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Girls Lacrosse: Riverhead coach laments team’s lack of ‘fire’

Riverhead lacrosse player Katherine Goodale 032416

Will the real Riverhead High School girls lacrosse team please stand up?

Riverhead had opened its season with an encouraging performance, playing well according to coaches in a 13-12 loss to a strong Sayville team on March 18.

That stood in contrast to the team’s disappointing showing Wednesday in a 17-6 loss to Mattituck/Greenport/Southold that left the Blue Waves with two losses from two non-league games.

“They have a lot of good players on the team, don’t get me wrong,” Riverhead coach Ashley King said of Mattituck following the game at Mattituck High School, “but the lack of energy today from our team was just something I did not expect. I expected a lot more fire. I’ve seen these girls play unbelievably.”

That wasn’t the case on Wednesday, though. Riverhead was soundly outplayed in every facet of the game and fell behind by 7-0 before Kayla Kielbasa finally put the Blue Waves on the scoreboard with her tally off a feed from Delu Rizzo 18 minutes 55 seconds into the game.

“Flat, so flat,” bemoaned King.

The other part of it was that Mattituck had played so well in what was its season opener, with Katie Hoeg striking for four goals and seven assists and her sister Mackenzie Hoeg (four goals, two assists) and their cousin Audrey Hoeg (three goals, three assists) also contributing to the onslaught.

“Honestly, I thought that there was a lack of communication and listening on defense, and that’s why we failed this game,” said Courtney Troyan, a senior center midfielder who is headed to play NCAA Division I lacrosse for Stony Brook University. “I think it was a lack of aggression on the draw. We have to get our aggression back up if we want to start winning this year.”

The Blue Waves had expected last year to be a breakout season, but the team wasn’t ready, finishing with a 4-10 record.

Riverhead coaches say their team has talent, which can be seen. Kielbasa, a freshman, had a hat trick against Mattituck, giving her six goals and one assist through the first two games. Her sister Meghan Kielbasa put in two goals herself against the Tuckers, and Troyan turned in a good game, battling for possession with Katie Hoeg, who has signed for the University of North Carolina.

“We have so many talented players here this year that it’s upsetting,” King said of the loss. “It’s so disappointing. We didn’t show how good we are. This should have been a close game. This should have been an actual battle of the North Fork.”

At the same time, it was only one game and any team can have a bad day.

“I just think that if we turn the page, we’re going to be fun to watch this year and we are [an] aggressive, very talented group of girls,” King said. “I’ll never lose faith in these players. I’ll keep pushing them until they get to the level that I expect.”

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Photo caption: Riverhead’s Kayla Kielbasa looks to advance the ball against Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Jane DiGregorio. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Corrections: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Kayla Kielbasa’s class. She is a freshman. The Riverhead player in the photo was incorrectly identified as Katherine Goodale. She is Kayla Kielbasa.