Photos by Ray Nelson/

One of Smithtown East goaltender Billy McEnroe’s 13 saves came as the final horn sounded in an 11-10 win over previously unbeaten Smithtown West.

When they sit down to write the history of the lacrosse battles of Smithtown, Thursday’s game between the intra-district archrivals will have to rank at or near the top of the list.

On many levels.

First, in terms of drama.

The underdog East-side Bulls pulled out an 11-10 win over previously unbeaten Smithtown West, overcoming a four-goal fourth-quarter deficit.

A goal by Penn State-bound freshman Bobby Burns with 15 seconds remaining off a nice feed from junior midfielder John Daniggelis was the game-winner. It followed a timeout that came when another Penn State-bound Smithtown East standout, sophomore Gerard Arceri, won another faceoff. (Arceri finished 19 of 23 on faceoffs.)

The game ended with junior goaltender Billy McEnroe making one of his 13 saves as the final horn sounded.

Dan Rooney and Joe Saggese each had three goals for the East-side Bulls.

jdaniggelisIt was Smithtown East’s first win against West since 2009.

After the game, we caught up with team captain Daniggelis (pictured at left) to get his thoughts on the key plays and the turning points in arguably the biggest win in Smithtown East program history.

Describe how you guys came back from being down four goals in the fourth and two goals early against a team that hasn’t allowed a lot of goals.
With West having such a high-powered offense, we needed to milk as much clock as possible while leaving ourselves enough time for a  great scoring opportunity. I had a favorable match-up with a short stick, so I took him to the corner for an iso.

Can you describe the assist itself to Bobby for the game-winner?
While I was milking the clock, I realized I was drawing a lot of attention from the defense. With approximately 25 seconds on the clock, I started making my move to the cage.

With our great shooters, I figured the defense would be looking to knock down the through ball, so my intentions were to drive to the cage and if the slide came, look for the cutter. Bobby made a great cut behind the defenders and the feed was open. I passed to Bobby who had a clutch finish under pressure.

How were you guys came back from being down four goals in the fourth and two goals early against a team that hasn’t allowed a lot of goals.
One word “Gerard” Possession is the name of the game and Gerard Arceri was amazing today and has been so all season. When you have such a dominant faceoff man, and you get in “make and take” grove, the momentum/confidence continues to build.

Gerard had another big game on FOs, and Billy in the cage. They are both first-year players and coming up big. How important have they been?
Billy had to sit behind our All-American goaltender Brian Balkam (now at North Carolina) for three years working just as hard as all of the starters. It’s great to see that his patience has paid off and has been rewarded by having an outstanding season. Gerard as stated above has been outstanding all year. He is the difference maker from being a very good team to a great team.

Can you describe your goal late in the first quarter that put Smithtown East on the board after trailing 2-0?
The play that Coach (Jason Lambert) called has multiple looks all depending on how the defense reacts. We worked the ball around to Connor Desimone. As he looked to (Dan) Rooney, I slid behind the defender and Rooney found me on the crease with a perfect pass. I had the easy job of finishing it.

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