The Smithtown East girls lacrosse team is peaking at the right time.
With playoffs looming, the Bulls entered Wednesday’s regular season finale against host Riverhead rolling. Thanks to an 8-0 spurt in the first half and six goals and two assists from Shannon Kavanagh, the Bulls beat the Blue Wave, 17-7, finishing the Suffolk I schedule on a nine-game winning streak.
Julia Smith added five goals and an assist for Smithtown East (12-2).
“We take one day at a time,” Smith said. “Winning these big games gives us a lot of confidence.”
It was Smith’s free position goal with 17:50 left in the first that gave the Bulls a 5-2 lead and started the scoring run. She scored twice more in the stretch, which ended when Kavanagh fired a laser from outside the eight-meter line into the net with 4:37 left in the half.
Riverhead’s Kayla Kielbasa, who had three goals, ended the Bulls’ run on an assist from her younger sister, Megan, with 3:28 left before halftime
The Bulls led 12-3 at the half, with two goals and two assists from Isabella Costa also helping the cause.
Kate Schmal and Sydney Strcich were integral parts of a defense that slid well and closed off shooting channels for Patricia Werker, who made seven saves. Riverhead (9-5) was limited to 15 shots.
Riverhead is another example of a strong Suffolk I team downed by Smithtown East, which has defeated other contenders in Smithtown West, Sachem North, Northport, Half Hollow Hills and West Islip during its streak.
It was a one-goal loss to West Islip in last year’s quarterfinals that has served as a motivating factor.
“I think part of it is carrying us,” said Kavanagh, a senior bound for Florida. “We always have in the back of our heads that loss against West Islip on their home field.”
Kavanagh and Smith agree that this team has the pieces to make a stronger push at a county title.
“I think we have the personnel to do whatever,” Kavanagh said. “There’s always good shots, we have a good defense, a good goalie. There isn’t a spot on our team that’s really weak.”