That’s what made the difference between a spot in the playoffs and a premature end to the season for the East Hampton girls lacrosse team this year.
The Lady Bonackers won their final two games of the regular season last week, beating Bellport, 19-7, and Center Moriches, 14-6, to finish 6-8 in Division II play, 6-10 overall. But it was not enough for the team, which hoped to return to the Class B playoffs this year after making it for the first time in program history last season. Instead, East Hampton was the first team out, finishing eighth in the division among Class B schools, where only the top seven make the playoffs.
Last week’s wins didn’t give the Lady Bonackers enough of a push in the power rankings, and their failure to get back to the playoffs can be traced to three games from the regular season, where the Lady Bonackers lost by just one goal each: a 6-5 defeat by defending county champion Eastport South Manor on April 22, a 16-15 loss at Comsewogue on March 22, and a 15-14 loss at Huntington on April 9. All three of those teams made the playoffs, with Comsewogue getting the final spot. Comsewogue (7-7, 9-7) finished with 103.380 points, while East Hampton was right behind with 97.830.
“Last year, we won three one- or two-goal games, and this year we lost them,” East Hampton head coach Matt Maloney said. “That’s the difference. The season always comes down to three or four games, and we didn’t do well in those three or four games this year.”
Still, the Lady Bonackers have plenty of reason to remain positive. The team is only graduating three seniors, including attack player Melanie Mackin and defenders Gabriella Penati and Jessica Guttierez. While all three were starters and key players on the team, East Hampton will bring back the bulk of its offense and its top goal scorers, as well as several strong defenders and starting goalie Madison Aldrich.
But Maloney cautioned that it will take more than just relying on returning players for the team to get back to the postseason next year.
“There’s a lot of promise, but it’s just going to be about how they dedicate themselves this offseason,” he said. “You could link an entire offseason to those three or four games, and it even comes down to four or five plays sometimes. If you can make the right play at the right moment, it changes your season drastically.”
The Lady Bonackers were able to go out on a winning note this season with wins over Bellport and Center Moriches, two of the weaker teams in the division. In the win over Bellport on April 7, Carley Seekamp had a career-high eight goals and added an assist. Maggie Pizzo had four goals and six assists, Mackin had three goals and one assist, Cassidy Walsh had two goals, Amanda Seekamp and Bronte Marino each had one goal and one assist, and Haley Tracey and Penati each had an assist. Aldrich made 10 saves.
“We didn’t start out that well, but we had played the day before, so we might have been a little tired,” Maloney said, referring to his team’s 19-8 win over Elwood/John Glenn a day earlier. “We turned the ball over a bit early on, but we were able to pull away in the end. We really spread the ball around nicely, and even though Carley had a big day, it was a nice team effort on offense.”
East Hampton got off to a slow start against Center Moriches as well, in a road game on a rainy Saturday, holding a slim 6-5 lead early in the second half, but was able to pull away in that game as well. The Lady Bonackers scored six unanswered goals in the second half to extend their lead from 6-5 to 12-5, putting the game out of reach.
“Our girls knew that we should have been playing better,” Maloney said. “We clearly knew we were the better team—it was just a matter of going out and executing.”
Pizzo led the team with five goals and two assists, while Walsh had four goals and an assist. Carley Seekamp had two goals and an assist, Penati had a goal, Amanda Seekamp had a goal and three assists, Jenna Budd had a goal and an assist, and Marino had an assist. Aldrich made 10 saves.
Boys Split Two Games
The East Hampton boys lacrosse team finished the season out of playoff contention as well, with a 5-9 record, 5-11 overall in Division II play. The Bonackers split their final two games of the regular season, losing, 15-4, at home to Mount Sinai (6-7, 8-7) on April 9 before beating Mercy (0-14, 1-14), 14-1, on Saturday.
Against Mercy, Drew Harvey had three goals and four assists, John Pizzo had three goals and an assist, Nick Dragone had two goals, Cortland Heneveld had two goals and three assists, and Jack Schliecher, Seamus McLaughlin, Owen Cooke and Jamie Wolf each had a goal. Regis O’Neil added an assist.
Mike Jara, Daley Pagano and Sean Toole combined for 10 saves for East Hampton.
In the loss to Mount Sinai, R.J. Notel, Pizzo, McLaughlin and O’Neil each scored, and Pagano made six saves, while Jara made three.