PHANTOMS 9, TUCKERS 4
The Mattituck/Greenport/Southold Tuckers can sense that they are near a breakthrough. Bit by bit, they edge closer to that milestone upset, the signature victory that will signal their arrival on the scene as a boys lacrosse team that hang with some of Suffolk County’s best.
Monday’s game at Bayport-Blue Point High School was seen as one of those games. As a reward, it offered the clinching of a coveted playoff berth to the winner.
For one half, the Tuckers were right there with a Bayport-Blue Point team that is only two years removed from a state championship game. And then it all slipped away.
After the Tuckers pulled to within one goal at 4-3 on Tim Schmidt’s goal 31 seconds into the third quarter, Bayport ran off five straight goals, including two apiece by George Ringer and Jack White, for a 9-4 victory. The Phantoms (8-7, 7-6 Division II) had lost three of their previous four games.
Bayport, which honored its seven 12th-graders during a halftime Senior Day ceremony, received two goals, one assist and seven ground balls from Jake Weinman. Its goalie, Brad Morris, had a fine game, turning in 13 saves.
Kevin Ward and Kyle McClancy each had a goal and an assist for Bayport, which also received a goal from Vinny Lombardi.
A win by the Tuckers (4-11, 3-10) would have booked their first playoff ticket in the program’s four-year varsity history. Now, coach John Amato said, the Tuckers will need help from others to reach the postseason. They have one regular-season game remaining, at home to Sayville on Wednesday.
The Tuckers have been able to keep themselves competitive largely through their success on face-offs and ground balls. They controlled the face-offs on Monday, 11-5, and held a 50-44 advantage in ground balls. Also, the Tuckers outshot Bayport, 31-27. The difference in the game, though, was Bayport’s ability to put the ball in the net, and Morris’ ability to stop shots.
Jack DiGregorio supplied two of the Tuckers’ goals. Jeff Hauser and Schmidt scored the other two. Connor Malone collected 11 ground balls.
While the Tuckers committed only one penalty, Bayport was flagged for six, costing the Phantoms five minutes of penalty time. The Tuckers were able to capitalize on only one of their man-up opportunities, though.