That was the word of the day.
That was the sentiment expressed by Mattituck/Southold players following their Suffolk County Division II boys lacrosse game in Port Jefferson Thursday. Port Jefferson turned in a stunning performance, coupling outstanding goaltending by freshman Peter Murphy with a game-changing run of eight straight goals for a 12-7 defeat of the Tuckers.
“I’m disappointed a lot, big time,” Mattituck defenseman and long-stick middie Colby Suglia said. “I wish we could have played a lot better. We actually put the effort in, just not enough.”
And Port Jefferson (4-3, 2-3) had too much Murphy, who came up with some big saves. Reigning Long Island Class D champion Mattituck outshot Port Jefferson, 25-19, but Murphy got in the way of 10 of those shots.
“On the defensive end, our goalie definitely stood tall and made some big saves out there all day long,” Port Jefferson coach Taylor Forstell said. “We kind of fed off of his energy, and once we got the ball through our offensive end, we knew that we got some kids that can score.”
Take Aidan Kaminska, for example. The junior midfielder produced four goals, three assists and three ground balls.
And he wasn’t the only one scoring. Colton VanOverberghe tallied three goals and two assists while Daniel Koban added three goals, one assist and four ground balls. Jonathan Moshe had two goals and one assist.
“I feel like we were getting our looks, getting a lot of shots,” Mattituck coach John Amato said. “Their goalie played phenomenal, and it kind of took the wind out of our sails when we weren’t scoring when we had wide-open looks, and we threw the ball away … We just weren’t finishing on offense.”
The first half was a tight affair. Koban bounced in a long-range shot and then assisted on a man-up goal that Kaminska whipped in for a 5-4 halftime edge. Those two strikes kick-started a furious run of eight straight Port Jefferson goals. Kaminska netted three of his goals during that stretch while all three of VanOverberghe’s goals came in succession within a 2-minute, 49-second time frame to cap the burst for an 11-4 Port Jefferson lead with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter.
“We lost energy,” said Suglia, who collected a game-high nine ground balls. “We didn’t play like we should have. We weren’t hitting our shots and almost kind of fell apart on ourselves.”
“I think at that point, we just lost hope and everyone had their heads down,” Mattituck defenseman Matthew Warns (seven ground balls) said. “It’s not that we stopped trying, we just weren’t trying as hard … I’m disappointed. The defense played great up until the third quarter when we literally didn’t have any energy left.”
Amato said his defense of Cole DiGregorio, Nick DeNicola, Tyler Marlborough, Suglia and Warns as well as goalie Luke Wojtas (eight saves) “played really hard.”
On the offensive end, Mattituck (4-3, 2-3) received two goals and two assists from Dane Reda and two goals from Ethan Schmidt. Matt Seifert and Max Kruszeski added a goal and an assist each and John Lajda closed out the scoring with 28 seconds left to play.
“We knew they were better than last year, but we didn’t know they were that good,” Warns said of the Royals, a fellow Class D team.
Amato might have had a better idea. “I knew they were a very good team,” he said. “I scouted them very heavily, and they’re just tough kids that play for each other and they don’t quit.”
After opening the season with three wins, Mattituck hit some bumps in the road. In their previous game, the Tuckers were blasted, 15-1, by a strong Shoreham-Wading River team.
“We started off hot and now I think we got a little too comfortable and we just got to pick it back up again,” Warns said. “We’ve been playing together since we were in kindergarten, and we all have a close bond and good chemistry. We just got to, I don’t how to describe it, we just got to play together.”
Mattituck has some time to think things over. The Tuckers’ next game isn’t until Wednesday when they will host Harborfields.
“I think that we have a really good group of kids, but we’re just not jelling,” Amato said. “In the end, I mean, we just have to get better, you know, every single chance, whether we’re at practice, every game. We got to learn from our mistakes and get better and build on it.”
Photo caption: Mattituck/Southold’s Cole DiGregorio tries to clamp down on Port Jefferson’s Aidan Kaminska, with Mattituck’s Matthew Warns (29) in the vicinity. (Credit: Bob Liepa)