TUCKERS 10, INDIANS 0
The new scoreboard at the Mattituck High School boys lacrosse field may have one defect. Some snowflakes were falling 19 minutes before game time when the temperature listed on the scoreboard read 51 degrees. Surely, some shivering observers noted, that must not be right because it felt a heck of a lot colder than 51 degrees.
Regardless of whether the temperature reading was wrong, the final goal tally on the scoreboard wasn’t. Those who remember Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s struggles last year when the team went 2-12 might have rubbed their eyes a time or two to make sure they were seeing things right — a 10-0 tally in the Tuckers’ favor.
The start of two new careers with Mattituck/Greenport/Southold was brightened by a first on Friday: the first win by a shutout in the team’s three-year varsity history. It was also the largest margin the Tuckers have ever won by.
Alec Durkin, a freshman in his first varsity game, recorded a rare lacrosse shutout to mark Ryan Mahoney’s debut as the Tuckers’ coach with the 10-0 blanking of Brentwood in the season opener for both teams. When the game ended, the Tuckers rushed toward Durkin to congratulate him on 48 minutes of scoreless goalkeeping.
“It’s so special, my first game [on] varsity, a shutout,” Durkin said. “It’s great.”
Mahoney may have been gratified and relieved at the same time. “I got to be honest, I definitely didn’t see that coming,” was his first comment to a reporter afterward.
“I’ve been pretty nervous for the past three days,” said Mahoney, who at 23 believes he is the youngest varsity boys lacrosse coach in Suffolk County. “Last night I didn’t get much sleep. I thought about my first game, and it was kind of nerve-wracking. I knew my goalie was young, but he played a great game.”
Durkin got the start because senior goalie Nick Tesiny didn’t have enough practices. With his parents, Chris and Danielle, watching, Durkin made eight saves in the non-league game. He was aided by defensemen Chris Baglivi (12 ground balls, 1 interception), Dylan Holmes (4 ground balls) and Matt Carter (3 ground balls).
“I definitely had butterflies, but it was very fun,” said Baglivi.
The Tuckers looked ready and determined from the beginning. Kevin Izzo was involved in the first 4 goals, pumping in two of them and assisting on the other two by Connor Stumpf and Colin McCoy. By halftime the score was 7-0. It remained that way until the fourth quarter when the only question that remained was whether or not Durkin would get a shutout.
Perhaps the toughest save of the afternoon for Durkin came with a little over two minutes remaining in the game when he stopped a point-blank shot by Jose David Sorto.
“All I was thinking was just make yourself big and hope for the best,” Durkin said of that save.
Baglivi, a senior, said Durkin “played great. I remember when I was a freshman on the varsity, I was scared. It’s nerve-racking. He saved my butt today. I made a mistake, but he stepped up.”
Like his coach, Durkin said he felt nerves, which was understandable. “Definitely, yeah,” he said. “I woke up [this morning] and I was like, ‘Wow, it’s real now.’ ”
Asked at what point during the game he calmed down, Durkin replied, “I never get calm because when you get calm, that’s when you let up goals.”
Mahoney said he knew Durkin is talented, which is why he is on the varsity team in the first place. The poise the goalie showed made an impression.
“He definitely showed he can handle the pressure,” Mahoney said. “With a freshman goalie, you wonder how he’s going to play due to the high stress, but he handled it very well. He stayed calm in net, and he made phenomenal saves.”
With only 10 practices behind them, the Tuckers played well. Mahoney liked what he saw from his offense, which outshot Brentwood by 33-16. All 10 of the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold goals were assisted.
McCoy (4 assists), Izzo (3 assists), Stumpf (1 assist) and Zach Holmes (1 assist) shot in 2 goals each. Jack DiGregorio and Connor Malone also found the net.
“They looked like a good team out there, and that was nice to see,” said Mahoney.
Thanks to Baglivi’s efforts, the Tuckers also won the ground-ball war, 30-18. “He was all over the place today,” Mahoney said. “He’s making the right checks. He’s carrying the ball up the field, and he can handle the pressure. It’s really nice to know you have a defenseman like that on your team.”
Mahoney kept things in perspective and said his team has things to work on. Still, all in all, it wasn’t a bad beginning for the Tuckers.
He said, “It’s much nicer to be 1 and 0 than 0 and 1.”