A sombre Mattituck/Greenport/Southold boys lacrosse team slowly left Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The Tuckers had just been beaten 8-2 by Cold Spring Harbor in the Long Island Championship Game. However, they held their heads high after achieving their goal of going deep into the Championship and reclaiming the Suffolk County title.

“I’m not even upset about the way we played and the results because we made it,” senior co-captain Sean Lawson said. “We had the doubters. We proved them all wrong. We made it happen. I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”

There is unusual symmetry in the playoffs for both of the Tuckers’ lacrosse programs this year. The boys and girls teams defeated their respective Babylon HS opponents to claim the Suffolk County crown before losing to Cold Spring Harbor in the LI championship game.

The Seahawks (12-6) proved why they are the favorites to win the New York State title with another overwhelming performance, controlling both sides of the ball for the fifth straight game.

“They’re good players, but they play as a team,” said senior United captain and midfielder Mark Zappra. “They don’t just rely on the number 21 [CJ Reilly]. So that’s a good thing. And it’s playing with both hands. They have a lot going on. “

With the Seahawks’ 14-1 victory over Friends Academy in the Nassau County Class D final, the Tuckers (6-11) realized they would have their hands full.

“We knew they were going to be really good, but I knew we had heart and hard work, tenacity,” head coach John Amato said. “That’s why I wasn’t nervous about today’s game because I knew they were going to fight until the end. We put some pressure on them. We let them earn. It wasn’t the result we wanted. But we fought until the end, That’s all we can ask for. I couldn’t be more proud to be Mattituck’s lacrosse coach.”

The Turks did a great job of keeping CSH’s leading scorer Riley (21 goals, 20 assists) to just one assist. But he has a dangerous supporting role. Eighth grader Roy Testa scored the first and last goals for CSH and Hayden Calabretta added two goals each. Matt Donaldson, Reagan Reilly, Brady McKean and Alex Bauer also scored.

Lawson and Lex Horton — with 36 seconds left — scored for the Turks.

The Seahawks took the lead in the opening matchup, holding the ball for 7:14 to start the first half. Some tough defense from Tuckers forced him to take some long shots. On CSH’s sixth shot, Testa connected from the left. Donaldson and Reagan Riley each scored a goal, and the Seahawks extended their advantage to 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Tuckers sophomore goaltender Andrew McKenzie was outstanding, making four saves in the opening period to keep the game at zero.

“In critical moments, he stepped up,” Amato said of MacKenzie. “I’m not at all surprised by what he did today because he’s been doing it all season. He’s just a sophomore, and it’s exciting for the future.”

While defenses often don’t get enough credit in lacrosse, the Seahawks used their speed to limit tuckers and double-teamers to force turnovers.

“They slipped early because they knew they could recover quickly enough,” Zappulla said. “They don’t have a lot of weaknesses defensively.”

Lawson cut it to 5-1 with 2:19 left in the third quarter with a sideways shot from goaltender Carsen Kirchner (six saves) 20 yards.

“We’ve had a tough season, conceding one, two or three goals,” Lawson said. “We made it so that’s what counts. That’s what we’ve been working on all season. I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates.”

Amato is encouraged by the way his team has grown since the Tuckers overcame an emotional 2021 season in which they have Lacrosse teammate Ryan Oliver dies All of a sudden, the team won just once.

“We lost a dear friend,” Amato said. “We were pretty close. He was going to be a senior. I think that year was really tough without him. We only won one game and it was a long season. The next year we came back and started building and doing We’ve finally gotten to where we wanted Mattituck lacrosse to be. It’s because of the dedication, passion, hard work and leadership of our predecessors over the past three years. It’s really brought us to this moment.”

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