BLUE WAVES 14, FALCONS 1
The scorebook for the Riverhead boys lacrosse team lists six ovals next to each player’s name to account for their goals scored in a game. Before the midway point of the third quarter Friday afternoon, junior Ryan Hubbard already had all six ovals penciled in.
When Hubbard buried his seventh goal on an uncontested run to the Deer Park cage after a turnover, the rout was well on for the Blue Waves in a 14-1 season-opening victory.
The seven goals marked a career high for Hubbard, who had six in a win over William Floyd last year. It could have been even more for him Friday, but with the game comfortably in hand, Hubbard and many of the other starters played sparingly in the second half.
“He finished his shots,” said Riverhead coach Victor Guadagnino. “In the scrimmages we had earlier he was getting those looks and not finishing.”
Hubbard added two assists as well. Senior Ryan Bitzer was the only other Blue Wave with multiple goals with three.
The non-league victory was a final tune-up for the Blue Waves before they open the league season against perennial powerhouse Ward Melville at home Wednesday. It’ll be the first ever meeting between the two schools, a sign of how far Riverhead’s program has come in recent years.
While the Falcons are nowhere near Ward Melville’s level, the Blue Waves came out sharp, making all the little plays that against elite teams will be essential to stay in the game.
The Blue Waves hustled for ground balls, forced turnovers, won faceoffs and controlled possession.
“When you’re playing teams that are above you, you got to do that to stay in the game,” Guadagnino said. “We’re practicing the stuff we need to do to get ready for Ward Melville on Wednesday.”
The lopsided win allowed Guadagnino to get everyone some action and two players got their first varsity goal: sophomore Mark Andrejack and freshman Ben Weir. Freshman Austin Fitzpatrick, who started on attack, picked up his first varsity assist.
Guadagnino said he was impressed with the play of another freshman, long pole middie Blake Carrara.
“He was all over the place swarming like crazy,” Guadagnino said.
Guadagnino said it was a valuable experience for the younger players to get some experience before being thrown into the fire of league play.
“Now they get one under their belt and we get into this brutal league schedule and let’s go,” he said.
While the Blue Waves had little trouble rolling past Deer Park, Guadagnino cautioned his players there’s still plenty of area’s that need improvement.
One key is fluidity on offense, he said.
“Constant moving,” he said. “When you’re playing a lower team or not having to worry about the score you start standing still. We got to keep the motion. The top teams in our division just play fast and as we’re getting better we need to learn how to play fast.”
Riverhead had a flair for the dramatic Friday. Twice they scored a buzzer-beating goal to end a quarter.
Bitzer buried a shot just as the second quarter ended that made it 8-1 Blue Waves. Weir scored his first varsity goal in the final second of the third quarter off an assist from Mark Huysman.
Riverhead goalkeeper Alex Panagakos had an easy day between the pipes. He made one save and watched the second half from the sideline as John Roca closed the game out. Roca needed to make only one save as well to keep the Falcons scoreless.