ORANGEBURG, N.Y.— Somers’ boys lacrosse team was tied with Tappan Zee after one quarter in the Section 1 Class B quarterfinals.
A sleeping giant awoke in the second quarter, however, as the game was over in the blink of an eye.
Somers went on a 12-0 run over the second and third quarters in a 17-4 rout of fourth-seeded Tappan Zee on Saturday, May 20.
“This team has a ton of potential and when we click I think we’re just as good as anybody,” Somers coach Vin DeGregorio said. “I’m just proud of their effort. Sometimes it’s about chemistry and timing and Mike (Cliff) kept giving us the ball back.”
Vincent Cartelli and Graham Roediger combined for 12 goals. Cartelli, a junior, netted seven goals and had one assist. The senior Roediger had a balanced five goals and three assists.
“We really started to play as a team,” Cartelli said. “With the defense giving us big stops we were able to slow down the pace and keep control of the ball. With Mike (Cliff dominating) at the faceoff X, we were able to keep adding on the goals.”
The ball was moving around flawlessly as the fifth-seeded Tuskers found the open man and finished with authority.
“We usually come out pretty flat in the first quarter, but we started talking to each other and moving the ball a lot faster (in the second quarter),” senior captain Andrew Lowman said. “Once we started running our sets we finally finished and were able to rack up the goals.”
Forty-two seconds into the second quarter Cartelli started the scoring spree when he snuck in and scored. Junior goalie Tyler Carr then sprinted to midfield for the clear and found Cartelli, who did the rest to make it 3-1.
A Cartelli crank for his third-straight goal stretched it to a three-goal lead. Roediger scored from a tough angle with 2:58 until halftime. Then Lowman (2G, 1A) got in on the fun when Roediger found him to make it 6-1.
“We started to take care of the ball more and limited our turnovers,” Roediger said of the second-quarter surge. “We put pressure on their defense on the clearing game and were able to cause some turnovers. We were making the extra pass, being unselfish and looking for the best shot.”
Roediger sprinted in front and Lowman’s pass was on the money with Roediger doing the rest with two seconds left in the first half, sending Somers into the break with a 7-1 lead.
“Some of us have been on the team for two or three years now and we’ve been playing with each other since the youth program,” Roediger said. “We’ve had the chemistry and we know this is our time to win a section title and maybe even more.”
It was more of the same in the third quarter as the Tuskers kept the intensity high.
DiGregorio knew they needed to take advantage of their settled opportunities against a Dutchmen team which can rack up goals in a hurry in transition.
“My hats off to Tappan Zee,” DiGregorio said. “They’re very athletic and very good in transition. We were never really comfortable playing them in an up and down game. We know they’ve been tough and scrappy all year in Rockland County. We try to treat each play like an individual play. That was something we preached: ‘Make the right play at the right time. It doesn’t matter what the score is.’ I think they really treated this game as a 0-0 game the whole game.”
Lowman was set up by Connor Gill 45 seconds into the third. Roediger then scored to make it 9-1. Gill netted his first goal and Roediger followed just seven seconds later and it was 11-1.
“When we go on runs, we go all out,” Lowman said. “We don’t give up. In the halftime speech, coach said, ‘We’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep going and going.”
Cartelli got a feed from Roediger and finished with 9:19 left in the third to make it 12-1. Gill (2G, 3A) then wrapped around the back of the cage and finished after absorbing a big blow.
“After halftime we focused on keeping the foot on the gas and keeping the pressure on,” Cartelli said. “We kept the same intensity throughout the second half and were able to put the game away early.”
Tappan Zee finally broke a scoreless drought midway through the third for its first goal in over 17 minutes of action.
Cartelli added two more goals for good measure. When the dust settled, Somers had a commanding 15-2 lead heading into the fourth quarter. DiGregorio was able to empty his bench midway through the fourth.
Jack Kessler added two assists, while Cliff had one assist and dominated the faceoff X. Carr finished with 12 saves.
Somers faced off with top seed and defending Class B champion Yorktown in the semifinals on May 23. A win there would pit the Tuskers against either John Jay-Cross River or Rye in the section final at Mahopac High School at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26.
“I feel like we’re playing our best lacrosse right now,” DiGregorio said. “We’ve been grinding all season and played a real schedule. I think that schedule rewarded us. I don’t know if we have a loss to a team that was under .750. These guys put themselves in the fire and I think that just made us tougher. That’s all I can ask from them.”