There is a rhyme and a reason to Smithtown West’s philosophy of “make it, take it.”
The Bulls have the firepower to make their shots and a sophomore sensation to take the ball back on faceoffs.
The making and the taking were on display Saturday morning in Smithtown West’s thorough 12-4 victory over host Connetquot in Suffolk I. Dan Riley scored four goals with an assist, Kyle Zawadzki had three goals and three assists and Conor Calderone won 17 of 19 faceoffs as the Bulls improved to 8-2. Connetquot is 7-3.
“We had a hot start and were able to get possessions,” said Calderone, who had a lot to do with all that. He won his first 11 draws and by the time he finally lost one, Smithtown West had scored the first nine goals and were in complete control. “When we can make it-take it, we get momentum.”
Calderone said he has played lacrosse since kindergarten, but only started facing off in the eighth grade. “I was pretty good at it, went to training and it just took off,” he said. “I try to adapt to my opponent and be quick off the whistle.”
His prowess allowed the Bulls to keep the ball in Connetquot’s end for nearly the entire first half in building a 9-1 lead. Zawadzki was clever around the crease in the first quarter, scoring an unassisted goal to open the game, assisting on a Riley goal and scoring a man-up goal from close range after a feed from Jimmy Caddigan.
Zawadzki assisted on the first two goals of the second quarter, by Marc Cottage and Riley, and completed his hat trick with a goal in transition on a pass from John Hoffman (two goals, one assist) in the closing seconds of the third quarter that made it 12-1. “We don’t have one specific player that teams can lock off,” Zawadzki said. “Everyone got their touches today. We had smart possessions and moved the ball around.”
He acknowledged Calderone’s role in the offense. “If they don’t have the ball, they can’t score,” Zawadzki said. “We score, get the faceoff and score again. It gets the other team’s morale down. It’s a snowball effect.”
It was a blizzard Saturday. “Conor gets it going for us by winning the draws and giving us those extra possessions,” said Riley, who leads the Bulls with 31 goals. “Today, the offense clicked. Our pick game was good; our ball movement was excellent. Our passes were crisp. Everything was perfect.”