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Thursday, April 26, 2018: Ward Melville responds to loss impressively

   Leading off today: An unhappy Ward Melville is a very, very dangerous Ward Melville.

   Coming off its first loss of the boys lacrosse season, the defending NYSPHSAA Class A champion stormed back Wednesday by defeating Smithtown West 10-2 in a clash of top-notch Section 11 squads.

   Ward Melville is ranked fifth this week by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Smithtown West had ascended to No. 1 after the Patriots' loss last week to No. 4 Half Hollow Hills East.

   "That loss re-focused us," said Ward Melville coach Jay Negus. "This is a glimpse into our potential. It's the first complete game we've played all year."

   Zach Hobbes scored the first two goals and finished with four while Liam Davenport contributed two goals and an assist as Ward Melville raced to a 10-0 lead against an opponent that had averaged 12.7 goals a game coming into the contest. Collin Krieg made nine saves.

   "We watched a lot of film all week and we knew what they were going to do," said defender Frank Ciniglio, whose end-to-end goal in the second quarter that made the score 4-0. "Since the loss, we had our best week of practice and we were all fired up. We've had a couple of slow starts this season, but not today."

   Team work: We're used to seeing rival players come together as teammates in summer basketball, American Legion baseball or even as wrestling training partners in the week ahead of the state high school tournament.

   Most of those arrangements are between students from adjacent or at least nearby school districts. However, that's not the case with two of the best female golfers in New York.

   Seniors Lauren Peter of Carmel and Lindsay May of Auburn, who hold the last four NYSPHSAA tournament championships, will join forces in a bid for a USGA championship at the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., from April 28-May 2.

   May won state high school titles in 2014-16 and was the runner-up to Peter last spring.

   "We've become such good friends," Peter told The Journal News. "We've played a lot together and we'll go to dinner afterward or just go to the pool."

   Peter, who'll head to Ohio State in the fall, and May teamed up to capture medalist honors last August in the four-ball qualifier at Knollwood Country Club in Elmsford.


   "We're just friends who love to play together," said May, who'll play for Clemson next season. "I wouldn't call us rivals. We are just friends who have gotten so close to each other over the years. It's like one plays well one day, one plays well the other."

   By the way, Peter will not defend her NYSPHSAA title this spring. She's skipping her senior season in order to tune up for qualifying events for the U.S. Women's Amateur and U.S. Girls Junior.

   "It was a very hard decision," she said. "I love the team.


They're like family to me. Same with coach (Matt) Murphy. It was more the yardage of the courses. We play short yardages and the big tournaments I want to play in are all at much longer yardages."

   Title ambitions terminated: A Florida boys lacrosse team that ended a rival's 51-game district winning streak and then a run of six straight district championships, has been removed from the postseason over the use of an ineligible player.

   Chiles High was to meet Gulf Breeze in a regional quarterfinal on Friday. But the game was canceled after the academic eligibility determination by the Florida High School Athletic Association. The Timberwolves were set to make their first playoff appearance since 2013.

   "I was devastated, more for the kids than anyone else," coach Chris Anders said. "It's not about history, or a trophy, or a win, it's about the amount of work, dedication they've put into this team to become a family and, for the seniors, this program. It was a big heart-breaker."

   Venue news: Staten Island's Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex, which has hosted the past two NYSPHSAA championship meets, has landed the U.S. jewel of the sport. The facility will be the home of the USATF Indoor National Championships in 2019 and '20.

   Dates have not been announced, but the meet is typically conducted in mid-February (this year's meet in Albuquerque, N.M., was Feb. 16-18), which would not interfere with the NYSPHSAA meet but could have an effect on a handful of other high school championships and state qualifiers.

   The $112 million complex opened in 2015.

    • My favorite Rochester punching bag -- other than the state assemblyman who was (ir)responsible for building it in the wrong location -- has a new name. Well, actually an old name.

   Marina Auto Group announced Wednesday that it has acquired naming rights for what was most recently Capelli Sport Stadium. The dealership family previously held the naming rights to the stadium from 2009-10.

   The facility is the former home of Section 5 and NYSPHSAA state quarterfinal football games. Upkeep has not been a strong suit in recent years, and the stadium hit its newest low last fall when a regular-season game had to be played without uprights on the goal posts because they had been stolen. (Read about it here.)

   Since opening as PAETEC Park in 2006 and taking the Marina name three years later, the structure has also been known as Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester Rhinos Stadium and Capelli Sport Stadium.

   If we can get 20 people to contribute $50 apiece, I'll personally match the sum and bid $2,000 to have the stadium renamed "NYSSWA Park and Bar & Grill" for the 2019 season.

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