Girls Enjoy a ‘First,’ Boys . . . Don’t Ask

Matt Maloney’s crew is young and gung-ho
And that’s the way it went as Eastport-South Manor smothered East Hampton. Jack Graves

    Not that his players were necessarily mindful of the fact, but Matt Maloney, who coaches girls lacrosse at East Hampton High School, said the team’s 13-8 win at Deer Park on April 20 was “the first time East Hampton has ever beaten them.”
    That is to say, the first time in nine years. East Hampton, with Maureen Rutkowski as the coach, fielded its first varsity team in 2003 after having played a junior varsity schedule in 2001 and ’02. Maloney is in his fourth year as the varsity’s coach.
    Maggie Pizzo, a ninth grader, led the way at Deer Park with five goals and two assists. Other point-getters were Carley Seekamp, an eighth grader, with three goals and an assist; Amanda Seekamp, a ninth grader, with two and two; Jenna Budd, an eighth grader, and Erica Silich, a senior, each with one and one, and Kelsi Thorsen, also a senior, with one goal.
    “We played well in all aspects of the game,” said Maloney. We won 16 of the 23 draws [face-offs], were pretty solid on ground balls, and our goalie, Allison Charde, made 15 saves.”
    That game marked Kirsten Brierley’s return to the lineup. The strong senior midfielder had been sidelined for several games with a head injury. “She played most of the game and did a nice job,” Maloney said.
    He added that “because we’ve had so many injuries, I’ve brought up two players from our jayvee — Gabriela Penati, a sophomore middie, and Cassidy Walsh, an eighth grader, who’s also a midfielder. They both played at Deer Park and did well. It gives us a little bit of depth, so we can rest our starters. You can run players in an out, just as they do in boys lacrosse. The more you have, the better.”
    As for 8-meter plays, one-on-one situations that arise from penalty calls, East Hampton’s coach said, “We’re definitely getting better on those, though there is still room for improvement.”
    East Hampton, which took a 4-3 divisional record into Monday night’s game at Eastport-South Manor, was on the brink of the most important part of its season, Maloney said Friday — “seven games that will make or break us. . . . We need to raise the level of our play.”
    Huntington was to have played here yesterday, and Bayport-Blue Point is to play here Monday.
    As of Friday, Eastport-South Manor was also 4-3, though it had three more power points than the Bonackers, as did Bayport-Blue Point, which was 4-3 as well. Huntington, 5-3 as of Friday, with seven more power points than Maloney’s team, was in seventh place in the 22-team division; East Hampton was in 11th, as it had been the week before.
    All the teams below the Bonackers as of Monday, namely Westhampton, Islip, Deer Park, Miller Place, Elwood-John Glenn, Bellport, Kings Park, Babylon, Mattituck-Greenport-Southold, Center Moriches, and Southampton — had losing records.
    “The playoffs are definitely possible,” said Maloney in closing, “if we finish strong.”
    East Hampton’s boys also played on April 20, but probably the less said the better about that 18-4 loss here to Eastport-South Manor.
    “I really don’t have much to say,” Mike Vitulli, the varsity coach, said following the rout. “It was not our best effort. We fell apart in the second quarter [during which the visitors upped their lead from 5-0 to 14-1].”
    “We got outhustled, and probably outcoached,” he added with a wan smile as he walked off the field behind the team.
    Kevin Ruff, the head coach of Eastport, which Vitulli rated as “among the top five in the county,” said before getting on the bus that he, too, was a bit surprised.
    “They’ve got some good lefties,” he said of East Hampton. “We knew that from the film. . . . The pressure got to them. I had expected more. I thought they were a pretty good team. . . .”
    It was left to Renee McCormack, whose husband, Owen, is Vitulli’s assistant, to salvage something from the loss. “I know Mike and Owen have been working diligently with these kids. I think they can turn it around. They’ve had four 1-point losses, you know. It’s going to be a hurdle, but I hope they can finish strong and leave on a positive note.”
    As aforesaid, the game was over by the half, at which point the Sharks led 14-1, and though there is no “mercy rule” in lacrosse, the clock mercifully kept running in the final two quarters, continuing to tick away whenever the ball went out of the bounds or when goals were scored.
    Brendan Damm scored East Hampton’s lone goal in the first half when, with about four minutes gone in the second quarter, he won a face-off, came down, and bounced a shot into the cage.
    By the half, the Sharks’ Tyler Aki, who frequently turned up unmarked at the edge of East Hampton’s crease, had four goals and two assists; Alan Henderson, who handled the face-offs [winning 11 of 14] had three assists, and Matt Prokesch had four goals.
    Damm scored two more in the second half, and John Nolan, assisted by Skyler Loesch, a defenseman from Pierson, scored once.