Westhampton Beach and Rocky Point are both fighting for a playoff spot, so when they battled on April 24, there was more on the line than just a regular season victory.
After playing to a 1-1 stalemate following three quarters of play, the host Hurricanes scored three fourth-quarter goals to earn the 4-1 win and, more important, greatly improved their chances of making the postseason. Westhampton Beach (5-4 Division II, 6-4 overall, 120.66 power points), sat in eighth place in the division as of Monday night, while Rocky Point (3-6 Division II, 4-7 overall, 96.95) dropped all the way down to 14th with the loss.
“It was definitely a big win for us, as we’re both fighting to get into the playoffs, so there was huge playoff implications,” Westhampton Beach head coach Drew Peters said. “We’ve been kind of stringing along a couple of good games now. I think having those non-league games in middle of the season [was] a big help for us.”
After both squads struggled to find their offense last week, Hurricane Evan Gagne netted his second goal of the game just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Canes a 2-1 lead. Then almost two minutes later, Casey Hickey added another goal to give Westhampton Beach a 3-1 advantage.
“We were getting a lot of shots throughout the game but their goalie made a lot of saves for them,” Peters said. “We knew if we kept going at it, kept with the same game plan, we’d get a good solid possession and get a couple to go in and we did.”
Pat Yeager scored the final goal for Westhampton Beach with 6:33 remaining in the game. While the offense finally broke through late in the game, the defense was the main story for the Canes. They did not allow Rocky Point to get off a clean inside shot and forced the Eagles to shoot from the perimeter. Goalie Brian Corrigan, who finished with nine saves, was able to handle those shots with relative ease. Corrigan allowed a first-quarter goal before shutting down the Eagles the rest of the way.
The next few games are vital for the Canes. They played at Eastport South Manor (6-3 Division II, 7-4 overall, 131.39) on Tuesday, and after hosting Deer Park (1-8 Division II, 2-9 overall, 59.30) on Friday, will visit Miller Place (6-2 Division II, 8-2 overall, 127.26) on Monday and then host Sayville (5-4 Division II, 6-4 overall, 121.39) on Thursday, May 9.
Lady Canes Earn Split
After falling 15-13 in overtime at Rocky Point on April 23, the Westhampton Beach girls lacrosse team returned home to defeat Bellport 20-8 on April 25.
After falling behind 7-3 after the first half of play at Rocky Point, the Lady Hurricanes stormed back and outscored their opponents 10-6 in the second half. Alexa Smith’s free possession goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime.
But Rocky Point owned the draws in what was the first overtime game of the season for the Lady Canes, and it led to two goals for the Lady Eagles. They ended up taking the game 15-13.
“In overtime, it’s all about the center draw. You have to get possession,” Westhampton Beach head coach Ann Naughton said. “They were able to get possession twice and they ended up beating us by two goals. Winning those draws gave them a lot of the advantage and the momentum.”
Though they lost, Naughton was pleased with the way the Lady Canes were able to bounce back.
“Just an outstanding performance from the team rallying back in second half,” she said. “They really beat up on us pretty good the past three years I’ve been coaching at Westhampton, but I’m so proud of the team.
“In the first half we were just playing on our heels. We weren’t going for the ball,” she continued. “But they woke up finally. It says a lot about the team and their desire to play with some of the best teams.”
Westhampton Beach dominated play against Bellport, jumping out to a 13-5 advantage after the first half. Bella Recchion led the attack with six goals while her sister, Zoe, scored a hat trick. Alexa Smith had two goals and four assists while Sarah Culver, Sammie Vickers and Caitlin Smith all had two goals each.
Naughton was slightly concerned that her team would come out flat after the emotional loss to Rocky Point. But her team started hot right out of the gates.
“We wanted to make a statement that after a loss like we had against Rocky Point, we can come back from something like that and play well,” she said. “We didn’t want Bellport in it at all. We wanted to shut them down the entire game and I think, for the most part, we did that.”
The Lady Canes will play a big game on Thursday night when they visit cross-town rival Eastport South Manor. Both teams are in the playoff hunt and will be looking to grind out a victory.
“They’re county champs from last year and we’re going to look to go in there and upset them on their home turf,” Naughton said. “Anything is possible. There is a good rivalry there, not just in lacrosse, but in soccer, volleyball, tennis. We’re looking forward to it and it’s definitely going to be a good game.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Tuesday, 4/30, at ESM; Friday, 5/3, vs. Deer Park, 6:30 p.m.; Monday, 5/6, at Miller Place, 4:30 p.m. Girls—Thursday, 5/2, at ESM, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 5/4, vs. Center Moriches (senior game), 2 p.m.; Monday, 5/6, vs. Smithtown East (non-league), 4 p.m.