The unbeaten and top seeded were knocked out of the Suffolk County Class B boys lacrosse semifinals Wednesday afternoon as number five Huntington upended the Warriors in overtime 12-11.
Huntington’s Dan Plant scored the game winner just 15 seconds into the overtime period to give the Blue Devils the win.
“Huntington played well and we didn’t play well at the beginning,” said a disappointed Comsewogue head coach Pete Mitchell. “I thought that we made a great comeback but we just ran out of time in the end. We gave up eight goals in the first half and we just don’t do that. Usually if we score 11 goals in a game we win. But you have to give credit to Huntington – They have a great team and they played hard. Going into overtime and losing by a goal is real hard to take.”
Huntington, who has not qualified for the playoffs since the days the Bratton bothers ran roughshod in Division II, will now take on second ranked Shoreham-Wading River on Wednesday, June 1 at Stony Brook University for the Suffolk County championship. Comsewogue ends the season with a 16-1 overall record.
The Warriors, however, made a great effort to avoid elimination. With the Blue Devils leading 11-8 at the end of three quarters Comsewogue score three times – the last goal by senior Connor Duddy came with just 42 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to knot the score at 11-11 and force overtime. Other goals in the dramatic fourth quarter Comsewogue run we by long pole midfielder Matt Scalera and by Duddy.
Duddy led Comsewogue with four goals and Tom Hughes added a pair of goals while five other Warriors each tallied one goal apiece. Nick Saputo paced the Blue Devils attack with four goals while Plant added a hat trick including the game winner.
Possession has been the key to the Warriors success all season but when it came crunch time in overtime the Stony Brook-bound Nick Pelella lost the opening faceoff to Saputo that ultimately led to the winning goal. Saputo won 15 of 26 face offs for the Blue Devils turning one of the Warriors weapons against them. Throughout the season Comsewogue has dominated the faceoff circle but not against Huntington and not in this game.
“This was a great game and it was a great year,” said Mitchell. “We had a lot of aspirations in the beginning and all four teams in the A and B finals are teams that we beat this year. But that’s lacrosse and that is what makes it a great sport.”
Next year Mitchell is looking at essentially a whole new team. The Warriors graduate 21 seniors and will return just three starters.
“I think that we’ll be a good team,” said Mitchell. “But we’ll be a different team. It will be more of a reloading year rather than a rebuilding year for us.”
So the Comsewogue 16-game winning streak is over in a heartbreaking fashion. Would it have been any different had the Warriors lost a game in the regular season?
“The players might not agree but I almost would rather have lost a game earlier than to lose now in the playoffs,” said Mitchell. “Especially when we came back and then lost overtime – that’s a hard pill to swallow.”