Over the course of his relatively short time as Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s coach, John Amato has seen the steady progress made by his high school boys lacrosse team.
Two years ago the Tuckers went 4-13, but played in their first playoff game. Last year they savored their first playoff win and reached their first Suffolk County final, losing to Babylon and capping a fine 11-3 season.
“It’s like a staircase, and this year we’re looking to take that next step,” said Amato, who is in his third year as the team’s coach.
That next step would be a Suffolk Class C championship.
“We formed our identity and this year we get to build off of that,” said Amato.
To help in this construction project, the Tuckers head into their sixth varsity season with 13 players who saw time as starters last year. Leading the way are seniors Tim Schmidt (61 goals, 24 assists) and Dylan Marlborough. Schmidt was an all-county choice and the League IV Attackman of the Year. Marlborough was all-league and the Faceoff Specialist of the Year for League IV, winning 86 percent of his faceoffs and scooping up 221 ground balls.
Among the others are midfielder Jeff Hauser, attackman Max Kruszeski, midfielder Zach Holmes, midfielder/attackman Matt Mauceri, long-stick defenseman Cullem Glenn, defenseman Tom Riley, defenseman Gage Suglia, defenseman Tristin Ireland and long-stick defenseman Lucas Webb, who is expected to be out for a month with an arm injury. Both goalies, Rob Kruszeski and Alec Durkin, return.
Varsity experience is also offered by attackmen Tom Hoeg and Ben Schmidt (Tim’s younger brother), midfielder Ben Saverpool and defenseman Tyler Corrigan. Attackman Riley Peterson, midfielder Josh Prager, defensive midfielder Matt DeSimone and defenseman Connor McKeon are new to the team.
Nine of the team’s 11 seniors will play in college next year, said Amato.
The Tuckers have a 21-player roster, six less than last year, but Amato sees a bright side to that. “It gives everyone an opportunity to have a role,” he said.
Mattituck’s new season will open on Friday with a non-league game at Lindenhurst. Amato said, “We get to see what we’re all about on Friday.”
Photo caption: Mattituck/Greenport/Southold senior Dylan Marlborough was the League IV Faceoff Specialist of the Year in 2015. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)