The East Hampton girls lacrosse team had its best season in program history last year, but with great success comes great expectations. That’s the thinking behind the power rankings system in Division II, anyway, where team schedules are created with the perceived expectation of what their skill level will be in mind. Because the Lady Bonackers proved themselves to be a competitive team last season, earning a spot in the Class B playoffs, they were “rewarded” with a much stronger schedule this year. Head coach Matt Maloney said he’s been telling his players that no opponent is going to be a pushover this year, and the Lady Bonackers have learned that lesson so far, as they are off to a 0-3 start.
The good news for East Hampton is that two of those losses were in non-league games, so the results won’t have any bearing on their standings in the power rankings. On Monday, they lost their Division II opener to a very talented Babylon team, falling, 16-5, at home.
“They’re a legit team,” Maloney said. “They’re a physical team and they’re also a gritty and scrappy team. They came up with a lot of 50/50 draws, and they had many more offensive possessions.”
East Hampton got off to a good start, scoring the first goal, and was in the game at halftime, falling behind only 7-3. But Babylon eventually became too much for the Lady Bonackers to handle.
“I thought we came out pretty strong and didn’t give up anything easy to start,” Maloney said. “But they just wore us down with their physicality and athleticism.”
Carley Seekamp and Cassidy Walsh each had two goals for East Hampton, while Maggie Pizzo had one. Amanda Seekamp finished with two assists and Haley Tracey added an assist, while goalie Madison Aldrich made nine saves.
Before the division opener, East Hampton lost a heartbreaker to Comsewogue, falling, 16-15, on the road on Friday. East Hampton was leading, 14-9, midway through the second half, but the Lady Warriors battled back and scored what was the winning goal with less than three minutes left. Maloney said he wasn’t disappointed overall with his team’s effort, saying he felt the girls played better than they did in their first game of the year, an 11-6 non-league home loss to Bayport/Blue Point on March 20. But he said letting the lead slip away late was disappointing.
“We made some silly mistakes and obviously costly mistakes,” he said. “We turned the ball over and those turnovers turned into goals or penalties where [Comsewogue] capitalized.”
Pizzo led East Hampton with seven goals, while Walsh had three goals, Carley Seekamp had two, and Jenna Budd, Amanda Seekamp and Bronte Marino each added a goal. Amanda Seekamp had four assists, Melanie Mackin had two and Jenna Budd and Walsh each had one assist. Aldrich made seven saves.
Against Bayport, East Hampton controlled the ball for a good portion of the first half, but had trouble capitalizing.
“We were able to come out and dominate on draws, but our offense wasn’t playing to its potential,” Maloney said.
Pizzo had four goals, and Carley Seekamp and Walsh each had one. Amanda Seekamp had two assists, and Mackin and Jenna Budd each had an assist. Aldrich made seven saves.
Maloney said he wasn’t worried about the 0-3 start, but said he didn’t expect any breaks to come his team’s way any time soon.
“This year, because we had a pretty good season last year, we started the preseason ranked higher, so it means we’ll be playing tougher teams,” he said. “I tell the girls that those games where you go in and think you’re clearly the better opponent, there’s not too many of those this year. We have to try to raise our level and play stronger and get better every day.”
Boys Drop Two
The boys lacrosse team is 0-2 to start the year, losing, 15-7, at Bayport/Blue Point on Monday in their Division II opener after falling, 14-9, in a non-league game at North Babylon on Friday.
Head coach Mike Vitulli said he was missing four key players in the loss to North Babylon because of the flu, and while the team has enough depth to fill those spots, because there is no junior varsity, the team is still short on experience with so many young players.
Despite missing those players, East Hampton was in the game with North Babylon for awhile, down just 6-5 at halftime. North Babylon made a run in the third quarter, going up 11-6 after that frame. East Hampton cut it to 12-9 at one point in the fourth, but never got any closer.
Drew Harvey led East Hampton with two goals and four assists, while Cortland Heneveld had one goal and two assists. John Pizzo scored twice, while Jamie Wolf, Seamus McLaughlin, Jack Schlecher and Regis O’Neil each had a goal. Mike Jara made 10 saves.
The Bonackers fell behind the eight-ball right away against Bayport, going down, 7-0, after the first quarter. Vitulli said he went to a zone defense, which he thought would be more effective since his team was again missing key players, but Bayport had success against that defense. When the Bonackers went back to a man defense, they had more success, but the hole was too big at that point.
Harvey had two goals and two assists; Heneveld had four goals and two assists; Schlecher had an assist and Tyler Shaw had a goal. Jara and Daley Pagano split time in goal, with Jara making five saves and Pagano making six.
Vitulli said it’s been tough for his team to be competitive thus far, particularly because absences due to illness have hurt his team.
“We just haven’t had anybody,” he said. “We’re a team where certain kids do certain things, and without them, you’re asking young guys to play a lot more minutes and do things they’re not used to. Their effort is great and the attitudes have been good, so it’s not from lack of enthusiasm or effort. It’s just hard when you are playing young kids against grown men.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Wednesday, 4/3, at Rocky Point, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 4/5, vs. Sayville, 4:30 p.m. Boys—Saturday, 3/30, vs. Riverhead (non-league), 11 a.m.; Tuesday, 4/2, at Mattituck/Greenport/Southold, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 4/4, vs. Kings Park, 4:30 p.m.