GARRET MEADE PHOTO
Joe Zabas of Deer Park, left, and Matt Miller of Mattituck/Greenport/Southold crossed sticks while battling for a ground ball.
DEER PARK — One short segment of the third quarter best encapsulated Monday afternoon’s Suffolk County Division II boys lacrosse contest between Mattituck/Greenport/Southold and Deer Park.
It took the Tuckers 2 minutes 51 seconds to score their first goal of the second half. From behind the goal, freshman Connor Stumpf found senior Nick Cosgrove open to the left of the goal. Cosgrove took the pass and in one fluid motion slung it past Falcons goalie Jimmy Dougherty, who was making his first varsity start. The Tuckers still trailed, 10-2, on the way to an 18-4 loss.
But at that point the Tuckers seemed to have the momentum. After winning the ensuing face-off, the Tuckers had the Falcons pinned in their own defensive end and were flinging shot after shot at Dougherty. But Dougherty stifled them all, finishing the game with 11 saves. With 5:24 left in the third quarter, Dougherty turned away the fifth and final shot of the Tuckers’ most sustained offensive attack.
The Falcons (4-5, 3-5) headed in the other direction and in one shot managed to do what the Tuckers (0-7, 0-7) had not in the previous four minutes. Junior defenseman Chris Ciuffo beat goalie Eric Izzo with one of his three goals on the day to put the Falcons up, 11-2.
By the end of the third quarter, Deer Park had put three more shots past Izzo, who was absolutely bombarded. He faced 18 shots in the first quarter, during which the Falcons took a 6-0 lead. Izzo finished the game with 13 saves. He did not have to wait long to see what he was getting into on a day when a light rain at the opening face-off turned into a drenching downpour by the game’s end.
The Falcons took the opening face-off straight downfield before proceeding to launch four straight shots at Izzo, two of which he saved. The fifth one, from junior midfielder Pat LaMonica, went through to put Deer Park ahead, 1-0, with 1:33 gone. LaMonica finished with three goals. Junior attackman Tom Miele and senior attackman Chris Murphy both scored four each.
“We wanted to make sure, especially offensively, that we shared the ball on a day like today,” Deer Park Coach Brian Tower said.
Nine of the Falcons’ 18 goals were assisted. Murphy and senior midfielder Nick Picciano led the way with two each.
One bright spot for the Tuckers was the teamwork on the offensive end between attackmen Zach Nicholson and Matt Miller. Nicholson earned assists on two of Miller’s three goals, the first coming with 9:20 left in the second quarter. Miller took Nicholson’s pass near the top of the circle and slung it past Dougherty to put the Tuckers on the scoreboard.
That goal, the one from Cosgrove and some hard legal hits from the Tuckers on their defensive end exemplified the type of play their coach, Tim Corcoran, wants to see more of.
“Every time we get out the huddle we talk about team,” Corcoran said. “The only way we’re going to be good is if we play as a team.”
Corcoran was forced to start a somewhat makeshift lineup after three starters he expected to have were unable, for various reasons, to make it to the game.
Those types of situations and some of the lopsided scores the Tuckers have seen from the losing end are part of the growing pains of a second-year team, Corcoran said. But the results are not from a lack of on-field effort.
“The guys went out and played hard,” Corcoran said. “They always do.”
Tower has suffered through similar games. Before the Falcons beat Bellport last Thursday, they had lost four games in a row, two by double digits. A two-game winning streak has changed the feeling on his sideline.
“Their spirits are definitely a bit higher,” Tower said.