For a high school boys lacrosse team that is noticeably quieter than last year, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold sure has been making a lot of noise.
When Tim Schmidt was asked what the biggest difference is between last year’s team and the current version, the senior attack didn’t hesitate to bring up the change in volume.
“It’s a lot quieter,” he said. “We had a lot of noisy seniors” last year.
These younger Tuckers are a quiet sort, and yet they are getting the job done. With its two most recent wins — 17-7 over Center Moriches last Thursday and 20-6 over Southampton/Pierson on Friday — Mattituck (9-4, 9-1 Suffolk County Division III) sits in a first-place tie with Babylon (10-4, 9-1).
“It’s a good place to be,” said Schmidt, who will move on to play NCAA Division I lacrosse for Wagner College.
Mattituck will close out its regular season at Hampton Bays on Wednesday. Babylon has home games against Bishop McGann-Mercy on Wednesday and Bayport-Blue Point on Tuesday.
It would seem as if Mattituck and Babylon are on a collision course. The teams faced each other in last year’s Suffolk Class C final, with Babylon winning. This season the teams split their regular-season meetings, each winning on its home turf, Babylon by 10-4 and Mattituck by 8-7.
“We match up really well,” Mattituck coach John Amato said. “I wish we had 12 games like that. Every time we play them it should be a one-goal game, a two-goal game, either way.”
Mattituck’s win over Babylon was part of its current five-game win streak that began following a 7-3 loss to one of Connecticut’s top teams, Glastonbury, on April 16. That result was a confidence-builder for the Tuckers.
“I didn’t tell my team how good [Glastonbury was] and they played really well because they didn’t know who’s who,” Amato said. “They just went out and played lacrosse. That was a real eye-opener, that we could play high-level lacrosse, regardless of the opponent, and that was a big turning point.”
The numbers don’t lie. Mattituck has been getting offensive production from its attack. Schmidt has put up 36 goals and 17 assists. Max Kruszeski has totaled 19 goals and 20 assists while Tom Hoeg has 18 goals and 15 assists.
Mattituck runs two lines of middies, one offensive and the other defensive. On the offensive line there is Jeff Hauser (20 goals, seven assists), Tyler Seifert (19 goals, seven assists) and Matt Mauceri (seven goals, five assists). The defensive middies are Lucas Webb, Zach Holmes and Pete Fouchet.
Dylan Marlborough’s faceoff work and Rob Kruszeski’s goaltending have made a big difference, too. Marlborough has won 69 percent of his faceoffs, and Rob Kruszeski has made 127 saves.
“Everything seems to be coming together at the right time,” said Rob Kruszeski, who is Max’s brother.
The Tuckers, who have never won any sort of title before, have first place to play for and, beyond that, a county title as a possibility. Now that would be something to shout about.
“It’s a great opportunity, and I stress that to the team every day that opportunities like this don’t always happen,” Amato said. “When they’re there, you got to grab them.”
Photo caption: Tom Hoeg has brought Mattituck/Greenport/Southold 18 goals and 15 assists. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)