How did the boys varsity lacrosse team spend their spring vacation? Winning games, improving their record to 10-3 and gearing up for a playoff run.
On a cold, windy night in Freeport the Vikings faced off against a fast and chippy Red Devils team. Port got on the board first when Dan Latzman scored on a man-up situation but Freeport soon scored twice to take a 2-1 lead after one quarter. Goals by Latzman and Francisco Silva gave Port a short-lived lead as Freeport scored again to knot it at 3-3 but the Latzman Show was not over as he scored his third of the game to give the Vikings a 4-3 halftime lead.
The second half featured exciting end-to-end action, with Freeport streaking up the field, only to be stopped by Port's defense. Billy Brown fed Latzman who scored his fourth of the game and Rob Lutin converted an alley-oop pass for a goal. With a minute left in the period Lutin scored again off a pass from Greg Mallon and at 7-3 with one period to go the game finally seemed under Port's control.
Freeport scored early in the fourth quarter but any hopes of a comeback were cut short by the outstanding goaltending of James Pyo and the defensive work of Tommy Maher, Greg Safran, Matt Ferraro, Jonah Lovens and Bryant Rich.
Port would have been content to freeze the game but opportunities presented themselves. Mike Winter launched a rocket from the top corner, came from behind and snuck one in and then caught a high pass and whipped it in for hat-trick to nail shut a 10-4 victory.
A few days later at The Pit, Port faced off against a very highly regarded Syosset team that had some impressive victories as well as some tight losses to top-ranked teams. Clearly, this was a game Port needed to win.
The Viking scored first when Jeff Frocarro lasered a perfect pass across the crease to Jeremy Goldman who one-time it for the goal. Syosset came back and scored twice and it looked as if they would take a lead into the second quarter but with 18 seconds left, Winter grabbed a nice pass from Alex Lee and rifled the ball into the net to tie it up at 2-2.
Port refused to let up and played a very smart, physical game against Syosset. If the Braves weren't bumped off the ball at midfield they were stripped of it once they tried to set up in Port's end. And if they did get a shot off, goalie Zach Levin managed to get a stick, glove or knee on it.
Latzman scored on a man-up to give Port a lead and later Lee hustled the ball up field, passed to winter who fed Lutin who put it in to give Port a 4-2 lead at the half.
Early in the third, Maher ran the ball the length of the field to score and Port seemed well on its way to a sure victory. But Syosset dumped one in, scored again a few minutes later and just when it looked like the momentum had shifted Syosset's way, Winter stood even with the goal line and bounced a shot with enough reverse English on it to zip past the goalie and give Port a 6-4 lead with one period to go.
Winter scored again in the fourth off of a feed from Lutin and later Mallon took a pass from Ferraro and whipped it in from close range to give Port a commanding 8-4 lead. Syosset managed one more goal but it was a matter of too little too late as Port spent the last two minutes in total control of the ball and the game as they walked off with a big 8-5 win over tough conference rival.
Levin turned in an excellent performance in goal, making an impressive 16 saves for the day. Once again the defense played a good physical game and a big interception by Ferraro killed a major man-up opportunity for the Braves. Port's middies set the tone with steady face-off control and both Lee and Brown did a good job of body and stick checking opponents.
Port had a game scheduled against Hempstead on Saturday but the Tigers forfeited rather than face the Vikings, giving Port a 3-0 record for its spring break. There are two games left for the 10-3 Vikings before they enter the playoffs with their best record in years.
With their solid goaltending, steady defense, and potent offense, Port has shown it has the right components and, more importantly, plays well as a team. The playoffs could prove to be a challenge, as Port will ultimately face the top-ranked teams in its conference but if they play the game they are capable of playing, the next few weeks could be interesting.