GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Kevin Izzo shielding the ball from Center Moriches’ Zach Brady.
TUCKERS 6, RED DEVILS 4
A position change has meant more freedom for Pat Robbins.
Robbins knows full well what it is like as a lacrosse attackman, wedged into a section of the field, having to dodge and deal with long-pole defenders whacking their sticks at him.
Then things changed for Robbins before this season started. Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s rookie coach, Ryan Mahoney, made a significant lineup adjustment. With the addition of Colin McCoy, a transfer attackman from Virginia, there was a numbers issue. Mahoney didn’t have enough attacking positions to go around for the players he wanted on the field.
“These guys have talent,” he said. “I can’t have them on my bench.”
So, he made a decision. In an effort to make best use of the personnel available, Mahoney moved Robbins to middie.
“I had four attackmen that were all equally good,” Mahoney said. “Pat Robbins, I thought, was the most athletic, and I thought that he could help us better in the midfield.”
That’s how Robbins became a middie.
In midfield, the junior has room to run and exchange passes with other middies like Jack DiGregorio, Casey Grathwohl and Zach Holmes.
“I feel like I got moved up to middie because I’ll be more involved in the game,” Robbins said. “I feel like I can be more involved with ground balls, defense, fast breaks. I feel like I can contribute. I enjoy it.”
Asked how he thinks he’s doing, Robbins replied: “It’s a little different, but I feel like I’m getting better. I know about the game more as an attackman. It’s a little bit different as a middie. It’s a lot more hustling. It’s a lot more stamina than attack, but you’re also playing against short sticks.”
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Connor Stumpf, who was involved in three of Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s first four goals, carrying the ball while Center Moriches’ Eric Birmingham gives chase.
Mahoney said Robbins has been a good fit in midfield, and the move has been beneficial to the team. “It opens up a lot of opportunities that we take advantage of,” he said.
Indeed, Robbins has been one of the integral pieces in Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s improvement, further evidence of which was provided Thursday with the team’s fourth win of the season, 6-4 over Center Moriches.
Kevin Izzo ran toward the goal, jumped and fired in the go-ahead goal, snapping a 4-4 tie with 8 minutes 2 seconds left to play at Mattituck High School. It was Izzo’s second goal of the game, giving the Tuckers their first lead.
Holmes bounced in a man-up goal off a pass from DiGregorio for an insurance tally with 5:20 to go in the contest.
Grathwohl scooped up a ground ball before drawing a foul with 34.4 seconds remaining, helping to seal the team’s second win in a row. Two days earlier, the Tuckers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 12-7 defeat of Hampton Bays. The Tuckers, who entered this season with three wins from their first two varsity seasons, brought their record to 4-5, 2-5 in Division II with Thursday’s win.
“We’re starting to get in a groove here,” Mahoney said. “The guys are now playing with each other every day. They know each other’s tendencies, so you see the chemistry out there getting better each day.”
Connor Stumpf was involved in three of Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s first four goals, scoring two and assisting on another by Izzo.
But goals weren’t easy to come by, thanks to the fine play of the two goalies. Alec Durkin stopped eight shots for the Tuckers while Tom Demint made 15 saves for Center Moriches (3-5, 2-5).
Peter Connolly provided Center Moriches with 2 goals, the other goals for the Red Devils coming from Andrew Indemaio and Cameron Stankelis.
The Tuckers held a 37-19 advantage in shots.
“We really got after the balls and really hustled,” said Stumpf.
Center Moriches is in a similar situation to the one Mattituck/Greenport/Southold is in. The Red Devils, who are in their fourth varsity season, started the day in 18th place, one notch and only 2.52 power-rating points ahead of the Tuckers.
“I knew it was going to be a close game from the start,” Center Moriches coach Kevin Scott said. “We knew it was going to come down to the wire. Just not holding the ball on offense really killed us a lot toward the end of the game.”
For his part, Robbins contributed 1 assist, 2 shots and 2 ground balls. Then again, statistics alone don’t define his game as a middie. He has sacrificed statistics for the betterment of the team.
“You might not see it in the stats, but if you watch him, he’s the one who’s opening up that second pass,” Mahoney said. “If there were hockey assists, I’m sure he would be leading the team.”