T-Birds Win Three Straight Before ‘Big Game’


BY: Andrew Wroblewski

Sean Lully tied a season-high with 8 points on Friday and the Thunderbirds of Half Hollow Hills East boys lacrosse team came away with their third consecutive League II win with a 15-9 triumph over the visiting Bulldogs of North Babylon (3-6).

But while Hills East (9-1) slotted itself in second place of League II as of press time on Monday with the win, a bigger test awaited the Thunderbirds – a test they’ve awaited all year.

On Saturday, the long-awaited showdown between high schools East and West is scheduled to take to the turf field of High School West at 4 p.m.

“If both teams do what they’re expected to do, it’ll be a big game,” Gordon Hodgson, head coach of the Thunderbirds, told Long Islander News in March.

Two months later, both teams have done just that.

Lully, a sophomore, has played a major part for the Thunderbirds to become one of the best teams in Suffolk County; the team clinched its 2015 Division I playoff spot with five games left to play in the season.

With 71 points to his name, Lully also sat with Suffolk’s best as of Monday when he was tied for second place on the county’s list of points leaders. Through 14 games this season, Lully has accrued 34 goals and added 37 assists to his name.

But Lully hasn’t done it on his own.

During Friday’s win over North Babylon, juniors Andre Gomez and Joe Wulforst padded out Hills East’s potent offense with 4 points each. Gomez, a midfielder, scored 1 goal and recorded 3 assists in the win while Wulforst, also a midfielder, produced 2 goals and 2 assists.

In net, goaltender Jordan Eicholz has recorded a save in all but one game for the Thunderbirds this season – a season in which the senior captain has made 133 saves.

All these contributions and more have allowed the Thunderbirds to a nearly perfect mark with the team’s only loss coming against League II’s leader, Smithtown East (10-0).

Just a little more than a mile away, however, the Colts of High School West have enjoyed a successful season of their own.

Also a playoff team, the Colts (7-3) sat a half-game behind fourth place as of Monday and assuredly looked towards the matchup with Hills East as an opportunity to improve its eventual playoff seeding in the final game of the regular season.

All these factors, combined with the fact that the teams will meet in divisional play for the first time since 2012, will make for what Hodgson had predicted would be a “big game” for both sides.

Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, May 7, 2015;  A30)


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