05/09/13 7:26pm
05/09/2013 7:26 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck/Greenport/Southold's Connor Stumpf, far left, and Harborfields' John Malico, center, battle for a loose ball.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Connor Stumpf, far left, and Harborfields’ John Malico, center, battle for a loose ball.

TORNADOES 6, TUCKERS 3

They leave with no championships. They leave without having experienced a playoff game. They leave without having enjoyed a winning season. But that doesn’t mean the nine seniors on the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold boys lacrosse team bid adieu to their high school playing careers without having left an impact.

Should the Tuckers someday win a Suffolk County championship, they may look back to this group of seniors and say it started with them.

Some of the seniors played for the Tuckers’ first varsity team as freshmen. This year they were all part of the third varsity season (when they were sophomores, the Tuckers dropped the varsity team and played a junior varsity schedule). This is the year that may be referred to as the year when the Tuckers made a significant move toward becoming competitive.

Mattituck/Greenport/Southold went 3-25 in its first two varsity seasons, but completed its 2013 season with a 6-10 record, 4-10 in Suffolk County Division II.

“I think the seniors, including me, just got tired of losing,” said senior defenseman Chris Baglivi.

This year was undoubtedly a step forward for the Tuckers, who defeated Brentwood, Hampton Bays (twice), Center Moriches, Deer Park and Bishop McGann-Mercy. Unquestionably, the Tuckers were the victims of some blowouts, too, but the progress was evident. The team’s rookie coach, Ryan Mahoney, was quick to credit the players and the coaches who ran the team before him.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jack DiGregorio, who took a game-high eight shots, scored one of Mattituck/Greenport/Southold's goals against Harborfields.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Jack DiGregorio, who took a game-high eight shots, scored one of Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s goals against Harborfields.

“With the groundwork that the previous coaches laid, it helped me a lot, and we’re starting to turn it around,” he said. “It’s getting there.”

The Tuckers were hoping to send their seniors off with a win in their final high school game on Thursday, but it wasn’t to be. Harborfields scored the game’s first five goals on the way to a 6-3 win at Mattituck High School. Terrence Haggerty, a sophomore attackman, led five Harborfields scorers with two goals from seven shots and one assist. Troy Bocchicchio and Christopher Tirrito added a goal and an assist each for the Tornadoes (6-9, 6-7), who also received goals from Collin Maher and Ryan Vassar.

Koli Snodgrass (three saves) and Kyle Lumpe (seven saves) each played a half in goal for Harborfields. The Tornadoes held a 32-21 advantage in shots.

Mahoney started all of his seniors. In addition to Baglivi, Christian Davis, Casey Grathwohl, Kevin Izzo, Colin McCoy, Ben Pileski, Connor Stumpf, Nick Tesiny and Justin Tyler trotted onto the field wearing the Tuckers’ uniform for the last time.

“For myself it was definitely difficult,” Baglivi said. “It was definitely emotional. My head wasn’t where I wanted it to be because I was just thinking, ‘This is the last time I’m going to be on the field.’ It’s sad.”

Tesiny, who backed up Alec Durkin in goal for much of the season, played the entire game and played quite well. He made 10 saves, about half of which were especially tough.

Asked afterward if he was inspired by the occasion, Tesiny replied: “I’m always inspired to play well. If it was any other day, I would have played just as well. I guess today because it was Senior Night, there was definitely something in the air.”

The Tuckers didn’t register their first goal until Jack DiGregorio’s unassisted strike 8 minutes 30 seconds into the third quarter. Fourth-quarter goals for the Tuckers were supplied, fittingly, by seniors, Grathwohl and Izzo (assisted by Stumpf). It was also during that quarter when Izzo and Connor Malone fired shots off the pipe.

Harborfields looked like a playoff team even though its coach, Rich Petillo, said the Tornadoes do not have a chance to make it into the postseason.

“That’s the problem,” he said. “It’s been up and down. There was a turning point in the season where we’ve stepped it up and played well against the good teams, and then we didn’t carry it over to the next game, so we couldn’t maintain that high intensity, that high level. That’s something that they have to learn.”

Taking note of Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s record, Petillo said he noticed an improvement in the Tuckers.

“That’s a huge compliment to the coach and the players out here,” he said. “They’re working hard and you can see it on the field. This is a nice team.”

Some of the Tuckers — like Baglivi, Izzo, McCoy and Stumpf — have college lacrosse in their future. For others, it may be the last time they play.

“It’s weird that it’s over,” Tesiny said. “We were the beginning, but we pass it on to another generation that will keep it going.”

[email protected]

11/01/11 5:49pm
11/01/2011 5:49 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck goaltender Alexis Reed stopped this shot, with Harborfields' Isabelle Wechsler (6) and Kaitlin Cassar (4) lurking in the vicinity.

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | TORNADOES 3, CLIPPERS 1

Todd Gulluscio had said before the season that this would be his final run as the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island high school field hockey coach. Having said that, he hoped that the season would go on a little longer, but he surely couldn’t have complained about how long it lasted.

The record will show that Gulluscio’s seventh and final year as the Clippers’ coach was his best. Not only that, but it was the most successful season the team has enjoyed since at least 1987.

Greenport ended a long playoff drought this year. The best research Gulluscio could come up with showed that the Clippers had not reached the playoffs since at least 1987, if not earlier. They ended that dry spell this year, but then their season ended on Tuesday. Kasey Stolba scored a goal from a penalty stroke and assisted on another goal for second-seeded Harborfields, which handed No. 7 Greenport a 3-1 defeat in a Suffolk County Class B Tournament outbracket game.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Todd Gulluscio spoke to his players following his final game as Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island's coach.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad way for Gulluscio to go out.

“They gave me a gift, I’ll tell you that right now,” he said of his players. “I know they worked hard for me, and I’ll never question that as long as I live.”

The Clippers surely worked hard at Harborfields High School. The Tornadoes saw to that.

It was a memorable win for Harborfields, which will play at home against Rocky Point or Southampton in a county semifinal on Friday. Harborfields coach Lauren Desiderio said she wasn’t sure, but it might have been the first playoff win in team history. “It’s a big step,” she said.

And they took that big step with a lot of running. The Tornadoes (10-7) run like deer, and they put a lot of pressure on the Clippers (10-7) and their standout goaltender, Alexis Reed.

“We do do a lot of physical fitness to get them into shape, and we have a great bench that can come in and help out when they’re out of breath,” Desiderio said. “But, yes, they ran for 60 minutes today.”

It was Stolba’s well-taken penalty stroke 8 minutes 48 seconds into the second half that gave Harborfields a 2-1 lead.

Later, the Tornadoes exerted great pressure on the Greenport goal and it paid off. With Reed down on the ground, Harborfields kept plugging away until Isabelle Wechsler was able to knock the ball over the goal line for a 3-1 lead with 14:35 remaining. Gianna Santomauro assisted.

Reed, a senior who is one of the top goalies in the county, played well, making nine saves in her final game for the Clippers. She was sharp, especially early on when she made a brilliant leg save on a shot that Samantha Gray snapped off a pass from Santomauro. Reed even did well to block a ball that deflected off one of her defenders, Megan Mundy.

“She made some awesome saves,” Desiderio said. “She really kept her team in the game. It was a good challenge for us. It made our team work really hard.”

But Harborfields eventually broke the ice with 6:01 left in the first half. Wechsler took a penalty corner, pushing the ball to Stolba. The senior midfielder then fired a shot that Katie DeNicola redirected into the goal.

Harborfields continued to pepper shots at the Greenport goal, but Reed was able to deny the Tornadoes before Sarah Tuthill produced an equalizer for the Clippers at 4:00 of the second half. Kerri Hands slid the ball across the goalmouth to Tuthill, who slammed it in.

“I thought we were doing well, and then it was just like a lapse that got us down,” Reed said. “I thought we would bounce back, but it’s O.K. It’s a tough loss. … Somebody had to lose the game. It just stinks that it was us.”

Harborfields outshot the visitors, 16-6, and earned 15 penalty corners to Greenport’s two.

The Tornadoes were so focused on preparing for a penalty corner that they were awarded in the game’s dying moments that their coach had to tell them the contest was over. Then they jumped for joy and celebrated.

“It’s the greatest feeling ever,” Stolba said. “I’m so proud of every single one of my teammates.”

The Clippers experienced similar joy last week when Gulluscio called his players out of their classes and used a SMART Board to show them that they had bumped Comsewogue out of sixth place in the Division III final regular-season standings. The players knew what that meant: They were in the playoffs.

“All of us were just screaming,” Reed said. “The entire school probably heard our screams and some of us were crying.”

After the game, fans applauded the Greenport players as they walked off the field for the last time. Shortly after that, Gulluscio walked off the field for the last time.

Gulluscio, who will remain in his post as the Greenport athletic director, finished with a 28-80 (.259) career record. But 41 of those losses came in his first three years, and the Clippers have shown steady improvement in recent years.

“It’s been a heck of a seven years,” Gulluscio said, “and I’m very proud of where the program has gone.”

[email protected]