Suffolk Spartans take the field
Six months ago, the Suffolk Lacrosse Club was only an idea with no equipment, no home field and only a few players interested.
Wednesday night at the Princess Anne Athletic Complex, the Suffolk Spartans, still with only 13 players and with jerseys that arrived Tuesday, took the field for their first-ever game. At the end of 60 minutes, First Colonial defeated the Spartans 11-3.
Despite falling behind in the opening minutes as First Colonial attacked fluidly and scored four goals in the first seven minutes, the Spartans had many good stretches of play through the rest of the match.
Four minutes into the second period, Tim Thomas scored the first goal in Suffolk Spartan history.
It was an end-to-end play starting with Seth Fisher getting a ground ball in Suffolk’s defensive box and Fisher passing to Kyle Griffin who took off on attack.
After good control inside the First Colonial box, Fisher passed from high on the left wing to Thomas in the slot a few yards in front of the Patriot goal. Thomas took the pass, pivoted to face the cage and took a smart shot short-hopping by the First Colonial keeper. The Spartan goal made it 6-1 First Colonial.
First Colonial led 9-1 at halftime. Suffolk scored twice in the fourth quarter to make the second half a 2-2 tie.
Fisher-to-Thomas led to another goal. After a stretch of Suffolk on attack, Lucas Rozyczko’s shot hit the outside of the First Colonial net. Suffolk was first to the rebound and Fisher wound up with it behind the goal running toward the right wing. Fisher passed to Thomas right in front of the goal crease. Thomas jumped and volleyed the ball down in one motion into the goal.
Three minutes later, another long Spartan possession finished with a pretty goal. Fisher and Rozyczko kept possession on the left wing. Spencer Hill cut from the top of the First Colonial box straight in on goal. Rozyczko passed to Hill in stride and Hill sent a low, hard shot into the cage.
Even with three reserves, an incredibly low number by most lacrosse team standards, the Spartans didn’t lose a step through the match.
“We played well out there, but we know we have a lot to work on,” said Griffin, a senior who played attack and defense.
“We switched players between positions. A guy would play midfield, but then switch to a position where you don’t have to run as much,” Griffin said.
“I feel fine. I think the guys are all fine,” Griffin said about having the stamina to play well in the fourth quarter. “I think adrenaline kicked in for everyone and that helped us once we got going.”
First Colonial outshot the Spartans 27-22. Goalie Josh Morris made nine saves for the Spartans. The Spartans gave up only one man-up situation to the Patriots.
More than the stats, or even the final score, Suffolk head coach Gary Fisher was, “more than thrilled.”
“We had a lot of kids who’d never played a game ever,” Fisher said.
“The first few minutes, we were intimidated. After the first quarter though, I mean, the guys here on the sideline, they were telling me, ‘Let me in coach. I’m ready to go,” Fisher said.
“We’d pull a guy out for a minute or two and show them something happening on the field, then they’d say, ‘okay, now I see what you’re trying to tell me.’” Fisher said.
Fisher was pleased with more than the athleticism of his players as well.
“Even with the start of the game, the guys played hard, they really kept their heads up and were persistent and just kept going after it,” Fisher said.
“We’ll get better with each game, that’s the objective and the real bottom line is the kids had a great time,” Fisher said.
Suffolk is the newest club in Hampton Roads Lacrosse, or HRLax and the HRLax high school league. The league is made up of teams from Williamsburg to the Outer Banks.
The Spartans play again at the Princess Anne Athletic Complex Friday night and have their first home match set for Wednesday evening at Monogram Field.