Hands Tied, the Girls Nevertheless Edged Comsewogue 13-12

The boys also enjoyed a big win this past week, handily defeating Mattituck-Greenport-Southold 13-5 here on April 22
Maggie Pizzo took over the game in the final minutes, scoring the winning goal. Craig Macnaughton

    Despite having a couple of hands, as it were, tied behind its back, the East Hampton High School girls lacrosse team prevailed 13-12 in an important game with Comsewogue here Friday, keeping Ryan Mahoney’s charges on track to make the Class B playoffs.

    The top eight Bs are to go, and, as of Monday morning, East Hampton was in sixth place among them, behind Eastport-South Manor, Sayville, Huntington, Miller Place, and Westhampton Beach, and ahead of Rocky Point, Islip, and Kings Park.

    The boys also enjoyed a big win this past week, handily defeating Mattituck-Greenport-Southold 13-5 here on April 22. On Saturday, McGann-Mercy forfeited to East Hampton “because too many of their kids were on vacation,” said East Hampton’s coach, Mike Vitulli. “Put that in the paper, that they were on vacation. When games are scheduled during vacations you’re supposed to play them. That kind of thing is happening too much these days.”

    The forfeit evened the boys’ overall record at 5-5. The playoffs remained a possibility, “if we go 4-2 from here on in,” said Vitulli, adding that it was “something to shoot for.”

    As for the Mattituck-Greenport-Southold game, the coach said, “I think our kids were still smarting from that [10-3] loss to Westhampton, and also they remembered that last year Mattituck took us to overtime before we beat them. So, we came out with intensity and focus. We were up 6-0 by the end of the first quarter and led 9-2 at the half.” The final was 13-5.

    Drew Harvey, the Pierson senior attack who has led the Bonackers all season, finished with five goals (one behind the back) and four assists; Cortland Heneveld, a Bonac senior, who plays midfield, had three and two; Jack Schleicher, a Pierson sophomore, had one and four; Regis O’Neil, a Bonac sophomore, had two and two, and Jack Aldrich, a Bonac senior, had two and one. Sean Toole, the starting goalie, a Pierson junior, made 12 saves and gave up three goals. His backup, Daley Pagano, an East Hampton senior who played most of the fourth quarter, had three saves and gave up two goals.

    As of Monday, the boys were in 17th place among Division II’s 21 teams with a 3-5 record in divisional play. Islip was to have played here Tuesday, and tomorrow East Hampton is to play under the lights at Center Moriches.

    Back to the girls game, Cassidy Walsh was absent that day, apparently visiting schools, and with just 11 minutes gone in the contest, Amanda Seekamp, one of the team’s two D-1 recruits, was ejected — unfairly in the views of East Hampton’s athletic director, Joe Vas, and Mahoney, who said during a conversation over the weekend that he would write a letter of protest to Section XI, the governing body for Suffolk’s high school sports.

    Seekamp, a strong defender and offensive player, had been in the penalty box following a yellow-carding, and was given another by one of the refs when, allegedly, she re-entered the field of play moments before being properly released.

    Even so, Vas, who consulted the rulebook, concluded that there was nothing in it saying that a player in such a situation should be ejected for the remainder of the game.

    The Bonackers were up 3-2 when Seekamp was ejected and were leading 5-2, thanks to goals by Amanda’s younger sister, Carley, before Comsewogue came back with two goals in the minutes leading up to the halftime break. A potential third, with one second to go until the horn sounded, bounced off the left post of East Hampton’s nets.

    Mahoney met with the officials and the opposing coach during halftime, but neither he nor Vas could persuade them to reconsider the ejection.

    Despite the elder Seekamp’s sidelining, the team, which included a couple of eighth graders — Elizabeth Bistrian and Lucy Emptage — and a ninth grader — Grace Amaden — at times, jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the first five minutes of the 25-minute second half, on goals by McKenzie Frazier, Maggie Pizzo, Jenna Budd, and Carley Seekamp.

    But Comsewogue came back to tie the count at 11-11 with 9:37 remaining.

    Carley Seekamp won the subsequent draw, and Jacqui Thorsen, a ninth grader who played particularly well at both ends of the field that day, put East Hampton up again, assisted by Budd.

    Maddie Aldrich, East Hampton’s goalie, made a big save with 6:44 to go, after which Budd fired wide and a shot by Carley Seekamp rebounded off the left post, prompting Mahoney to call out, “Girls, slow it down, get wider!”

    The final three minutes were tense indeed. A Comsewogue shot over Aldrich and Katie Brierley, who was defending, made it 12-12 with 3:11 to go.

    Pizzo was creamed after she had come in from outside the circle to retrieve the ball that had been wafted into the air off the draw, and, as a result, was awarded possession. Moments later, the Yale-bound senior middie broke through a group of defenders with some fancy stickwork and deposited into Comsewogue’s nets what was to be the game-winner.

    There were still 2 minutes and 13 seconds left to play, however. East Hampton won the draw and was playing keep-away when it yielded a turnover. A subsequent free position shot awarded a visiting player following a foul in close had Bonac fans holding their breaths, but Aldrich made a great save, stopping the hard-thrown ball at her feet.

    This time, with almost a minute remaining, and with Comsewogue’s players defending frantically, East Hampton retained possession. The final horn sounded as Pizzo, who had been given the ball following a yellow-carding, raced with it into the far left corner, out of harm’s way, as John Ryan Jr., the timekeeper, called out, “Five, four, three, two, one. . . .”

    “Whew . . . whew,” Mahoney said during the postgame huddle. “I don’t know . . . you didn’t give up, you kept fighting . . . a win’s a win. We’ll practice from 9 to 11 tomorrow, and remember we’ll be playing a much tougher opponent [Westhampton Beach] on Wednesday.”

Drew Harvey, a Pierson senior attack, led East Hampton in its 13-5 win over Mattituck-Southold-Greenport with five goals and four assists. Craig Macnaughton