Losing to Chaminade for the second straight year has its benefits for the West Islip boys lacrosse team.
After Saturday’s 9-4 home defeat, coach Scott Craig said the Flyers might have been just a little too much to handle for the younger, less experienced Lions.
“They’re the No. 2 team in the nation and their defense is very large, imposing and physical,” Craig said. “It’s one of the best teams we’re going to see this year, if not the best.”
West Islip seemed to make adjustments to open the third quarter Saturday after a 5-2 first-half deficit. But the team allowed four goals in the fourth.
“We’re going to go out there and clean up our clearing game,” Craig said. “We seemed confused with what we were trying to do.”
Nerves may have been a factor, too, the coach added. But West Islip, defending state champion, is expected to play in more high-pressure situations as the season progresses and may benefit from the loss in the long run.
“Without a doubt,” Craig said. “I think playing this type of game on television with this kind of crowd, I think we were a little rattled. There’s no doubt about that. But this was a great experience for them and great preparation for the future. As we play, down the road, we’ll be able to have this experience in our back pocket.”
Before the game Craig predicted junior Mike Moynihan would have a good showing with Penn State-bound attack Nick Aponte missing the game. Craig was half-right; Moynihan finished with a hat trick but Aponte actually played.
After Newsday reported Aponte would miss the game, the senior visited his doctor for a second time and reported little soreness in his shoulder. A meeting with the doctor and trainer followed and it was determined that the apparent shoulder injury was not a sprain but just spasms in his trap that eventually simmered down.
Said Craig: “I actually texted the doctor and asked, ‘Are you for real?’”
Aponte played, but was defended well by Chaminade’s Tim Muller and was held scoreless.
Last March, after a 7-6 loss to Chaminade, the Lions ran the table toward a championship.
Might that happen again?
“We’ll have to see,” Craig said. “The other game was a little tighter than this one. We’re not quite as far along in our process but I think they’re a very, very good team. It’s hard to really measure yourself against a really good team and that’s where they’re at.”