Fast starts have fueled Mattituck/Southold all season and its latest sprint out of the gate helped return the Tuckers to the state tournament.
Max Kruszeski had four goals and three assists to lead Mattituck/Southold to a 16-6 win over Oyster Bay in the Long Island Class D boys lacrosse championship at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium Saturday evening. The win marks the second consecutive LI title for the Tuckers, who will face Westchester-Briarcliff in a state semifinal on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Adelphi.
“Everything clicked, we got off to a good start and we kept that good start rolling throughout the entire game,” Kruszeski said. “It’s a good feeling, going up to states, knowing that we can do that because that’s exactly what we have to do once we get there.”
Mattituck/Southold (10-8) controlled the action for most of the game, thanks to efficient play on both offense and defense, and a big day from Parker Sheppard in the faceoff 'x.'
“That’s usually our mentally, to start off fast, and that’s what we did,” said Sheppard, who was 19-for-26 in faceoffs and also scored a goal.
Oyster Bay (4-12), the only Class D team in Nassau, opened the scoring on a goal from John Tiberia early in the first quarter but it did not take long for the Tuckers to respond.
Dane Reda tied it 15 seconds later and Kruszeski added a pair of goals. Ethan Schmidt followed with Mattituck/Southold's fourth goal and Ryan Seifert's tally a minute later made it 5-1.
“It’s so much easier for us to keep rolling when we have some confidence and get a couple of goals under our belt,” Kruszeski said.
“This was one of our better games today,” Seifert said. “We played quick, we played together and our plays worked. Our offense clicked early.”
The Tuckers took a 10-3 lead into halftime and a 15-4 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Schmidt and Reda both had three goals, Seifert's brother Matthew had a goal and an assist, and Greg Hauser and Cole DiGregorio also scored for the Tuckers. Luke Wojtas made six saves on 10 shots in the win.
Said Kruszeski: “This feels great and I’m proud of all these guys.”