Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team and West Islip remained tied nearing the end of regulation. However, this time the game went into overtime, but the result was still the same: West Islip came out on top.

“It’s a little bittersweet now that the seniors are gone and to end it like this,” Middle Country head coach Lindsay Dolson said. “We knew what we had to do, and unfortunately we came up a little bit short. They were the better team today.”

Last season, the Mad Dogs went 12-6 overall with a 10-4 mark in Division I, and lost to the Lions, 12-11, with one second left in regulation. This year, the girls improved those records to 18-1 and 14-0, but little did they know they’d be squaring off against the same Lions squad. This time around, the stakes were that much higher, as Middle Country was just one goal away from winning the school’s first Suffolk County title with minutes left in regulation.

“They’re a great group of kids,” Dolson said of her team. “I know they wouldn’t quit on us, and they fought until the bitter end.”

West Islip dominated the draw early and rattled off three unanswered goals in the first three minutes of play before Middle Country won its first draw, and converted that possession into points.

With 21:51 remaining, senior midfielder and attack Nikki Ortega dumped the ball in front off an assist from sophomore midfielder Rachel Masullo, but the Lions won the next possession and grabbed an offensive rebound for a goal and a 4-1 advantage.

West Islip tacked on another goal before sophomore midfielder Jamie Ortega scored to cut the deficit, 5-2.
Rachel Masullo’s twin sister Amanda, also a sophomore midfielder, scored next off a free position goal, and Nikki Ortega found the back of the net after receiving a backwards pass that caused some confusion in front of the net, to pull her team within one, 5-4.

With 7:12 remaining in the first half, Nikki Ortega passed the ball from the left goalside to sophomore attack Ava Barry, whose goal tied the game, 5-5.

Two minutes later, West Islip broke the tie, and the teams traded goals once more, with Nikki Ortega tallying her hat trick goal off a free position shot to tie the game. But, West Islip maintained the advantage, 7-6, heading into the halftime break.

Jamie Ortega scored two goals in the second half, while Rachel Masullo added another off an assist from Barry to tie the game 9-9 with 7:17 left to play, but neither team was able to score from there, forcing two three-minute overtime periods with no sudden-death victory.

Senior midfielder Christine Gironda won the first draw in overtime, which led to Jamie Ortega’s fourth goal of the game off another assist by Barry to give the Mad Dogs their first and only lead of the game.

With 20.8 seconds left in the first overtime session, West Islip scored to tie it up 10-10, and with 2:18 left in the second three-minute span, scored again, to take the lead, which it preserved despite several Middle Country attempts at an equalizer.

While the team looses six seniors to graduation — with Nikki Ortega, Gironda, and goalkeeper Ashley Miller being impactful players on the three sections of the field — the Mad Dogs will return a significant amount of its goal-scorers next season. They will look to continue the progression in the hopes of taking its postseason game another step further and claim the county title.

“It’s been great,” Dolson said of working with the departing seniors. “They work hard and they gave it everything that they’ve got. They’ll be tough to replace next year, but I’m positive that we’re going to come back the same strong Middle Country team.”

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Comsewogue’s Dan Colasanto slides into third base ahead of the ball in the Warriors’ extra-inning 6-5 loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a decisive game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Having beaten No. 3 Bayport-Blue Point at home the day before, the No. 2-seeded Comsewogue baseball team looked to put the three-game series away on the road Saturday to advance to the Class A finals, but with the game tied 5-5 in extra innings, Bayport-Blue Point drove home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 6-5 and force a decisive game three.

Comsewogue’s David Nodeland hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ playoff game loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s David Nodeland hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ playoff game loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon

“We put ourselves in a situation where now we have to play a third game, but we’ve been resilient all year and we’ve got to stay positive,” Comsewogue head coach Mike Bonura said. “We’ve just got to play good baseball and I have all the confidence in the world in them.”

Comsewogue pitcher David Nodeland found himself in trouble in the top of the second inning when he loaded the bases with one out. The Phantoms’ next batter drew a walk, and put his team on the scoreboard, 1-0.

Nodeland struck the next batter out before Bayport-Blue Point lobbed the ball into shallow center field, which drove home a run for the 2-0 lead. The Warriors’ opponent finished the inning with a two-run RBI hit to right field to break out to a 4-0 advantage before Nodeland was able to stop the damage.

Picking up the bat for Comsewogue in the top of the third was Rob Dattoma, who homered deep over the left center fence to put the Warriors on the board.

That was all the team could muster though, and Nodeland, with runners on the corners, pitched his way out of a jam to keep the score 4-1 heading into the top of the fifth.

Senior third baseman Dan Colasanto’s bat spoke next with a base clearing, two-run RBI stand-up double, to help the Warriors draw within one run, 4-3. On a base hit to right field, Colasanto scored from second to tie the game, 4-4, and Jordan Lisco continued the rally when he cracked a deep shot to left field for an RBI-double. With an overthrown pass to second, Lisco was able to make his way to third base, where he would be left stranded.

“We just needed to hit with runners on base and make our plays on the field with no errors,” Lisco said. “The reason we lost today was because of errors, but we’ll come back Tuesday and we’ll win if we can play like we have all season.”

Comsewogue’s Rob Dattoma runs the bases after his home run in the top of the third inning, in the Warriors’ 6-5 loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Rob Dattoma runs the bases after his home run in the top of the third inning, in the Warriors’ 6-5 loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon

Comsewogue made a pitching change and Justin Virga took over at the mound to begin the bottom of the fifth, where Bayport-Blue Point made the Warriors suffer for it. A stand-up double and two base hits loaded the bases, and Virga walked the next batter to retie the game, at 5-5, but was able to pitch his way out of the inning without giving his opponent the go-ahead run.

Unable to manufacture any runs in the top of the next two innings, the Warriors were again in trouble in the bottom of the seventh when Bayport –Blue Point ripped a base hit to right field to put the winning run on first base with one out.

Comsewogue’s Matt Bohenck came in to pitch the rest of the way, and the next batter grounded the ball to infield, where John Braun was able to make the tag at second and turn the double play to retire the side.

With runners on first and second, the Warriors threatened in the top of the ninth when Colasanto knocked down a bunt and dove to the bag to load the bases.

Bayport was able to hold on though, as Comsewogue stranded all three runners as the game headed into extra innings.

Bayport-Blue Point led off the ninth with a ground ball up the middle for a base hit. The situation grew desperate as the Phantoms loaded the bases, and on the next pitch, a base hit drove in the winning run to put the game away, 6-5, and force a decisive third.

The Warriors will host the Phantoms on Tuesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.

“We let up,” Colasanto said. “We had a couple of walks and there’s really not much you can do about that. For Tuesday’s game, we can’t get too hyped because that’s when people get over anxious. We know we can beat them, so we just have to stay within ourselves.”

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Bulls will play Ward Melville in the Suffolk County Class A finals on Wednesday at Stony Brook University

Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom moves the ball up the field while Smithtown East’s Connor Desimone defends. East topped its crosstown rival 17-11 in the Division I semifinals on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The No. 2-seeded Smithtown East boys’ lacrosse team collided with No. 6 Smithtown West in a battle of the Bulls Division I semifinal playoff matchup Friday, and while West was able to close within two goals late in the third quarter, East outscored its crosstown rival to claim a 17-11 victory and move on to play in the Suffolk County Class A finals.

Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

East scored the first four goals of the game with senior attack and co-captain Brian Willetts netting two, and junior attack Dan Rooney and sophomore midfielder Connor Desimone adding a goal apiece. Sophomore attack Sean Barry assisted in three out of four scores.

With his two goals and an assist later in the game, Willetts tallied his 311th career point to put his name in the Smithtown East record books as the top scorer in program history.

The senior attack said it wasn’t so much a personal achievement as it was a team record, adding that it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the teammates he’s had over the years, and the support from his family.

“I owe a lot to my parents — my mom getting me doctor appointments whenever I needed them,” Willetts said. “She’s the reason I stay off the sideline as far as injuries are concerned, and I really appreciate everything she does for me.”

Six minutes into the contest, West sophomore attack Jimmy Caddigan’s solo shot broke the ice to get his team on the scoreboard.

East sophomore attack Michael Latini answered back after grabbing a rebound off the pipes, and pushed the ball to the back of the cage wit 49 seconds left in the quarter, to help his team jump out to a 5-1 advantage.

Caddigan dished one off to junior midfielder Dan Caroussos, who drove the ball home two minutes into the second quarter, and after winning the ensuing face off, West’s junior midfielder Danny Varello took the ball from midfield all the way to the net, and with the good goal, helped his team close the gap, 5-3.

Both teams traded scores, with East’s Barry receiving a feed from Desimone, followed by West senior midfielder Jarrod Wilkom’s unassisted goal that split the pipes to bring the score to 6-4.

Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon

East continued to pepper the scoreboard with senior midfielder and co-captain John Daniggelis scoring twice, and Barry tallying another goal, to give East a 9-4 lead with 4:36 left to play in the second quarter.

East and West traded goals once more, to give the game a 10-5 halftime score.

“I feel like we moved the ball well today and we didn’t make too many stupid errors, and then we tightened it up on defense,” Barry said. “Coach told us to come out in the second half like the game was 0-0, and don’t let these guys get back in it.”

With the game slipping away, West took to the cage with three unanswered goals to open the scoring in the third. First, freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki’s shot found its mark, followed by Wilkom and sophomore midfielder Danny Riley, to trim the deficit to 10-8.

“I’m extremely proud of my players,” Smithtown West head coach Bob Moltisanti said. “I just told them that they have nothing to be ashamed of; they played their tails off. I told my seniors they can look themselves in the mirror and be proud of how they performed all season long.”

Unfazed by the scoring run, East retaliated with five unanswered goals of their own to bring the score to 15-8 heading into the final quarter.

“We know they’re a high-powered offense,” West’s Wilkom said. “We tried falling into a zone, but it wasn’t working for us in the first quarter, so we switched to man-to-man coverage in the second. We played well, but they got on some runs. It got away from us here and there, but we played well as a team.”

Desperate to stop the scoring frenzy, West leaned on Caroussos first, and then senior midfielder Garrett Brunsvold to make it a 15-10 game.

Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

As the clock wound down, East hit the scoreboard twice more, while West’s final goal came from freshman attack Matt Miller off an assist from Caroussos.

“I thought we played pretty well, but they’re a great team,” Caddigan said of East. “They’re county champs two years in a row. They put up 17 on us. We put up 11, but it just wasn’t enough today.”

East head coach Jason Lambert said Smithtown West is also a great opponent that continues to get better, even with a younger roster.

“They graduated nine seniors last year and to make it this far is a testament to them and their coaching staff,” Lambert said. “We’re very fortunate. We’ve got a lot of kids who can move the ball around and they play unselfishly. We do a good job of sharing the wealth and we’ve done a good job at finishing all year long.”

East will face Ward Melville on Wednesday at Stony Brook University for the Suffolk County Class A title. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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Comsewogue goalkeeper Jake MacGregor scoops up the ball amid a scrum in the Warriors’ zone during Comsewogue’s 6-5 win at Hauppauge April 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Comsewogue boys’ lacrosse head coach Pete Mitchell had made the playoffs for 24 straight years.

Although that streak was broken this season, as the Warriors finished 7-8 in League III, Mitchell is proud to see how far his younger, less experienced squad has come, and is looking forward to what he sees as a promising future.

“This is the youngest team I’ve ever had, so I think we grew; I think we gained a lot of experience and I’ll have almost every person back next year,” he said. “Some of the kids started this season for the first time ever — I started a ninth-grader and four 10th-graders, so hopefully it’ll generate positive things next year.”

During regular season play, Comsewogue topped three of the teams that made the playoffs — Sayville, Eastport-South Manor and Mount Sinai. The Warriors also came within two goals of edging out Islip, and three goals of beating Harborfields and Miller Place. However, they lost to the seventh playoff team, top-seed Shoreham-Wading River.

What hurt the team, according to Mitchell, was the mid-season loss of senior faceoff specialist Zack Deutsch to injury. During the midfielder’s absence, the team lost three of its last six games.

Comsewogue's Trevor Kennedy squeezes between two Hauppauge players in a match on April 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Comsewogue’s Trevor Kennedy squeezes between two Hauppauge players in a match on April 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Where we were beating teams at the beginning of the season, we were struggling because we weren’t winning any faceoffs,” the head coach said. “But I’ve got my young faceoff guy now, [Kevin Tiedemann], who has a lot of experience. He’s only a sophomore, and he’s working hard every day.”

Along with Deutsch, the Warriors will lose a handful of seniors next year, including midfielders Dan Creta and Chris Pedone, both of whom the coach said played well this season.

Other important players included junior goalkeeper Jake MacGregor, and junior defenders Matt Spahr and Steven Reed.

“Jake MacGregor, he’s one of the best kids out there; one of the best in the division, in my opinion, and he really had a great season for us,” Mitchell said. “Defensively, Matt Spahr and Steven Reed also really stood out.”

The Warriors will have plenty of senior leadership next year, something the head coach thinks was lacking this season. He’s hoping three returning seniors on offense, along with more returning seniors on defense, will help Comsewogue reach heights it couldn’t this season.

Mitchell will also look to sophomore lefty attack Will Snelders, who started on the team last season, to continue to extend his progression into his junior year. As a new addition to the team, Snelders scored 20 goals and added four assists. This time around, he recorded 23 goals and 10 assists.

“Will Snelders scored a lot of goals,” Mitchell said, “but teams figured out he was our go-to guy and locked him off most games, so next year as the kids start to get better — and they will because they’re a very hard-working group — we hope to be able to create other options.”

While the Warriors’ early exit this season left a bad taste in their mouths, Mitchell is ready to prepare for 2016.

“I think we’re getting bigger and stronger, and it will bring them to the next level,” Mitchell said. “It depends on how hard they want to work, but I think they’ll get there next year. The future is bright.”

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Middle Country's Jamie Ortega beats out the Sachem East goalkeeper for a goal. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After not playing for a week and a half, the Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team showed no signs of cobwebs. After a bye week, the top-seeded team in Division I easily outscored Sachem East, 16-4, Tuesday.

Middle Country's Amanda Masullo shoots through Sachem East traffic. Photo by Bill Landon
Middle Country’s Amanda Masullo shoots through Sachem East traffic. Photo by Bill Landon

“Considering we haven’t played in a week and a half, we came out and played the best game we’ve played so far,” Amanda Masullo said. “We played two complete halves today. Sometimes we get tired in the second half, but today we just kept going.”

Middle Country took command of the game from the opening draw, and the Mad Dogs broke out to an 8-0 lead midway through the first half, with the Ortega sisters, Nikki and Jamie, leading the way with two goals each. Sophomores Amanda Masullo and her twin sister Rachel, Ava Barry and senior Alison DiPaola added a goal apiece.

Sachem East lit up the scoreboard for the first time at the 4:41 mark, but midfielder Jamie Ortega scored again two minutes later, for her hat trick goal.

By the halftime break, Middle Country had tacked on four more goals for a 12-1 advantage.

“With the bye week, we had to stay consistent,” senior goalkeeper Ashley Miller said. “We practiced at game level and at game speed, so we could handle whatever they threw at us today. We played well in the second half, we kept up our intensity and we stayed focused because it’s easy to sit back and relax, but we didn’t.”

The scoring fest continued in the second half when Barry served one to Nikki Ortega for her hat trick goal, to break out to a 13-1 advantage. Soon after, the senior struck again, this time off a feed from Rachel Masullo.

Alison DiPaola moves the ball up the field for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Alison DiPaola moves the ball up the field for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

“We had a harder schedule towards the end [of the regular season], so the bye week really helped us, because we definitely needed a rest,” Nikki Ortega said.

Middle Country passed the ball crisply and cleanly as they circled the cage looking for an opening. Amanda Masullo found one, and passed to Jamie Ortega on the cut. She drilled home her shot to give her team a 15-1 advantage.

Sachem East still had some life left in them, and managed three unanswered goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. The clock continued to run uninterrupted, and Nikki Ortega drove home the last goal of the afternoon, to put the playoff win into the record books.

“I thought we did an awesome job on our draw control today and when you control the draw, you control the game,” Middle Country head coach Lindsay Dolson said. “Our defense did an outstanding job to hold that team to only four goals. “We’ll work hard, stay focused and watch film to get ready for Smithtown West.”

After crosstown rival and No. 5-seed Smithtown West topped No. 4 Smithtown East Tuesday, the Bulls will get a rematch to avenge a loss at the hands of Middle Country in the Mad Dogs’ last game of the regular season. The semifinal playoff match will take place Friday at Newfield, at 4 p.m.

“We’ll need to be mentally prepared for the next round and forget that we’re undefeated,” Nikki Ortega said. “This is the playoffs. There are no second chances, so our next game is our whole season and we can’t let up.”

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Eddie Munoz celebrates a goal. Photo by Clayton Collier

By Clayton Collier

With 13 goals in the first half, the No. 4-seeded Ward Melville boys’ lacrosse team made quick work of No. 5 Half Hollow Hills East in a 17-1 routing Tuesday in the Suffolk County Class A quarterfinals.

Ward Melville head coach Jay Negus stressed to his team the need for a full 48 minutes of quality play to best their opponent.

“I’m very, very happy with the team’s effort today,” he said. “All year long I’ve been on them to play four quarters of Ward Melville lacrosse together, and today was it. … We put it all together today and at the perfect time. This is a very dangerous team when we can do that.”

Hills East head coach Gordie Hodgson said the Patriots were in control of the game the whole way through.

“I thought Ward Melville dominated in every aspect of the game,” he said. “They dominated on the faceoff and counter possession, and we weren’t able to generate offense because of it.”

Dan Bucaro maintains possession with Half Hollow Hills East players racing to stop him. Photo by Clayton Collier
Dan Bucaro maintains possession with Half Hollow Hills East players racing to stop him. Photo by Clayton Collier

In retrospect, all the Patriots needed was a 10-minute stretch to put the game out of reach for the Thunderbirds.

Ward Melville senior attack Dan Bucaro notched the first goal of the afternoon with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter, muscling past a pair of Hills East defenders to sneak one past Thunderbirds goaltender Jordan Eichholz on the left side of the net. The goal was Bucaro’s first of four on the day.

“I came out fast and ready to go — the team really got me going,” he said. “Everyone came together today.”

The Georgetown University-bound senior said his work isn’t done with Ward Melville, and his goal opened the floodgates for the Patriots, as they tacked on an additional eight goals over the next 10 minutes of play.

Sophomore midfielder Eddie Munoz, who was responsible for two of those eight goals, said Negus told the team at halftime that the kind of offensive output the Patriots had has always been possible for the team.

“He said this was one of our first games this year that we played a full half,” Munoz said of Negus’ message to the team, while up 13-1. “We started off slow this season, so he said it was the first time that we started a first half well, and told us to just keep going.”

Senior attack Billy McGinley had a trio of goals, while classmates and midfielders Jake McCulloch, James Kickel and John Burgdoerfer each scored twice as well.

The lone Thunderbirds goal came on a deflection from Ward Melville junior goaltender D.J. Kellerman.

“He had a goal,” Bucaro said, with a laugh. “He played great, really. He’s just got to keep it up.”

Kellerman made eight saves on the day.

The Patriots will head to Northport Friday for the semifinals, taking on the No. 1-seeded Tigers at 4:15 p.m. at Veterans Park. Ward Melville will enter the game with a chip on their collective shoulder. The last time the two teams matched up, Northport scored four goals in the final quarter to edge out the Patriots, 7-6. Bucaro said his team is hungry to get the win the second time around.

“I’m expecting a really tough game,” he said. “They’re a very good team. We’ve got to get payback; we’ve got to get angry and be ready to play.”