Reaching the Suffolk County Class C final for the first time last year was an exciting thing for the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold boys lacrosse team. However, the Tuckers were looking for more this time around when they returned to the title game on Wednesday. One gets the sense that losing to Babylon in the county final for the second straight year is already getting old for them.
It can also serve as motivation for next year.
“I definitely think it’s motivation because this is the second year in a row that this has happened,” junior defenseman Gage Suglia said following Mattituck’s 12-4 loss at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. “I mean, we should beat them. I don’t think it should end like this.”
But end it did. The Tuckers, who split two regular-season games against Babylon, finished with a 12-5 record — and a sense of dissatisfaction.
“I feel like getting here two times was great,” coach John Amato said. “It wasn’t the ending we wanted. … It hurts. You put in all that work and then to come away defeated, you know, it stinks, but we do have some guys coming back.”
Sure, the Tuckers will lose some talented seniors like attackman Tim Schmidt, midfielder Jeff Hauser, midfielder Zach Holmes and faceoff maestro Dylan Marlborough, but they should have good talent to work with next year. Among those expected to be back in 2017 are attackman Ben Schmidt, midfielders Matt Mauceri, Tyler Seifert and Thomas Hoeg and goalie Rob Kruszeski.
“We have good kids coming back, coachable kids, and they’ve been waiting their turn,” Amato said. “They’ve been waiting for that opportunity.”
Amato and players said the team progressed from last year.
“It was definitely a step up from last year and next year should be another step up,” Suglia said. “The mentality is the only thing that should be different. Last year we came in thinking we’re going to have to battle and we might be able to pull one out. This year we should have come in thinking that we had at least an even shot, and next year I want to think that we should be coming in knowing we should win.”
Seifert, a junior, sees the disappointing ending as having an impact on next year’s team.
“It builds that fire,” he said. “We just really want to beat Babylon for the championship. We’re close. We’re right there. We just have to get over that little hump.”
Photo caption: Junior goalie Rob Kruszeski is one of the players expected to return for Mattituck/Greenport/Southold next year. (Credit: Garret Meade)