Boys Lacrosse Preview: Tuckers, still young, return to varsity scene

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Casey Grathwohl, a junior midfielder, is one of five remaining starters from Mattituck/Greenport/Southold's 2010 varsity team.

When the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold boys lacrosse team was last seen together as a varsity squad, the finishing touches were being put to the team’s dismal 1-13 inaugural season in 2010.

A one-year hiatus from varsity lacrosse, however, may do the Tuckers some good. In view of the team’s youth and low numbers, coach Tim Corcoran opted to field only a junior varsity team last year. The Tuckers enjoyed a winning season and underwent further preparation for this year, their return to the varsity level.

At the same time, Corcoran is under no misconceptions. He knows that the varsity game is different from the junior varsity version. It’s faster, more skillful and more demanding.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Chris Baglivi, a junior defenseman, is one of Mattituck/Greenport/Southold's more experienced players.

“Last year was great,” Corcoran said. “I think learning how to win and play together absolutely did a lot for us, but now it’s going to be a little bit tougher.”

Incredibly, the Tuckers are still young, yet offer varsity experience at the same time. The team, composed almost entirely of Mattituck players, features five juniors who were starters for the 2010 varsity squad: defenseman Chris Baglivi, attackmen Conner Stumpf and Richie Smith, and midfielders Tomasz Filipkowski and Casey Grathwohl.

Two sophomores, midfielder Conner Malone and defenseman Joe Peroni, have been looking good, Corcoran said, and can be expected to play.

Three freshmen — middie Jack DiGregorio, defenseman Matt Carter and goalie Chris McGowan — should also get their chance. McGowan will probably split time in goal with junior Nick Teisney, said Corcoran.

“I love that they work hard,” Corcoran said of his players. “I feel if we stay healthy and we stay like a team, that’s the only way we’re going to be successful.”

Unlike two years ago, when the team played its home games at Strawberry Fields in Mattituck, the Tuckers will call Mattituck High School home. “There’s a home-field advantage now instead of a neutral site,” said Corcoran.

Corcoran said if his team is competitive, that would make it a good season. Reflecting back on what things were like for the Tuckers two years ago, he said: “It feels so much different. I feel like the kids learned so much and they know what’s going on. At least they know what to expect.”

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