The high school girls lacrosse playoffs are a new ballgame. That’s especially true for Riverhead.
For the first time in the team’s seven-year history, Riverhead will step onto a field for a playoff game Wednesday. As an added plus, it will be on their own field, too.
“It’s huge,” said coach Ashley Schandel.
The Shoreham-Wading River baseball team, the top ranked Class A team in the state, will open the playoffs Tuesday at home against Harborfields. READ
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the aspects of lacrosse that Samantha Higgins likes best is its activity. Players are moving, the ball is moving, and Higgins seems to be in perpetual motion, both on and off the field.
When two high school girls lacrosse teams that have only one loss between them and are among the best in their respective divisions play each other, it’s going to be a good one. Saturday’s non-league showdown between Eastport-South Manor and Shoreham-Wading River did not disappoint.
Both teams’ credentials spoke for themselves. Eastport, the first-place team in Suffolk County Division II, is the defending county Class B champion. Shoreham, which is second in Division III, was a county Class C semifinalist last year with hopes for bigger and better things this year.
In a high-scoring sport such as lacrosse, it is easy to play down or even sometimes dismiss the importance of the goaltender.
In fact, some observers see a goalie as someone who takes the ball out of the back of the net after a goal is scored.
A good, competitive high school girls lacrosse game was anticipated. It didn’t start out that way, though.
Riverhead scored on seven of its first eight shots, shooting out to a surprisingly easy 7-0 lead within the opening 8 minutes, 26 seconds. If the Blue Waves thought at that point that Monday’s non-league game was going to be easy for them, they would have been greatly mistaken.
The event, a series of four high school girls lacrosse games at Rocky Point High School, was called Rumble for a Cure, a fundraiser in the fight against breast cancer. It could have been called Freeze for a Cure, given the bone-chilling weather conditions, biting wind and all.
Of course, that didn’t stop Mattituck/Greenport/Southold coach Matt Maloney, whose team played in the second of those games Saturday afternoon, from adhering to his custom of wearing shorts. “No, you got to go with shorts every game,” he said.
It came across as a revelation. About halfway through the last high school girls lacrosse season, Shoreham-Wading River coach Brittany Davis heard one of her players exclaim, “Oh my God, we’re good!”
If the Wildcats didn’t know how good they were at the beginning of last season, they sure do now. An overtime loss to Mount Sinai — its second one-goal defeat to the Mustangs in 2016 — is all that kept Shoreham from reaching the Suffolk County Class C championship game.