Boys lacrosse enters season with high expectations: Team looks to return to and win Nassau County Class A Championship

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Senior captain and attackman Daniel Grossman sets up the Vikings offense during a scrimmage against Cold Spring Harbor on March 14. Grossman hopes to lead the Vikings to a repeat appearance in the Nassau County championship.

Andrew Adelhart, Peter Kirgis, Andrew Adelhart, and Peter Kirgis

After the first two games of the season, the Vikings have started with a win and a loss, both games going down to the wire.  In the Vikings’ home opener against Locust Valley, Port fell short, losing 10-9.  Senior captain Luke Rizzo led the team in scoring with four goals and one assist.  Showcasing Port’s depth, five other players combined for goals and sophomore Christian Athanasian represented the underclassmen with an assist.

However, the Vikings were out-competed by Locust Valley’s dynamic offense led by sophomore Mike Madsen, who tallied five goals against the Vikings and is currently tied for fifth in goals on Long Island.

The Vikings’ second game was just as close, but they were also able to get their first win of the season.  Locked in a 7-7 tie with Friends Academy with under a minute to play, junior captain Joey Froccaro maneuvered around two defenders and got the ball to senior captain Daniel Grossman to score the game-winner.  Goalie junior Diego Alvarez made 11 saves in his first varsity start and junior Ryan Garry excelled on the offensive side, scoring a hat-trick.

Grossman’s total of four goals in the game, together with Rizzo’s four in the first game, foreshadows a big year for those two senior captains.

Last year, the lacrosse team made a deep run into the Nassau County playoffs. After a disappointing 16-3 loss against the Massapequa Chiefs, the Vikings are looking to go one step further, bringing home their first county championship since 1995.

“Our goal for this season is to be back in that same situation as last year.  This year we are going to do all that we can to win that game and become the Nassau County Class A Champions,” said Rizzo.

The Vikings believe that they have the talent to pull this off.  Froccaro scored 20 goals last year, the second highest on the team.  The team also is led by a core of returning seniors, including captains Rizzo and Grossman.

Moving foward, the Vikings have big shoes to fill with the departure of last season’s seniors.

Last year, graduate John Crawley was one of the best attackers in the country, tallying 45 goals in 16 games, averaging nearly three goals-per-game.  Crawley is now at Johns Hopkins University.  Port also sees the graduation of Derek Caruso and Richard Greenberg as a big loss, both top scorers of last year’s roster.

“This year we have to deal with new personnel.  The players we have on middy were not starters last year but they have adjusted very well to the pressure and speed of the game,” said Rizzo.

What the team lacks in star power, it makes up for in depth in every position.

“We have a little more depth than last year. Guys like juniors Luke Cummings, Conor Jenkinson, and Ryan Garry have really stepped up,” said Froccaro

“The team is so deep that after naming some of the best players on the team, I could name about 10 other kids that are great as well,” said Grossman.

While lacrosse games are generally high scoring, important saves and solid defense can be the difference-maker. The Vikings will be relying on a strong defensive unit to keep the team competitive. Sophomore goalie Nicky Ferrero began playing for the varsity team in eighth grade and has been a cornerstone on the team ever since.

“He is crucial to the success of the team.  He’s ridiculous,” said Athanasian.

Ferrero is aided by a solid defensive unit headed by senior and captain Sam Littman and junior John Neil.  The Vikings defense is also aided by the transfer of sophomore Aidan Finnerty from Chaminade, along with junior Charlie Scharf.

“Juniors Luke Cummings, Ryan Gary and Connor Jenkinson have done an excellent job distributing the ball and also finishing.  Most of all, you cannot leave out Joey Froccaro who has been on this team since he was in 8th grade,” said Rizzo.

Frocarro had the game winning assist in the Vikings win over Friends Acadamy on March 24.  This was the second game of the year, and the first win for the Vikings of the 2014 season.

The Vikings next league game is on April 3, and they look to improve their record at home with a victory over Baldwin High School.

The team is optimistic that this year could prove to be one to remember.  The seniors are especially excited for the season and have their minds set on going far into the postseason.

“We’ve got a good team and are excited to prove it.  Don’t count out the Vikings this year.” said Rizzo.

All stats are as of March 25.