By Gene Morris
LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 6/7/12
Anthony DeLuca, Nick Aponte, Tom Moore and Brendan Smith and led a balanced attack and West Islip’s defense held Niskayuna’s potent offense in check today as it claimed a 9-6 win in the New York boys’ lacrosse Class A semifinals at Hofstra University.
The Lions (20-1) advance to the Class A state final against Ithaca on Saturday at Middletown High School. Ithaca defeated previously-undefeated Fairport, 11-9.
The Niskayuna offense came into the game having scored 23 and 19 goals in its last two playoff games. But the Lions used a suffocating defense led by Anthony Santo, strong goaltending by Jack Kelly (eight saves) and great ball control to keep the Silver Warriors (20-2) off balance.
“It looked like they’re pretty good shooters,” West Islip head coach Scott Craig said. “When they got their hands clean they took a lot of good shots and they shoot very hard.
“I thought we did a great job of limiting the amount of quality shots they got which really helped on the scoreboard.”
The West Islip offense was efficient, moving the ball well and assisting on seven of the nine goals. They also dominated at the faceoff X, winning 14 of 19 draws. Paul Riportella was nine of 11 face-offs.
“We knew they had a high powered offense so we knew we had to score a lot of goals coming into the game,” senior Smith said. “We won a lot of face offs – give a lot of credit to Paul Riportella and Jon Reese – they got us the ball and once we got the ball we knew we could score.”
Aponte had two goals and three assists while Moore added two goals and two assists and Deluca and Smith each had two goals and an assist.
But the key coming into the contest was shutting down the Niskayuna offense.
“We did some analysis of the team and watched enough tape to know if they’re righty or lefty,” Craig said. “They all were predominantly one handed players, even their studs. They really only had one lefty on the whole team so that was easier too – it wasn’t like we were searching for numbers.”
The assignment to cover the lefty Matt Sexton went to senior Santo, who held Sexton to only one goal – which was scored in transition.
“You’re playing against a kid Sexton who is going to Penn State, he’s ranked in the top-30 players in the nation and was invited to the World Team Tryouts,” Craid said. “Anthony had a big game.
“He beat Santo the very first time that he went and I think Anthony wasn’t ready for his speed – he was a little faster than he expected him to be – but after that I thought Anthony did an outstanding job. Even though he isn’t their number one point guy we thought he was the guy that made them tick.”
The West Islip defense has been strong throughout the season. Early in the spring the one perceived weakness the Lions had was on the back end. Consider that perception eliminated.
“At the beginning of the season we thought the defense was going to be shaky,” Aponte said. “They’ve been strong the whole season and helping us so much. Jack Kelly has been on point every single game throughout the season.”
Now the Lions are only one game away from their fifth state championship.
West Islip: 2-2-3-3-9
Anthony Deluca: 2 goals, 1 assist
Nick Aponte: 2 goals, 3 assists
Tom Moore: 2 goals, 2 assists
Brendan Smith: 2 goals, 1 assist
Ryan Wiezcorek: 1 goal
Jack Kelly: 8 saves
Luke Goldstock: 2 goals
Justin Picardi: 1 goal, 1 assist
Tanner Maciver: 1 goal, 1 assist
Matt Sexton: 1 goal, 1 assist
Lucas Maloney: 1 goal
Blake Pfohl: 1 assist
Quinn 8 saves
Tags: West Islip