By Dan Miranda
LiLacrosseNews.com, Posted 5/24/14
Brian Willets, Dan Rooney, and Connor Desimone each scored four goals and had one assist to lead visiting Smithtown East to a 17-11 victory Friday over Sachem North in a Suffolk County Class A semifinal.
Third-seeded Smithtown East (15-3) advances to the Suffolk Class A county finals for the first time in school history and will face West Islip (13-6) on Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) at Stony Brook University. West Islip stunned top-seeded and sixth-ranked Smithtown West, 10-9.
The first half featured high-powered offense from both teams; Sachem North pulled ahead, 8-6, as the Flaming Arrows’ Joe Caridi had three goals and one assist.
However, the second half told a much different story. Smithtown East outscored Sachem North, 7-1, in the third quarter. And although the attack line kept scoring, they were quick to thank their defense.
“The defense stepping up in the second half was key,” said Willets. “I know we scored 17 goals and it looks great for the offense, but faceoffs and defense – they’re the ones getting us the ball.”
“We owe it all to the defense,” said Rooney.
Smithtown East sophomore Gerard Arceri’s name only appears one time in the box score – a lone assist – but it does not represent his impact on the game. Three straight faceoff wins from the Penn State commit to start the third quarter got the Bulls three unanswered goals, to go up 9-8 after just one minute, 41 seconds had passed in the second half.
“Gerard made some adjustments in halftime, and really got us going,” said Smithtown East head coach Jason Lambert. “Gerard’s been, arguably, our MVP. We don’t win that second half without him getting us the ball.”
Smithtown East gave up one goal before going on another streak of four unanswered goals. From there, it was history.
“This was a group of kids who believed in each other, and played really hard for each other in that second half,” said Lambert.
“We knew it from the start [of the second half],” added Rooney. “We weren’t losing this game.”
West Islip (12-6) got three goals from Trevor Bovich in its win over Smithtown West (16-2).
Smithtown East 17, Sachem North 11
SE: Brian Willets 4G, 1A; Dan Rooney 4G, 1A; Connor Desimone 4G, 1A; Joe Saggese 2G, 3A; Luke Eschbach 2G; Bobby Burns 1G; Gerard Arceri 1A
SN: Joe Caridi 4G, 2A; Sean O’Brien 2G, 2A; Tom Haun 2G, 1A; Jimmy Hoffman 1G; Nick Gutman 1G; Kevin Bragaglia 1G; James Avanzato 1A; Michael Calvagna 1A
Saves: Billy McEnroe (SE) 7; Sean Gannon (SN) 7
Tags: Smithtown East