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Boys Lacrosse: Lightning doesn’t strike twice for Riverhead

This time there was no lightning, unless one counted the accurate shots coming from Rob Sarraga’s stick.

When the Bay Shore and Riverhead high school boys lacrosse teams played Saturday, it conjured memories of their unusual Suffolk County Class A outbracket game last year that was suspended by lightning and took two days to complete. Riverhead, which trailed by two goals when that game was suspended in the third quarter, completed an 11-9 triumph the following day for the first and only playoff win in the team’s 17-year history.

Riverhead coach Vic Guadagnino called it the best “timeout” of his career.

Saturday’s Suffolk Division I game didn’t take two days to complete, and if the Blue Waves were hoping for divine intervention, it never came. Instead, Sarraga scored six goals from eight shots and assisted on another for a 12-9 Bay Shore victory at Pulaski Sports Complex in Riverhead.

How is this for an anomaly? Riverhead (4-1, 3-1) lost despite its senior faceoff specialist, Danny Mastropaolo, winning 21 of 24 faceoffs.

“He does that all the time,” Guadagnino said. “He’s very valuable. He’s phenomenal.”

Mastropaolo, an Albany State University commit, also collected a game-high 10 ground balls. “I know I have a big role,” he said, “a lot of pressure on me to win the ball, just to get it for our team because if we don’t win faceoffs, it’s not good.”

Chris Timpone, a junior midfielder who brought Riverhead three goals, said: “He’s very good. We have a very special faceoff kid, D-I level and very important to our team. He’s the one that gets us the ball every time and lets our offense work.”

Much of Riverhead’s offensive work was stymied, however, by Jayson Tingue, who made 14 saves for Bay Shore (4-1, 2-1).

Riverhead led only once, at 1-0 on Kamryn Gill’s game-opening goal, and had to play from behind most of the way.

Four straight goals by Christian DeSimone (two goals, one assist), Sarraga, Will Button (one goal, two assists) and Sarraga again (a shorthanded strike this time) gave Bay Shore an 8-4 lead with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left in the third quarter.

Before the quarter ended, though, Riverhead managed to equalize, thanks to a costly Bay Shore penalty. Riverhead’s Connor Kalmus (two goals, one assist, five ground balls) produced a goal with flair off an outstanding individual effort, but paid a price for it, absorbing a late hit by DeSimone. DeSimone was assessed a two-minute, non-releasable penalty for the hit on a defenseless player.

Riverhead capitalized. Timpone, who Guadagnino called the best offensive player on last year’s junior varsity team, fired in man-up goals off assists by Gill and Shane Coleman. Then Gill beat Tingue with a shot that tied it at 8-8.

One could sense a momentum shift, but it didn’t last long. Before the third quarter ended, Ryan Scully connected for the first of four straight Bay Shore goals, the others coming from Tom Naslonski, Sarraga and DeSimone (an empty-netter).

“They were just very energetic,” Timpone said. “They won every GB [ground ball]. They wanted to put up a fight against us. They wanted to come out and beat us because we did beat them in the playoffs last year, so they were coming out hungry.”

Terrance Day had a goal and an assist for Bay Shore.

Connor Batjer and Lucas Cioch had a goal and an assist each for Riverhead while Anthony Caputo made eight saves.

Riverhead was without first-string attackman Caleb Zuhoski, who Guadagnino said had a pulled hamstring.

The loss snapped Riverhead’s four-game win streak against Bayport-Blue Point, Northport, Commack and Brentwood.

“This is a very special team that we have this year,” Timpone said. “I think that we can go as far as we want to, really. We just have to put the pieces together and work hard.”

What does Guadagnino like about his team?

“We share the ball,” he said. “We play hard all the time. We’re there for each other when we need to be.”

Yet, something was missing Saturday.

Guadagnino said, “We could have used a little lightning.”

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Photo caption: Danny Mastropaolo won 21 of 24 faceoffs for Riverhead, including this one against Bay Shore’s Ethan Scully, and also scooped up a game-high 10 ground balls. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)