High Expectations For Girls Lacrosse

Girls ‘should be sharp’ for tomorrow’s opener
East Hampton’s attack put a lot of pressure on William Floyd’s highly rated goalie. Jack Graves

    The East Hampton High School girls lacrosse team, judging by its scrimmage here with William Floyd on March 14, looks as if it may well become the first in Bonac’s 12-year-old program to make the playoffs.
    Matt Maloney’s team, which plays in a power-rated division, just missed them last year although finishing with a program-best 9-7 record.
    Shots found the nets and posts were hit in the first quarter of the March 14 scrimmage, with Amanda Seekamp, Maggie Pizzo, and Jenna Budd getting the better of one of the best goalies in the county, though in the second quarter, with the starting midfielders (Pizzo, Amanda Seekamp, Cassidy Walsh, and Bronte Marino) watching from the sidelines, things turned around very quickly.
    The second middie line of Gabriella Penati, a junior, Hailey Tracey, a freshman, Dana Cebulski, a freshman, and Mariah Dempsey, a senior, obviously needed some work. In an e-mail later in the week, Maloney said, “They’re all working into our system, learning a new defense and offense.” In a telephone conversation Sunday, following a scrimmage at Comsewogue the day before, he was even more sanguine.
    “Yes,” the coach said, when asked if he thought the Bonackers would make the playoffs. It’s Maloney’s fifth year of coaching here. He followed Maureen Rutkowski, who, in turn, followed Krista Brooks. Brooks oversaw East Hampton’s first team, a junior varsity, in 2001.
    As for the Comsewogue scrimmage, during which, he said, he saw a lot of improvement, Maloney said, “We had a lot of scoring punch, our decision-making was good, and our toughness too.”
    Four of his top five scorers from last year — Amanda Seekamp, Pizzo, both sophomores, and Carly Seekamp and Jenna Budd, both freshmen — are back, as is “the entire defense, including our goalie,” Allison Charde.
    Pizzo, an all-county player, led the 2011 team in scoring, with 41 points; Amanda Seekamp, who was all-league, tallied 38.
    Jenna Budd’s twin, Lydia, is probably lost for the season because of a hip tear that is to be operated on soon. On the other hand, Maloney is happy to have Melanie Mackin, a junior attackman who’d missed last season because of an injury, back on the pitch.
    He’s carrying 26 on the squad, and pretty much all of them played in the off-season.
    Aside from the above-named, the attack includes Nicole Frank, a senior, and Katie Brierley, a freshman.
    Charde, Nicole Miksinski, and Katla Thorsen, all seniors, are the team’s captains and bolster the defense. Charde and Miksinski were all-league last spring, and Miksinski was an academic all-American. Other defenders are Emma Gambino, Linsey Kromer, Megan Dombkowski, Maricela Rosas, Sarah Johnson, and Emma Gomes, all seniors, and Jessica Gutierrez, a junior. Charde’s backups are Cheyenne Mata, a senior, and Madison Aldrich, a freshman.
    The team was to have played a nonleaguer at Westhampton Beach Tuesday, and was to have scrimmaged at home with Riverhead yesterday. Its league opener is to be tomorrow evening at Center Moriches. “We should be sharp for that,” said Maloney.
    Meanwhile, the boys team was reported by its coach, Mike Vitulli, to have played well in a multiteam scrimmage Saturday with West Babylon, Middle Country, and Sachem East.
    “We had some defensive breakdowns in the scrimmage with Sachem East, but we’ll work on that this week,” he said.
    Among the returnees are the senior captains, James Budd, a defender, and Drew Griffiths, a midfielder; Desmond Tavera, a senior defender; Ryan Fitzgerald, a senior attackman; Sawyer Bushman, a senior middie; Pat McGuirk, a senior defender; Jaime Wolf, a junior midfielder; John Pizzo, a junior midfielder; Cort Heneveld, a sophomore middie, and Drew Harvey, a sophomore attackman from Pierson High School.
    When it was noted he’d said during a recent practice that the team was “very inexperienced,” Vitulli said, “We are . . . we’ve got one freshman [Jack Lesser, a defender from Pierson] and five sophomores [Harvey, Heneveld, Joe Gengerella, a defender from Pierson, Seamus McLaughlin, a midfielder, and R.J. Notel, a midfielder] up from the jayvee. Needless to say, all our seniors will be playing.”
    A “pleasant surprise,” said the former all-American Southampton College goalie, had been the play in the goal of Mikey Jara, a junior, who tended the jayvee’s nets last year, and of Sergio Betancur, a junior who had switched over from midfield.
    “I think we’ve got a chance to be competitive,” Vitulli said in signing off. “We’ve got a tough schedule, but if we continue to work hard I think we’ll surprise some people.”
    The boys were to have played a nonleaguer at Riverhead Tuesday, and are to play another nonleaguer at home with William Floyd tomorrow.