ALBANY — The Mattituck/Southold boys lacrosse season began as a work in progress. After dropping three of their first four games, a few tough, nose-to-the-grindstone practices were in order. Those practices worked and, boy, did Mattituck progress. Their exhilirating, and perhaps unexpected, playoff run came to a close Wednesday afternoon when the Tuckers fell to Pleasantville 20-7 in the Class D state semifinal at SUNY-Albany.
Pleasantville’s Declan McDermott led all scorers with four goals. Max Kruszeski led the Tuckers with three goals and Ethan Schmidt had two.
Pleasantville’s 10-1 second-quarter run put the game out of reach. Pleasantville advances to the Class D state championship, scheduled for Saturday at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
“It’s been a journey,” Mattituck coach John Amato said. “Every coach starts out the season with expectations for their team and hopes and dreams. In the beginning, it didn’t look like it was coming together and then, throughout all the challenges that you come across throughout the season, the kids came together, really bought in, and gelled. We got to a point where were were a really good team.”
And that point lasted until the very last whistle.
Mattituck (11-7) came out swinging, putting together an aggressive attack in the first quarter. Goals from Schmidt and Kruszeski staked the Tuckers to a 2-0 lead with 9:05 left in the opening quarter.
“We wanted to come out firing,” Kruszeski said. “We knew they were a good team, so we figured we had to come out (strong) at the first whistle and catch them a little off guard. If we were going to beat them, that’s how we’d have to do it.”
After Pleasantville planted their opening salvo, a nifty bounce shot from McDermott with 7:10 left in the first, Mattitick answered right back. Gregg Hauser scored to give Tuckers a 3-1 lead and keep Mattituck in command.
But, it was not to be. As hard as they tried, the Tuckers couldn’t find a way to slow down Pleasantville — who hit them hard in the second quarter and never looked back.
“We didn’t have the depth or the legs to run with a team like (Pleasantville),” Amato said. “But, I feel like our starting team is really good and they just sort of ran out of steam there.”