HURRICANES 18, TUCKERS 1
Tim Corcoran, the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold boys lacrosse coach, must sometimes feel as if he’s the lead character in “Groundhog Day.” Another day, another blowout loss.
So, Coach, does this season feel like a bad dream sometimes?
“It does, it does, but you know what, you just have to brush yourself off, you keep yourself going, keep the guys going, keep them positive because you know what, it’s not over,” he said. “It’s about building for the future.”
Given the present, the future may not come soon enough for Mattituck/Greenport/Southold.
For the second straight game, the Tuckers were limited to one single late goal on Thursday when they were blown away by Westhampton Beach, 18-1, at Mattituck High School. It was similar to a 14-1 defeat the Tuckers suffered against Miller Place two days earlier. The only difference was that Westhampton Beach (5-1, 4-1 Suffolk County Division II) was even more impressive than Miller Place had been.
It has been years since the Hurricanes last reached the playoffs, but they hope to be among the division’s top seven teams that will be invited to the postseason this year.
“I’d say we’re pretty good,” senior attackman Kevin Dean said. “We have a pretty good defense, a good midfield. We have a bunch of good athletes. We got to try to not beat ourselves, otherwise we can beat any team.”
That’s not hard to believe, given the passing and shooting exhibition the Hurricanes put on Thursday. Dean was arguably the player of the game, garnering five goals and one assist. Casey Hickey contributed four goals and three assists, with Brandon Moloney gathering six ground balls for the visitors.
Plenty of others got into the act for Westhampton Beach, including Evan Gagne (one goal, four assists, three ground balls), Henry James Moreta (four assists, three ground balls) and T. J. Murphy (two goals, one ground ball).
Hickey netted three of his goals in the first quarter as Westhampton Beach bolted to an 8-0 lead, outshooting the Tuckers by 14-2 in the opening 12 minutes. The Hurricanes led, 17-0, after three quarters.
It didn’t help the Tuckers (0-5, 0-5) that they were missing two players, Tom Filipkowski and Andre Vega.
Mattituck/Greenport/Southold broke Westhampton Beach’s shutout hopes when Rich Smith, assisted by Connor Stumpf, bounced in a shot 59 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Casey Grathwohl collected a game-high eight ground balls for the Tuckers.
Westhampton Beach outshot the Tuckers, 33-10, and picked up almost twice as many ground balls, 42-24.
Hurricanes goalies Brian Corrigan and Pat Dean combined for five saves.
“So far we’re off to a pretty good start,” Westhampton Beach coach Drew Peters said. “We have an athletic group of kids, kids that understand the game, kids that come to practice and work every day and work hard and want to truly get better.”
It is that work ethic that Peters said he likes best about his team.
“They can come in day in and day out, and they’re able to put in a full two, two and half hours of practice, and from start to end, they’re able to work hard,” he said. “What we’re trying to go for this year is consistency, trying to play at a high level and sustain that throughout the season, and it’s tough. Every team has its ups and downs, but we’d like to have more ups than downs.”
The Tuckers have had their share of downs. Once again, they had trouble finding the net. They have been outscored by 70-12 this season.
Mattituck/Greenport/Southold center midfielder Connor Malone said his team’s mindset must be focused on hustling. “Just leave it all on the field and give it a hundred percent all the time,” he said. “A lot of guys are getting frustrated, throwing their sticks around, getting penalties, but you just got to keep a positive outlook on it and keep your chin up, no matter what the score is.”
The challenge for the Tuckers is to persevere through the tough times.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Corcoran said. “You take the tough times and you build from it and you remember those times and it maybe makes you work a little harder. Maybe guys start to see that they have to be dedicated like everybody else.”