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Top Sports Stories 2018: Season of firsts for boys lacrosse team

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12/31/2018 6:01 AM |

The greatest season in Mattituck High School boys lacrosse history was a season of firsts. As in the first Suffolk County and first Long Island championships the Tuckers have ever won.

Not bad.

Mattituck also made its first appearance in a state semifinal before falling to Pleasantville, 20-7, at the University at Albany. A 10-1 second-quarter run sent the Panthers on to victory. As Mattituck coach John Amato predicted afterward, Pleasantville (21-1) proceeded to capture the state Class D title with a 16-2 pounding of Penn Yan Academy at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.

“We ran into a juggernaut,” Amato said. “They have 12 seniors who have been playing together since they were freshmen.”

“They figured us out on the faceoffs, then they kind of pressured us,” he continued, adding, “Their offense is phenomenal. Everyone can dodge and shoot.”

Max Kruszeski fired in three goals, giving him 64 for the year, while Ethan Schmidt added two for Mattituck (12-7).

The loss marked the end of the greatest season in Mattituck’s history. Mattituck overcame the disappointment of losing in the county finals in 2015 and 2016 by defeating Babylon, 4-2. Then the Tuckers, backed by Shaun Howell’s 12 saves, beat Oyster Bay, 10-4, in the Long Island final.

“Shaun was killing their momentum, but he’s done that all season,” said sophomore attack Dane Reda, who, along with sophomore attack Ethan Schmidt, registered a hat trick in the Long Island final. “Today wasn’t anything special for him, except it was just a big day, a big game.”

And a big, big season for the Tuckers.

“I’m extremely proud of them because they made school history, winning our first county and Long Island championships,” Amato said. “I think the experience this year really set the bar high for Mattituck lacrosse. It sets the bar high and I think the younger group is going to make next year’s team even more hungry.”

Photo caption: The Mattituck boys lacrosse team celebrates its championship. (Credit: Bill Landon)

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