Wildcats Get Tested

Matt Stockfeder (15) had a huge game and seemed unstoppable from start to finish.
Matt Stockfeder (15) had a huge game and seemed unstoppable from start to finish.
Never giving up, even when he runs out of real estate, Scott Manning (6) finds a way to surprise the goalie with a well-placed shot.
Never giving up, even when he runs out of real estate, Scott Manning (6) finds a way to surprise the goalie with a well-placed shot.
Goalie Shane Brennan (1), while getting challenged by West Islip, sprints all the way up field delivering the ball to his attack.
Goalie Shane Brennan (1), while getting challenged by West Islip, sprints all the way up field delivering the ball to his attack.
It was a well-earned win, with the team playing as one.
It was a well-earned win, with the team playing as one.

It’s that mid-way time in their season when teams have to dig deep and find ways to overcome better teams…and win. Easier said than done in the fiercely competitive, and ultra physical Suffolk County varsity boys lacrosse. That test was presented to the Wildcats on their home turf this past Friday evening and those in attendance were treated to a fast-paced physical match between Whitman and West Islip.

The Wildcats Junior Goalie Shane Brennan made 18 saves against a quality team that Whitman hadn’t beaten in close to twenty-years.  Freshman face-off specialist Joseph Neumann went 12-for-14 to set a controlling pace that enabled his teammates to spread out the offense and look for quality shots. Down 2-3 at the beginning of the 3rd period, Whitman tied the score with a shot from Ryan Glidden, and a few minutes later Scott Manning would be heard from with a beautiful behind-the-back shot that stunned the Lions goalie.

With 2 minutes left in the 3rd period junior midfielder Spencer DeRosa stepped up, grabbing a feed from his attack and using his screens, fired a rocket into the back of the net. Matt Stockfeder scored three goals with the final coming with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter. “Matt stepped up big and played his game today,” said Coach Bob Howell. But the Lions we’re not out, not by a long shot, and fought back for 2 goals of their own.  Late in the 4th period, down by 1 goal West Islip mounted a fierce attack with the remaining minutes ticking away.

Whitman would find their way, and pass a critical test in those remaining minutes. Tough gritty defense from Brennan, Addison Bermudez, Joseph Esposito, and Angelo Gervasio shut down the Lions attack for a well-earned 6-5 win. “The guys hustled every ground ball, they checked every stick, they never gave up,” said Coach Howell. “We worked hard for this win, they earned it.”

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