From A to Z, Adler to Zawadzki, Smithtown West continued its letter-perfect start Friday. But right in the middle of it all, as has been the case all season, was Ryan Keenan.
Keenan, the Penn State-bound senior attack, had four assists and two goals to spark host Smithtown West to a 10-5 victory over Sachem North in a Suffolk Division I boys lacrosse game. He now leads Long Island in scoring with 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists).
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"If you play word association, for Ryan I'd say 'smart,' " Smithtown West coach Bob Moltisanti said after the Bulls improved to 6-0. "He lets the game come to him and picks and chooses his spots."
For much of Friday's game, Keenan chose to play the role of distributor to get his teammates into better scoring position against stellar sophomore goalie Jacob Giacalone, who made 18 saves for the Flaming Arrows (3-2), including five in the first six minutes when the Bulls were buzzing the cage.
Keenan helped break a tie at 1 with a slick feed on the doorstep that allowed Sean Adler to easily net the first of his three goals. Keenan helped West capitalize on a man-up situation with a pass to Matt Heldberg for a perimeter rocket and later in the second quarter, gave his team a commanding 5-1 halftime lead with a beautiful pass from behind the net to a cutting Jimmy Caddigan that allowed the freshman to score the first of his two goals. Maryland-bound senior Christian Zawadzki contributed two unassisted goals.
In the fourth quarter, after Sachem North got to within 7-4 on Jake Castorf's extra-man goal, Keenan took control. He again found Adler in front for a goal then, when the Arrows tried to get back into the game with man-to-man pressure defense, Keenan twice dodged his way into the clear for unassisted goals.
"My role is a lot bigger this year," Keenan said. "As a freshman and sophomore, I was just a role player, trying to set up James Pannell and my brother [Kyle Keenan]. Christian and I worked on our shots from all different angles in the summer. He rips it."
Additionally, Division I defensemen Logan Greco (Virginia), Kyle Mathie (North Carolina) and J.J. Foley (Lehigh) prevent opponents from putting much pressure on goalie Matt Smidt, who only had to make one save in the first half.
"We contest every shot," Moltisanti said. And convert quite a few, too.