Red Hook boys lacrosse hasn’t been beating opponents by double digits this season, as they have in the past, and they haven’t been cutting apart non-divisional foes. They’ve suffered tough losses to big schools like Arlington, Kingston and Pleasantville; they’ve been bested by division foes, including Rondout Valley and newcomer Cornwall Central.
In spite of the setbacks, Red Hook is sitting on a 6-3 in-division record with a shot at the third or fourth seed in the upcoming Section IX tournament—and they lit up the Section IX Class B Saugerties Sawyers, 10-2, on May 10 in a brolic hit jamboree on Senior Night.
Early in the game, Red was far from its groove and, working with its platoon of undersized offensive players, was having a lot of difficulty contending with a big, aggressive Saugerties defense. Red Hook’s primary offensive weapon Tong Guerra netted his first goal at 9:05 and the Raiders came out of the quarter leading 2-1.
Saugerties was running ragged by the middle of the second quarter. In spite of scoring a goal at 9:57 by forcing Red Hook goalie Austin Loeffel to go for a crossbody save that he couldn’t grab, the Sawyers were running with an eight-man bench and had trouble keeping up with Red on offense. Loeffel went on to stop a three-shot offensive salvo from Saugerties in the fifth minute of the quarter, and Guerra flushed another two in the period, one through the goalie’s five-hole and another on a slick fake pass, to help put Red up 5-2 going into halftime.
Guerra scored again at 10:50 in the third, and was followed in scoring by Nolan Dalton at 9:19. It was around then that the Sawyers started laying some hefty hits and applying a few more stick checks than normal to the Red Hook attack corps. But it was too little, too late for the suddenly serious Sawyers. Guerra scored on a drive at :27 to end Red’s scoring campaign in the third.
Starting defenseman Mike Gemmel scored the first goal of his career in the fourth quarter of his last-ever home game. Gemmel grabbed the ground ball, took it deep into Saugerties territory, faked a pass and bounced a shot off the ground, sending the Red Hook crowd—and bench—into a cheering frenzy. His goal was the last of the game.
It was a nice way to end at home for Red, and definitely a momentum booster, but head coach Rich Saulino told The Observer that his team isn’t focusing exclusively on the post-season yet.
Saulino added, “As we head toward the end of the regular season and into the post-season, we’ll have some time to re-work some basics, but also look ahead to possible competition and get ourselves mentally ready for the playoff run.”
Sectional IX Class C semifinals will be on May 24 at Middletown’s Faller Field.