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Rocco Sutherland, Jack Sullivan, defense pace Northport over Smithtown East

Northport's Jack Sullivan (20) celebrates a score off

Northport's Jack Sullivan (20) celebrates a score off a pass from Rocco Sutherland (29) in the first half of a non-league boys lacrosse game on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Northport High School. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

It's hard to say which part of Northport's performance Saturday was more impressive.

On offense, Rocco Sutherland had four goals and three assists, with Jack Sullivan adding four goals of his own. At the other end of the field, goalies Scott Hatch and Billy Kelly combined to make 20 saves and hold one of the island's most potent offenses in check.

The all-around effort led the Tigers past visiting Smithtown East, 16-10, in a non-league boys lacrosse game.

"We executed great," said Sutherland, a senior headed to the University of Michigan. "We played as a team. There was no selfish person on the field today. And we came out fast."

Fast might be an understatement.

John Daniggelis opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game for Smithtown East, as the teams combined to score four goals in the first 2:09. Northport (8-1) led 6-5 after the first quarter, but after the opening barrage, its defense settled in.

Smithtown East (7-1), which came into the game averaging more than 16 goals, was held to two in the second quarter and trailed 11-7 at halftime, before getting blanked in the third.

Northport led 12-7 heading into the fourth, and though its lead dwindled to 13-10 with 6:55 left, Sutherland scored twice in the final 3:46, bookending a Nick Roros goal, to ice the game.

As they have done all season, the Tigers switched goalies at halftime, an arrangement Hatch, who made 12 first-half saves, said makes for "a great time."

"Billy and I have been playing together since third grade," he added. "We knew we'd be doing this coming into the year, as team captains."

"It's always fun," said Kelly, who had eight saves in the second. "We always try to outdo each other, a little friendly competition."

In front of Kelly and Hatch, Northport's man-to-man defense forced long-range shots and contained the dangerous duo of Dan Rooney and Brian Willetts. The pair came into the day averaging a combined 12 points, but only produced four Saturday (allowing Sutherland to move ahead of Willetts for the county points lead).

"Off-ball, on-ball, we were communicating," said defenseman Finn Goonan, who was tasked with guarding Willetts and scored twice himself.

Defenseman Rob Dosch, who was guarding Rooney, said "a lot of people know his name, so it feels great to hold him to a low points [total] on the scoresheet. We were all great today."

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