Written by Brian “Condo” Neice Friday, 01 June 2012 00:00
The second-grade Glen Cove Junior Lacrosse “Knights” kicked off the annual Glen Cove Lacrosse Day on Saturday, May 12, with an exciting game against an experienced squad from Syosset. The Glen Cove players continued to show great effort and determination, even after they were trailing, throughout the game. Mike Mattern showed a lot of courage when he stepped in as goalkeeper for the first time this season. He made several great saves, never shying away from the fast hard ball that was thrown at him. Ryan Houghton and Micah Stone each scored their first goal of the season with strong runs to the cage. Matthew Small was aggressive and won a number of face-offs for the team and Charlie Benazzi had an impressive breakaway play. The young Knights are improving with each and every game.
Next up were the fifth- and sixth-grade “Mid-Knights,” who had a lot to prove to the home crowd after their last game ended in a tie. They wasted no time by scoring early and never looking back. Kevin John Heenan accounted for the first goal off of a feed from Emil Martin. Heenan also assisted on three of the other goals in the game. Davey Moore and Russell Perciballi had two goals each with Robert McCarthy scoring the final goal off of a feed from Moore to seal the 6 – 2 victory over Great Neck. Journeyman Brendan Whitehead may have found a home in the goal as he faced 15 shots and let in only two in his first complete game as goalie. The defensive group of John Michael Rhein, Reece Lupo, Lucas Salerno, Seamus Fallon and Teddy Chabowski turned Great Neck back numerous times and did a great job knocking down several of their passes.
The seventh- and eighth-grade team rounded out the day against a tough opponent from Malverne. It was a see-saw battle from the first face-off, with Glen Cove taking an early lead. The ‘Late Knights’ found themselves up leading into the second half, but the lead was squandered as both teams fought to the end and capitalized on each other’s mistakes. The defense consisting of Brandon Leon, Will Schneider, Jared Buehre, Ryan Porteus, Shawn Grahek, Dante Castillo and long pole midfielder, Sean Morrissey, played well together in front of goalie Maxwell Sutherland but in the end they were unable to stop Malverne, who won 10 – 7.
During the seventh week of lacrosse season, the second-grade Glen Cove Knights took on one of the best teams in the league, Cold Spring Harbor’s Blue team. From the start, Cold Spring Harbor showed they meant business by getting after ground balls and establishing a physical presence. Glen Cove players responded and while they lost the game 6 - 1, they showed tremendous improvement on defense and a determination to compete with a very experienced team. Coaches stressed the need for Glen Cove to compete for ground balls and the starting midfield did not disappoint with Andrew Epifania, Ryan Houghton and Matthew Small establishing their presence and recording 12 ground balls between them. A combination of Glen Cove players, led by Nicholas Kodis, tightened up the defense and stopped Cold Spring Harbor’s potent fast break offense. All game long, the defense succeeded in getting the ball back and protecting the goalie combination of Mike Mattern and Victor Scarmato, both of whom played well between the pipes. The team’s perseverance finally paid off in the fourth quarter with Andrew Epifania recording Glen Cove’s lone tally of the game. This game was the best effort thus far and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with Huntington on June 1 and Cold Spring Harbor’s white team on June 3. The second-graders continue to work hard and show much improvement in this inaugural year for the program. The team looks forward to continuing to improve.
The fifth- and sixth-grade “Mid-Knights” continue to improve as they played two PAL games over the May 18-20 weekend. On Friday night, the team traveled down the Meadowbrook to Hempstead. After a slow start, Glen Cove found themselves down at halftime. After taking a deep breath and strapping on their helmets they came out fighting and eventually gained the lead early in the fourth quarter, but their intensity and aggressiveness cost them as they were flagged four times late in the game that let Hempstead regain the lead and go on to win by the score 6 – 5. Reece Lupo filled in at goal and recorded four saves before Brendan Whitehead arrived to take over his newly earned position in goal. Whitehead had seven saves and was vital in Glen Cove’s comeback with his precision clearing passes. Brandon Cossaro opened up the scoring in the first quarter with a coast-to- coast run that left most of the defenders behind him. Midfielder Russell Perciballi was the real offensive guru who collected four goals while playing only the second half. Heart and desire was definitely on the side of Glen Cove throughout the game, but they just needed to fine tune their defensive skills and cut down on penalties. On Sunday, the “Mid-Knights” faced off against local rival, Bayville, and were determined to make up for the game that previously slipped away from them. Once again they left it up to Brendan Whitehead who manned the cage with authority and turned back Bayville several times from point blank range. Whitehead finished with 14 saves as Glen Cove gained a 6 – 4 victory. The offense jelled as five different players scored and five of the six goals were assisted. Leading the assault was Perciballi with two goals and an assist. Eric Brown, Colin Pederson, Kevin John Heenan and Rob McCarthy each had a goal with Heenan and Davey Moore each contributing two assists.
The seventh- and eighth-grade team faced off against Floral Park on Sunday, May 20, and despite playing on their home turf the “Late-Knights” dropped another close one by the score 7 – 5. Rallying behind rookie goalie Perry King, Glen Cove fought back from a five-goal deficit, but ran out of time in the end. Michael Hatala had three goals in the defeat and Ryan Feldmann added two more. Joey Cappiello made a strong run to the goal, but was unable to put one in on his birthday.