Tough loss Tuesday won’t distract MSG girls lacrosse team from playoff push

Better this week than next.

That was the unofficial conclusion reached by the Mattituck/Southold/Greenport girls lacrosse team, after suffering an 18-10 home defeat to Center Moriches on Tuesday evening.

It certainly stung.

But if there was a silver lining to the loss in the Suffolk County Division II match at Southold High School, it’s because MSG will likely get another opportunity to play the Red Devils in the Class D playoffs next week.

“They kind of caught us in a bad game,” head coach Logan McGinn said. “I don’t think we really played to our full potential.”

McGinn got no argument from his players, who all agreed the team was missing some zip.

“We didn’t play our best, but we have another chance next week to play them again,” said senior Sofia Knudsen, who scored two goals. “Hopefully, it is a better outcome for us and it’s not as big of a gap as it was today.”

Junior midfielder Brynn Gardner, who also scored twice, agreed.

“It was a really hard loss,” she said. “We definitely fought really hard out there. But it wasn’t our day. We came out kind of flat.

“I’m really excited to play them next week.”

MSG (8-7, 6-7) started strong, but began to chase the game as the first half wore on against the defending Class D champions.

The Red Devils (8-8, 7-7) had grabbed a 9-5 lead on Megan Magill’s goal with three minutes and 42 seconds remaining in the opening half before goals by Knudsen (1:36 left) and Gardner (10 seconds to go) brought MSG within striking distance at 9-7.

Gardner tallied on a brilliant run down the right flank to beat goaltender Riley Schildt (seven saves) to end the half on a high note.

“I was just thinking that we needed to catch up,” she said. “I think it gave a big boost to the team, but eventually it kind of flattened out.”

After a seven-minute halftime break, MSG came out hopeful, while Center Moriches came out firing away.

The Red Devils made no mistakes, winning several faceoffs to hold possession, and scoring eight of the next nine goals.

“We got caught off guard,” Knudsen said. “We had a lot of mess-ups, and we just were not communicating as much as we usually do.”

Added McGinn: “We came out flat. It’s hard to recover. When you play a good team, they’re going to make you pay for it.”

Which the Red Devils did.

Midfielder Charlotte Castiglione (three goals, four assists) started the tear with the first goal past MSG junior goalie Aiko Fujita (five saves) at 1:18 into the second half and Taylor Metzler (three goals) ended it at 18:44. In between, Payton Noack contributed two of her game-high five goals. Magill (three goals) and Jessica Rosen added one apiece. After Center Moriches scored four consecutive goals, Gardner broke up the streak at 7:36 of the second half.

“They’re really competitive,” Gardner said.

Ella Suglia led MSG with two goals and two assists, Gina Calise, Sage Foster (two assists) and Page Kellershon and Megan Tobin added one goal apiece.

McGinn was hopeful that his team would turn it around next week in the country tournament.

“I told the girls that it’s not often where you guys are able to bounce back and play a team that we just lost to, next week,” he said, noting that Center Moriches had finished its regular season schedule and that MSG has one more match — at Southold against Port Jefferson on Friday, May 12 at 4 p.m.

“We have a game and then we’re right back [playing]. In life, the hungry dog runs faster,” the coach said. “We’ll be a hungry dog when the time comes because we know we lost this one. It stings but it’s a driving force going forward.”