For many of us, it’s the Monday morning blues. For the Riverhead High School boys lacrosse team, it was more like the Monday afternoon blues.
The Blue Waves just never found the energy in their 12-6 loss at Commack in Suffolk County Division I action on Monday.
“We just didn’t have the energy coming off the bus,” Coach Vic Guadagnino said.
Riverhead (1-3, 1-2) fell behind by 3-0 after the first quarter, trailed by 8-2 at the half and was forced to play catch-up.
“It’s not the energy we needed for the first half,” Guadagnino said. “The second half we were even. The problem was that because we had dug ourselves such a hole we had to extend ourselves to try to come all the way back. They got a couple of goals that way. Definitely night and day between the first half and second half. I just wished we put it all together.”
The Blue Waves certainly did in the second half. They battled to within 8-4, but it was not enough. Danny Paulos and Robbie Chituk paced Riverhead with two goals apiece. Mario Carrera and Bill Goode each contributed a goal against Commack (3-1, 1-1).
Guadagnino wished he knew what the problem was so he could fix it.
“We played four and three on the road, so it’s not like we’re not used to it [playing on the road],” he said. “Mondays are tough. Kids and Monday have never been great. I was complaining at Monday practice that our energy was not up at the beginning. … It looks like it bit us again. I wish I had the perfect answer to that, then it wouldn’t happen.”
It was the first time Riverhead played on artificial turf this season.
“It’s a faster game on turf,” Guadagnino said. “I thought our speed would be to our advantage. It was in the second half. It was almost took us a half to adjust whereas it’s their home field and they’re used to it. I just wish we could have reacted a little quicker.”
Guadagnino singled out Carrera, who won more than 60 percent of his face-offs. “When we’re getting possessions off his face-offs, it definitely helps,” he said.
In contrast, the Blue Waves put everything together as they registered a 16-4 triumph over Brentwood last Thursday.
“We had everyone in that game,” Guadagnino said. “The effort was fantastic. We had energy from the first face-off and got out pretty quick on them, 3-1, and then just took off from there.”
Nine players tallied for the Blue Waves, who were led by Ryan Bitzer (three goals, one assist), Carrera (three goals), Chituk (two goals, four assists) and Paulos (two goals).
Charles Bartlett failed to get into the scoring column, but he played a key role, nonetheless.
“He cleared the ball for us like crazy,” Guadagnino said. “I know the score — it didn’t seem like it was much of a game — but he was such a key factor for us in clearing. People fed off his hustle and energy and that led to goals for a lot of people. That was definitely a key for that game.”
The Blue Waves need to work on their basics.
“Our skill level definitely still needs to improve,” Guadagnino said. “We’re still in the bottom quarter of teams as far as lacrosse skills and knowledge. There’s a lot we still have to learn. In my new system … there’s a lot more to the game — a lot of mental parts — that they lack.”
That will come with experience. Riverhead had only three returning starters from last year’s team.
“The whole thing will come in time as they continue to learn,” he said. “Everything is a whole new system. It’s a lot more complex than what they were used to doing. As they get more under their belt, I just hope to improve. Our next four games, we play some pretty tough teams, so we’re going to have to play some of the better teams and learn on the fly here and get better quicker.”
The Blue Waves will play Half Hollow Hills West on Wednesday, Northport on Saturday, Patchogue-Medford on April 12 and Connetquot on April 14.
And, they will have one less problem to worry about since none of those games are on a Monday.