Veteran-led lacrosse team seeks state championship: With multiple Division I committed players, Port expects winning season

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Senior captain Joey Froccaro cradles the ball during a game against the Friends Academy Quakers on March 24. Froccaro scored four goals en route to a 13-7 win, the team’s third in its first three games.

Kevin Hazan, Staff Writer

The boys varsity lacrosse team has gotten its 2015 campaing off to a quick start, winning each of its first three games of the season.

Their first win came against South Side on March 17, with a score of 8-3.

Senior captain Joey Froccaro, as well as senior Ryan Gary, led the team in this win, contributing 3 goals and 2 goals, respectively.  Junior Nick Ferrero had 6 saves on the day.

The team’s second win came against Locust Valley, and the Vikings triumphed over the Falcons by a score of 16-3.

Froccaro and junior Seth Obadia led the Vikings to their second win, scoring 4 goals each.

With such a large margin between the scores, the starters got to rest and cheered on their fellow teammates in a well-deserved win.

Last year, losing 9-10 to Locust Valley, and losing to South Side 6-7, both close, tough losses, were hard for the team.

“After losing last year in the quarter finals to Farmingdale, it gave us a sour taste in our mouths that we didn’t want to experience again” said junior Aidan Finnerty.  “We didn’t want a repeat of last year, so we worked that much harder.”

With that in mind, the team went in thinking it was time for redemption.

Having played with the current team for months before the season officially started helped to unify them and work out kinks.

“We need to stick to our game plan and trust each other and our coaches on the field.  We put in a lot of time practicing and watching game film to be successful,” said junior Chris Athanasian.

So far, winning has not come easy.  The team had to overcome many obstacles this year in order to achieve their success, beginning with issues having to do with holding practices.

Due to the harsh weather conditions over the past few months, the team had not been able to practice on the turf during the first couple weeks of the season.

Instead, they rented out a turf field in Cantiague Park to get practice time in on a full field.

This required the players to either wake up early or stay late for practice, depending on the day.

“Practicing outside has given us an advantage against our opponents.  We have practiced clearing and full-field situations more than our opponents,” said Athanasian.

This extra practice has given them what they consider to be the edge they needed to come out to a strong start this year.

Additionally, this weather has prepared the players for any conditions they might have to play in.

There will not be ideal conditions every game, so practicing in this weather helps for whatever challenge might appear in the future.

Whether it be the cold or the rain, the team will be ready.

This year’s squad ranges from freshman to seniors, including many returning varsity players.

Froccaro has been on the team since he was in eighth grade, giving him a tremendous amount of experience with this team, as well as high expectations.

In the previous two seasons, the Vikings have made some quality playoff runs, but could not quite finish as deep as they had hoped in the postseason.

In 2013, Port made it to the county finals at Hofstra against Massapequa.  In a tough battle, the Vikings came up just short.

The next season, they made the playoffs again, this time losing to Farmingdale in the quarterfinals.

In his last season of high school lacrosse, before moving on to begin his career at Princeton University, Froccaro simply wants to win.

“My expectations are sky high.  Our goal is to win the state championship.  Anything less would be a disappointment for me,” said Froccaro.

He feels that in order to achieve this, there needs to be good team chemistry.

“I try to implement a sense of family within our team.  The closer the team the more the successful that team is.  Our team is extremely close and I think of every player as one of my brothers,” said Froccaro.

This year’s team believes it is more than capable of being successful, being strong on both ends of the field and having high team chemistry.

“Last season didn’t go too well. losing in the quarters a year after being in the county championship,” said Ferrero. “We have a lot of offensive and defensive threats this year and after practicing hard every day from the first practice, we know that winning games in our conference won’t come easily, but the possibilities are endless when we play to our full potential.”

The team’s starters are full of experience,  with some of them even committed to Division I college programs to play after high school.

“They have all played and contributed in the past and know what it takes to get us where we want to go,” said Head Coach Mr. Tom Rooney.

Everyone is there to help each other, either leading by example or giving constructive criticism to make them a better player.

“Winning isn’t about one or two kids being able to score by themselves; it’s about team work,” said Finnerty.

The Vikings look to continue their season undefeated with upcoming games against teams they have had no trouble defeating recently.

“The most important thing for us is to continue to work hard and improve,” said Coach Rooney. “It’s a long season, and these guys have a lot of potential. We want to keep working hard and keep building.”

Over the past weekend the lacrosse team traveled to Villanova to watch a game between Villanova and Marquette.

After the game, the Vikings had the opportunity to play on Villanova’s field in a game against Calvert Hall, a team from Baltimore, Maryland.

Calvert Hall is ranked tenth in the nation by the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse National Rankings, and sixteenth in the Super 25 rankings.

Senior Luke Cummings scored 4 goals and had 3 assists and Froccaro added 3 goals and 3 assists.

Ferrero had 8 saves on the day, but the Vikings fell to Calvert Hall 12-10.