By Gene Morris
LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 5/30/12
West Islip claimed its ninth straight Suffolk County Class A championship today, downing Ward Melville, 9-6, at Stony Brook University.
The Lions (18-1), who won their 50 straight Suffolk County game, will face Syosset for the Long Island Championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra University.
Ryan Wieczorek led a balanced attack with two goals and an assist and Jon Reese and Brendan Smith each scored two goals while Anthony Deluca had a goal and two assists for West Islip. Nick Aponte and Tom Moore each had a goal and an assist. jack Kelly was a standout in goal with 11 saves.
Jack Bruckner had three goals for the Patriots (15-4).
The Lions started quickly, jumping out to a 3-1 lead after the first quarter but the Patriots answered right back, sending the game tied at four into halftime.
It was early in the second half that the Lions regrouped and went on the attack.
Moore scored on a feed from Deluca just 15 seconds into the third quarter and Deluca followed up with a goal of his own on a feed from Aponte just 45 seconds after that. Wieczorek scored his second consecutive with 2:43 remaining to give West Islip a commanding 8-4 lead.
“We shut them out in the third quarter and went up by four and took the life right out of them,” Kelly said. “We’re a second half team – we scored 15 seconds into the third quarter and we just hit them –they didn’t know what hit them, we just stunned them.”
It was nothing new for West Islip. The Lions lost a majority of its defensive starters from the 2011 team and had to rebuild early in the season. Leave it to head coach Scott Craig and defensive coach Bill Turri to build a solid foundation.
“It ranks pretty high,” Craig said of where this county championship ranked for him. “With what we lost last year to graduation and all the regrouping we’ve had to do and the job Bill Turri has done with the defense – we gave up six tonight, last time we played them we gave up five.
“We gave up six to Smithtown West and during the playoffs we gave up three to Northport. We’re holding the best teams in the county that are averaging 11 goals a game and holding them to five and six goals in playoff games when their lacrosse future is on the line. That’s just a tribute to Bill and the unbelievable job he’s done with the defense.”
As the Patriots tried to get back in the game in the fourth quarter it was Kelly who came up with the big plays. Kelly, who made 11 saves total in the game, also helped West Islip recover the ball by hustling to the end line twice in the second half.
“Jack is just a phenomenal goalie, he has been since day one,” Craig said. “He made two or three unbelievable saves today. Right when they needed something to happen for them Jack made a play that didn’t allow it to happen for them and that fueled our momentum and took the wind out of them.”
It was a special day for Kelly as well. A member of the previous two county championship teams, this was the first one that Kelly got to experience on the field.
“It’s awesome to win a county championship whether you’re on the bench or in the goal but I waited two years behind (Kyle) Turri – great goalie and friend of mine – and it’s awesome to get one your senior year after waiting for it your whole life,” Kelly said. “The expectation has been to win a county championship since we’ve been playing in PAL – we did it, now we need to win Long Island, downstate and the state championship – that’s the ultimate goal.”
West Islip 9, Ward Melville 6
West Islip: 3-1-4-1-9
Ward Melville: 1-3-0-2-6
Jon Reese: 2-0
Nick Aponte: 1-1
Tom Moore: 1-1
Brandan Smith: 2-0
Anthony Deluca: 1-2
Ryan Wieczorek: 2-1
Jack Kelly: 11 saves
Christian Mazzone: 2-0
Jack Bruckner: 3-0
Mike Rastivo: 0-3
John Edmonds: 1-0