John Daniggelis scores big goal late as Smithtown East shares in win over West Islip

Smithtown East's John Daniggelis is defended bt West Smithtown East's John Daniggelis is defended bt West Islip's Sean Collins in a Suffolk boys lacrosse game on Friday, March 28, 2014. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Some of that old-time West Islip magic made a five-goal deficit vanish and Smithtown East's John Daniggelis conceded, "We felt the run."

But the Bulls also felt the confidence because they had some tricks of their own. Daniggelis buried a rising shot into the top-left corner for a tiebreaking goal early in the fourth quarter that sparked host Smithtown East to a 10-6 victory over West Islip Friday in a Suffolk I boys lacrosse game.

"You can't let a team like West Islip hang around," said Daniggelis, a midfielder. "I knew my time would come. I was pretty quiet before that. I caught the through-ball and put it top shelf."

Smithtown East (2-0) had scored twice in the first 1:16 of the game, and led 5-0 early in the third quarter. But West Islip (0-2) scored five of the next six goals, three by Conor Smith, and forged a tie at 6 on Kyle Ziegler's unassisted goal with 9:56 remaining.

A minute later, Daniggelis worked his magic and 90 seconds after that, Dan Rooney took a feed from Brian Willetts and finished for an 8-6 lead as the Bulls closed the game on a 4-0 run. Daniggelis, who scored the final goal on another long-distance rocket, Willetts and Rooney each had two goals and two assists, and Tom Marino added a pair of goals to foil the Lions' strategy of locking down high-scoring attack Joe Saggese.

"Once one man draws attention, it gives up lanes for other guys, so we didn't worry that they took one guy away," Daniggelis said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Sophomore Rooney set up junior Willetts for the game's first two goals before Willetts returned the favor in the fourth. "I've played with Brian since the seventh grade," Rooney said of his attack mate. "We know each other's moves."

Smithtown East goalie Billy McEnroe also flashed some nice moves. McEnroe hadn't started a game before this season, playing behind All-Long Island selection Brian Balkam, who is now at North Carolina. McEnroe made nine of his 16 saves in the first half. "He bailed us out early," Bulls coach Jason Lambert said.

And Daniggelis and company reasserted themselves late.

"John is a throwback middie. He can play offense or defense," Lambert said. "He's a captain and a leader and one of our main cogs."

There are plenty of scoring wizards on the Bulls, willing to share the stage. "We're not a selfish bunch," Daniggelis said.

You also may be interested in: