BLUE WAVES 18, EAGLES 1
The scenario set up like a playoff: One game left in the season. Win or go home.
The Riverhead Blue Waves, after narrowly missing the postseason a year ago, needed a win Saturday in the final game of the regular season to keep their season alive. It took only a few minutes after the opening whistle for the outcome to become inevitable.
The Blue Waves scored early and often against a Copiague team that could offer little resistance. By the time it was over, the Blue Waves had an 18-1 victory to finish 6-6 in League II.
The pomp and circumstance of the team’s Senior Day ended with a joyous tailgate party in the high school parking lot as players, parents and coaches relished the team’s success.
Now, the Blue Waves will wait to see who they face in the first round of the Class A playoffs, which are slated to begin Friday. Riverhead coach Vic Guadagnino said the team should know by Wednesday afternoon which of the top teams in the county the Blue Waves will be paired up against.
It will be just the second playoff game in Riverhead lacrosse history. In 2013, the Blue Waves made history by playing Smithtown East in the first postseason game in the team’s 11-year history.
Still up for grabs is the program’s first playoff win.
Against the Eagles, Riverhead had 11 different players score goals in a game where all the reserves, including a few JV call-ups, got to play.
The Blue Waves even had their starting goalkeeper, John Roca, in the field in the second half, an experiment Guadagnino said they tried a few times in recent games.
Roca made it count, scoring the team’s 18th goal. It was his first varsity goal for the goalkeeper who’s headed to Dowling College to play lacrosse next year.
Austin Fitzpatrick and Mark Andrejack both scored three goals in the win. Chris Flood, Ben Weir and Carson Wells all scored twice.
The Blue Waves led 9-0 after the first quarter and 15-1 by halftime. In the second half, with the clock running, the Blue Waves spent most of the time simply passing the ball in a game of keep-away to run off the clock.
The Blue Waves, in a nod toward sportsmanship, did not look to score in the fourth quarter.
Guadagnino said he remembered the first time playing against Copiague when he started at Riverhead five years ago. It was a game the Blue Waves had to fight to win, 7-5, he said.
“We’ve come a long way,” he said.