A huge night from Scott Reece made the first men’s lacrosse game in St. Joseph’s history a successful one.
Reece, a Patchogue-Medford product, scored eight goals to lead the host Golden Eagles to a 13-9 win over Western Connecticut State in a Division III non-conference game Wednesday night at Danzi Stadium. Jack Murray (Connetquot) and Casey Hickey (Westhampton) each added two goals for St. Joseph’s.
“We’ve been working ever since the fall for this moment,” said Reece, who scored the first of his four fourth-quarter goals to break a tie at 9 with 12:33 left. “We just wanted to get that first win out of the way.”
The Golden Eagles have drawn heavily from local transfers, particularly from Dowling, which closed its doors last year. Nine players are Dowling transfers, including Reece and Murray. Four are from Suffolk CCC, and another is from LIU Post.
“It’s been a lot of work, but the kids bought in and they’ve believed in it,” said coach Tom Rotanz, who won 10 Suffolk County titles at Shoreham-Wading River. “To have seniors who spent three years at another program, like Scott, it can be hard to get them to come in to a new program, but they made it easy because they just want to win. For a new team, they’re so close and so supportive, and that makes it exciting.”
St. Joseph’s never trailed in the first half and took a 7-5 lead into halftime. Western Connecticut (1-1) opened the third quarter on a 3-0 run, which included a pair of goals by Eric Caldwell (Westhampton). Reece leveled the score at 8, and though the visitors answered to take a 9-8 lead into the fourth, Hickey scored to tie it with 13:38 left and set up Reece’s late surge.