A win over Harborfields here Friday would apparently have assured the East Hampton High School girls lacrosse team of a home game in the opening round of the playoffs, but it was not to be, as the Tornadoes wound up on the long end of a 9-5 score.
Afterward, Matt Maloney, East Hampton’s coach, agreed that the loss “wasn’t the end of the world, though it would have been nice to win. . . . We need a couple more wins, but to be two games above .500 with four games to go is a good place to be.”
While Maloney hedged as to whether East Hampton had clinched a playoff spot, Becky Schwartz, the junior varsity coach, said at Saturday’s rugby game, “They are in.”
If so, it would be the first time a Bonac girls lacrosse team will have made the playoffs since the program began here in 2000.
As of Monday, East Hampton (6-4 league, 8-4 over all) was eighth-ranked among the 21 power-rated teams in Division II with 113.960 power points. Harborfields was in sixth place with 116.910.
East Hampton, which has a 16-11 win over third-place Shoreham-Wading River, was to have played at fourth-place Eastport-South Manor yesterday. Last-place Mattituck-Greenport-Southold is to play here tomorrow. Fifth-place Sayville is to play here Tuesday, and East Hampton is to finish up the regular season at 18th-place Elwood-John Glenn next Thursday.
The Bonackers outshot the Tornadoes, but the visitors’ goalie was up to the challenge, frequently gathering in the shoulder and head-high bids. “Their goalie was known to be good on high shots — why we didn’t get off many bouncers I don’t know,” said Schwartz.
Harborfields’s defense was physical, so much so that after the game Maloney said his star county-leading scorer, Maggie Pizzo, who was shut out that day, had been “hit in the head three times” without getting a call. He felt that in general East Hampton “didn’t get the calls” that day.
Moreover, a free position goal that Bronte Marino had scored early on — a goal that apparently tied the score at 2-2 — was nullified soon after when the referees upheld a challenge by the opposing coach, who maintained that the pocket of Marino’s stick was too deep — an anomaly of sorts given the fact that the refs had checked the pockets of all the players’ sticks before the game began.
Another East Hampton free position shot in the first half, this one by Gabriella Penati, went for naught as Penati was said to have moved before given the go-ahead.
But, in the end, Harborfields, keyed by its smothering defense, was the more opportunistic team that day.
“I think our defense created about as many turnovers as theirs did,” Maloney said when talking with sportswriters afterward, but he acknowledged that, while East Hampton’s defenders had played well when they were given time to set up, they hadn’t held up very well when Harborfields counter-attacked.
Carley Seekamp got East Hampton on the scoreboard with a goal three and a half minutes into the game, following a nice save by East Hampton’s goalie, Allison Charde. A netted free position shot by Harborfields tied it at 1-1 two minutes later.
A turnover by East Hampton’s offense resulted in the visitors taking a 2-1 lead, and, with about six minutes left until the half, the Tornadoes made good on another turnover for a 3-1 lead. Cassidy Walsh replied at the five-minute mark, and East Hampton thus trailed 3-2 going into the break.
After winning the draw that began the second half, East Hampton’s spread-out offense controlled the ball for the first two minutes of play, but a bad pass intended for Jenna Budd was quickly translated into a Harborfields goal at the other end of the field.
Budd fired a shot off the right post with five minutes gone in the 25-minute period, and a half minute later the Tornadoes’ goalie parried a high shot by Pizzo, after which Harborfields scored again in transition to go up 5-2.
With 17 minutes to play, the visitors made it 6-2, prompting Maloney to call for a timeout, during which his assistant, Kathy McGeehan, was heard to say to their frustrated charges, “Let the rest of it go if you want to get back in this game.”
Walsh was yellow-carded for high sticking in the facial area soon after play resumed, a penalty that resulted in her sidelining for two minutes, but although a man down, East Hampton managed to score as Penati found a seam in the Tornadoes’ defense and beat their goalie one-on-one.
With 13 minutes to play, Amanda Seekamp, who had been awarded a free position shot from the top of the circle, let the ball fly from there, but the visitors’ keeper made the save.
With 10 minutes to go, Harborfields held an 8-3 lead thanks to two converted free position shots of its own.
With nine minutes left, Carley Seekamp, moving left to right, faked high before slipping the ball by the frozen goalie into the left corner of the nets for 8-4, and, with four minutes remaining, Melanie Mackin, after receiving a pass from Amanda Seekamp, made it 8-5.
Maloney was heard to say, “There’s plenty of time, plenty of time” when, at the two-minute mark, the visitors netted their ninth score of the day, but, alas, his charges, who wound up playing a man-down again in those final minutes, weren’t quite up to the task.