The first person Comsewogue's Alex Zomerfeld raced toward after the final horn sounded to end the game on a chilly, damp night wasn't one of his teammates. The Warriors' skilled attack embraced Hauppauge goalie Richie Akapnitis.
"Great game," Zomerfeld told his summer lacrosse teammate.
"That goalie was on fire in the first half," acknowledged Comsewogue coach Pete Mitchell.
The Warriors overcame a three-goal first-half deficit in the second half and went on to defeat host Hauppauge, 8-6, Friday night before a surprisingly large crowd that came out to watch two unbeaten Division II teams.
The Warriors' rally coincided with a new tact. Against a hot goalie in a muddy crease, the strategy of shooting low had to go. "Coach told us before the game to shoot low, but that wasn't working," said Comsewogue attack Tom Cleary, who had four goals. "Their goalie really played well. So in the second half, we started shooting high."
Akapnitis, who made a dozen saves, couldn't handle those shoulder-high bullets as Comsewogue (6-0, 5-0) erased a 5-3 halftime deficit with five straight goals. Zomerfeld assisted on three and scored one - on an unassisted dodge move that put his team ahead for good at 6-5 with 2:12 left in the third period.
Zomerfeld then hooked up with his longtime friend Cleary on the two clinching goals. "I was trying to look low and shoot high," said Cleary, also a summer teammate of Akapnitis. "He knows I usually shoot low."
Cleary also knew that if he made the right move to get free, slippery field and all, Zomerfeld would find him. "We've been playing together since we were kids. We know each other's moves," he said.
Zomerfeld said that while the Warriors sometimes use set plays, he and Cleary frequently improvise. "When the defense breaks down, we love to freelance," he said. "When we're rolling as a team, we can feel our confidence growing."
That's how Hauppauge (4-1, 3-1) felt in the first half, with All-Long Island football player Zack Losco, who will play lacrosse at Penn, putting on a show. He scored on two unassisted rockets from outside, circling and dodging until he could shake free. Losco also took a slick feed from Mark Herrmann in the slot for the goal that made it 5-2. Then Comsewogue slammed the door.
"We know Losco looks to dodge," defenseman Brian Michalec said. "In the second half, we pressed him to the outside and played good team defense. We're a team that keeps fighting."
And kept raising both its energy level and its shots in a dominant second half.