By Gene Morris
LIlacrosseNews.com, Posted 6/22/12
It might have been the last game of the evening and started after 9 p.m. but the Rising Sophomores staged a competitive game that saw the Suffolk team use a third quarter outburst to defeat Nassau County, 13-10, and produce a clean sweep for the Suffolk clubs in the Long Island Showcase at Adelphi.
The two teams were deadlocked at eight as the clock ticked under 9:00 in the third quarter. It was at that point that Suffolk County began a three goal barrage that lasted four minutes and saw goals from Alex Borja (Rocky Point), Jake Buonaiuto (Miller Place) and Michael Licata (Sachem North) help build a lead they would not relinquish. Shoreham-Wading River’s Ryan Bray added his second of the game in the fourth quarter to push the lead up to four.
The Rising Sophomores were well aware of the results of the two previous games. “Of course (there’s a little extra pressure),” Bray said. “When the other two teams win they’re expecting us younger kids to win too.”
Whatever pressure Bray faced in the game could not compare to the weight on his shoulders during Shoreham-Wading River’s run to the State Class C title.
“It’s still important,” Bray said about the showcase. “Even though the state playoffs had much more pressure on us it’s always nice showing Nassau that Suffolk is better.
Bray and daniel Bucaro (Ward Melville) each had two goals and two assists for Suffolk while Buonaiuto and Borja each scored twice and Brian Willets (Smithtown East) had a goal and three assists. Northport’s Austin Henningsen (one goal) and Eastport-South Manor’s William Sledge were named game MVPs. Co-MVP Colin Burke (Cold Spring Harbor) and Connor Toes (Manhasset) each had two goals for Nassau and Christopher Parler of Long Beach was a co-MVP.
Besides more bragging rights the Rising Sophomores had more at stake than their older counterparts.
“The most important part is – I told the kids that you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” William Floyd head coach Desmond Megna said. “There was a bevy of college coaches here – all the top division I coaches were here and this was their first look at these kids because they’re so young. I think they really proved themselves and a lot of them did a good enough job that they put their name on the lacrosse map tonight.”
Players like Bray and Garden City’s James Sullivan – already known as one of the best faceoff men on Long Island – further cemented their status as players to watch in the near future.
Megna believes that while the ‘Rising Sophomore’ game may be the most important of the showcase games played Thursday in terms of recruiting, many of the kids are oblivious to that fact.
“This is my fourth year coaching and the first year at this level,” Megna said. “I think they’re too young where they don’t feel the pressure yet – I didn’t sense it yet. I’ve coached the rising juniors and I think that’s the year because some of their friends are starting to get recruited and maybe they’re not so they’re starting to feel that pressure. Here – why it was fun – it was just like little kids out there playing lacrosse.”
Suffolk Rising Sophomores 13, Nassau Rising Sophomores 10
Austin Henningsen from Northport and William Sledge from Eastport-South Manor were MPVs’s for Suffolk