For Joe Tesoriero, it’s not about velocity, it’s about location.
“He doesn’t have the hardest shot but he has a knack for finding the open spot and getting open,” Half Hollow Hills East coach Gordon Hodgson said of his four-year starting senior attack. “Then he’s great at just placing it in the goal.”
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Tesoriero worked the angles to perfection Wednesday, scoring a career-high seven goals and adding an assist as host Hills East rallied to defeat Bay Shore, 12-10, in a Suffolk I boys lacrosse game.
“Their goalie was a lefty so I had to alter my shot,” Tesoriero said of Bay Shore’s Will Decamp (15 saves). “I’m always looking for the open spot to place the ball.”
In improving to 6-1, Hills East had to overcome a fast start by Bay Shore (5-2). Ted Nagengast, who matched Tesoriero with seven goals and an assist, scored the Marauders’ first five goals and tucked one inside the near pipe on a solo dodge to put the visitors in front 7-3 with 7:22 left in the second quarter.
That’s when the Thunderbirds finally solved Bay Shore’s zone defense. “We started moving the ball and looking for the open spots,” Tesoriero said.
Drew Martin started the comeback with a blast from the right wing on one of Sean Lulley’s five assists. Tesoriero scored the next three goals — man-up from a sharp angle then two within six seconds. He scooped up a rebound to score from in close then, after Martin’s faceoff win and feed, tied it with 1:34 left before the break.
“At halftime, I told them the first five minutes of the second half would decide the game and it did,” Hodgson said. The Thunderbirds scored two quick third-quarter goals — by Tesoriero and Joe Wulforst, who had a hat trick — and eventually built a 12-8 lead early in the fourth quarter on an unassisted goal by Tesoriero. Brennan O’Neill (two goals, two assists) and Matt Ilchuk drew Bay Shore to within 12-10, but Hills East’s defense stood tall in the final minutes.
“Our faceoff kid (Martin) stepped up in the third quarter and we came out strong,” Hodgson said. “Our defense ignited some scoring opportunities.”
Tesoriero was usually the recipient. There was one telling sequence early in the third quarter, just before Hills East took the lead for good. On consecutive shots, Lulley and Tesoriero hit the pipe with shots that appeared to be headed for the back of the net. But Hills East maintained possession and Lulley found Tesoriero had the right crease for a goal that made it 8-7. “You miss a shot like that and you’re telling yourself, ‘Don’t pout. Just get the next one,’ ” Tesoriero said.
Or in his case, the next one and the one after that and . . .