Following Friday’s disappointing 13-11 loss here to Babylon, Ryan Mahoney, who coaches East Hampton High’s girls lacrosse team, told his charges, in his quiet-spoken way, that he was sick of watching them watching the ball.
Time and again, especially in the second half, Babylon won out in the battles for the ball that the opposing teams’ face-off players, East Hampton’s Carley Seekamp and Babylon’s Kaileen Hart, sent high into the air at midfield.
According to one count, East Hampton, which led 7-6 at the half, won nine of the 14 draws in the first period, but the visitors won nine of 12 in the second.
As a result of the aforementioned loss, and an 11-10 loss at Westhampton Beach on April 30, the Bonackers, whose record as of Monday was 5-6 in divisional play, dropped a notch in the Class B playoff race, from sixth to seventh. Eight B teams are to play in the postseason, though Mahoney said that, playoffs aside, he wanted them to win out in their remaining three games.
As of Monday, the team was in 12th place among Division II’s 23 teams with 104.100 power points. Kings Park, which also is a B, was in 13th place with 100.420 points. Bellport, which East Hampton was to have played at home Tuesday, was in 15th place with 89.010 points, and Harborfields, another B team, was in 16th place with 83.320 points. Westhampton Beach, which came from behind to beat the Bonackers 11-10 on the last shot, was in eighth place with 120.010 points.
Another thing that bothered Mahoney was the similarity between the East Hampton-Westhampton and East Hampton-Babylon games. In both cases, he said, two members of the opposing team had done most of the damage. In Babylon’s case it was the aforementioned Hart, who finished with four goals, and Hallie Merz, who was to score five.
The Hart-Merz duo parlayed the same play into Babylon’s first two scores as Hart, from up top, fired passes to Merz, who had snuck in unmarked at the left side of the crease before whipping acutely angled shots by East Hampton’s goalie, Maddie Aldrich, into the upper right corner of East Hampton’s cage.
East Hampton was down 3-0 before it began to wake up. A bouncer by Amanda Seekamp, who’d been assisted by Maggie Pizzo, made it 3-1, and after Carley Seekamp won another draw, Pizzo deposited a one-on-one shot into Babylon’s nets for 3-2. Cassidy Walsh slipped another one by the visitors’ goalie for 3-3.
When Carley Seekamp’s shot into the upper left corner treated East Hampton to a 4-3 lead with 13 minutes and 10 seconds left to play in the first half, Babylon’s coaches, Timothy Harrison and Grace McMahon, called for a timeout.
When play resumed, Pizzo broke in from the edge of the circle on the draw play to corral the loose ball, but her high pass for Amanda Seekamp resulted in a turnover, and moments later the visitors tied it up after Pizzo almost picked off the assisting pass.
The visitors then went up 6-4 before East Hampton parlayed three free position shots, by Walsh, Carley Seekamp, and Pizzo, into goals that wrested the lead back for the Bonackers, who took a 7-6 lead into the halftime break.
During that break Mahoney urged his players to hold on to the lead, recalling that they’d been up by two midway through the game at Westhampton.
But Babylon was the more aggressive team in the second half, as aforesaid, invariably winning the battles for ground balls. The score was tied four times in that second half, the last time as the result of a free position shot that Hart fired by Aldrich with 9:10 left on the clock.
Hart’s shot made it 11-11. Pizzo tried once again to wrest the lead back for East Hampton on a free position shot of her own with 5:38 to play, but Babylon’s goalie came up with a big save at point-blank range.
Merz, who had re-entered the game after having been momentarily sidelined, slipped a shot by Walsh and Aldrich for 12-11 with 4:26 to go, and, with 3:04 on the clock, Hart beat Aldrich one-on-one for 13-11.
The visitors froze the ball thereafter.
“I don’t even care about the playoffs,” Mahoney said in the postgame huddle. “We’ve got three games left. Bellport could beat us, and I bet Shoreham is a better team than Babylon. We’ve got to stop these players from running around the crease . . . it was the same thing at Westhampton. . . .”