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.
“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.”