After falling behind in the first quarter and with Smithtown West’s Nicholas Cottage dominating on faceoffs the Comsewogue boys lacrosse team knew it would be an uphill battle to repeat as Suffolk Class B champions.
But that’s just the way they like it.
After a back-and-forth affair, Comsewogue’s James Krieg scored off an assist from Thomas Kennedy with 4:05 left in the game to break a tie at 6 and Michael Katz added his third goal with two minutes remaining for insurance as No. 2 Comsewogue defeated top-seeded Smithtown West, 8-6, Tuesday at East Islip high school to win its second straight Suffolk Class B title.
“Everybody was doubting us from the beginning of the season,” Katz said. “Nobody thought we would be here.”
For a team that brought back only three starters it took much of the season to get the new contributors integrated.
“I think people underestimated this group of kids,” Comsewogue coach Pete Mitchell said. “They just play hard and they never stop. Smithtown West is an awesome team and it was a five-overtime game last time we played them. I love this group, I’ve been doing this 31 years and this is probably one of the hardest working groups I’ve ever had.”
Smithtown West (13-5) looked like they could be on their way to their first Suffolk title since the district was a combined Smithtown team in 2003 after Colin Hansen scored to put the Bulls ahead 3-1 with 4:20 remaining in the first.
But Comsewogue scored the only other two goals of the half in the second quarter, with Katz getting his first and Dylan Rocchio (two goals and an assist) adding one as well.
“We like to play through our defense,” senior captain and defender Matt Sparhuber said. “We know the offense can get it done so we don’t mind being on our heels and we love getting gritty on defense.”
Sophomore goalie Adam Wachholder made seven saves, including a key stop with 3:15 remaining and Comsewogue (13-5) clinging to a one-goal lead.
“This is the best feeling I’ve had as a coach in a long time,” Mitchell said. “We’ve had an attitude of proving people wrong because they didn’t think we should be here. We lost five games during the season but every one we learned from.”
The learning experience will continue Saturday when Comsewogue plays Garden City for the Long Island championship 3 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra.
“To keep winning and get a state championship is everyone’s dream,” Katz said. “It would be a blessing.”