It’s a year of change for the Mattituck/Southold boys lacrosse team. The team lost 10 seniors from last year, no longer includes players from Greenport and has dropped from Class C to Class D.
That leaves the Tuckers with Babylon and Port Jefferson to battle it out for Suffolk County honors in Class D.
“Last year we were very senior-heavy,” coach John Amato said. “We had 10 seniors. This year we’re younger but the boys have a really good team chemistry, a lot of great positive energy, and I just feel that there’s a lot of excitement brewing.”
After reaching the playoffs three years in a row, Mattituck (8-8) fell a win shy of the postseason last year. The Tuckers are looking to return to the playoff stage with the help of six returning starters: junior midfielder Max Kruszeski (31 goals, nine assists), senior midfielder Justin Tobin (seven goals, five assists), senior defender Riley Peterson, senior attackman Ryan Herman, sophomore midfielder Dane Reda and sophomore defender Colby Suglia.
Senior goalie Shawn Howell (63 saves) and senior defender Jake Dominy also bring varsity experience.
The newcomers are: attackmen Billy Burns and Ethan Schmidt, midfielders Frank Hauser, Ryan Seifert, Tucker Sheppard, Cole DiGregorio, Nicholas Dervicola, Christopher Catalano, Luke Altman and John Lyda, defenders Liam Ackerman, Matt Warns, Tyler Marlborough, George McDowell and Tom Wilton, and goalies Tyler Shuford and Luke Wojtas.
Mattituck doesn’t have a junior varsity team because the player numbers don’t support it.
“We are pretty young, but we have really good upperclassmen leadership,” Amato said. “Our young players are talented and hard workers. They have a lot to learn, but with the leadership of our upperclassmen, I’m very confident that they’ll do just fine.”
“I’m really excited about the culture the team has taken,” he continued. “The brotherhood the boys have is really special. I think it can come together really well.
“We’re excited. We want to make the playoffs. When we play some of the bigger schools, we want to try to get an upset. We want to really prove ourselves.”
Photo caption: Mattituck/Southold junior midfielder Max Kruszeski totaled 31 goals and nine assists last season. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)