Boys lacrosse begins quest for Nassau County playoffs

Juniors+Drew+Turner+carries+the+ball+downfield+in+a+game+against+South+Side+on+March+21.+Port+lost+the+game+8-14.

Sean Lui

Juniors Drew Turner carries the ball downfield in a game against South Side on March 21. Port lost the game 8-14.

Daniel Dash, Staff Writer

Throughout Schreiber sports history, the boys lacrosse team has been one of the best programs in Nassau County.  Over the last three years, the program has compiled an astounding 20-8 record within their conference and a 30-17 overall record.

This recent streak of undisputed success caught the eyes of coaches across the county last year, and the team finds itself in Conference I in 2017.  Conference I is Nassau County’s most highly touted conference, and its members vary from year to year.  Rather than being determined by school size like the other conferences in the county, this elite group of teams is handpicked based on program success.

This year, the team has their sights set on defeating teams like Syosset, Farmingdale, and Massapequa, among other top tier teams on the schedule.  The team’s schedule gives them a lot of time to prepare for these crucial matchups late in the season.

The Vikings opened their season on March 21 at home against South Side.  Between April 29 and May 5, the boys will hit the highway for three straight road games at Farmingdale, Syosset, and Massapequa.  Syosset begins the season as the reigning county champions after defeating Massapequa in last year’s final with a score of 18-12.

Meanwhile, Farmingdale fell to Massapequa in the semifinals by a mere three goals.  In the other Nassau semifinal matchup, Syosset took down Port by a score of 18-8.  The Vikings will be out for revenge when they take on Syosset this May.

This year, Port’s team is drastically different from last year’s semifinalist squad, but the Vikings are confident that this won’t hold them back.

“Despite the fact that we lost some key contributors from last year’s team, our team chemistry is very strong already this season and we have a great senior class when it comes to leadership,” said junior Garrett Ressa.  “We truly believe we can make the county championship game this June.”

The Vikings saw a host of starters graduate who have chosen to continue their careers at the NCAA level in college, including Chris Athanasian (Harvard), Aidan Finnerty (Quinnipiac), Seth Obadia (Lafayette), and goalie Nick Ferrero (Massachusetts).  These players contributed a total of 65 goals, 28 assists, stellar defense, and elite goaltending last season.

“Losing our seniors will hurt a lot, but it only has brought us closer together as a team,” said junior John Anthanasian.  “We lost important guys, and we know that we have to step up to fill their shoes.”

Last season, Connors scored a total of 18 goals, and Crawley totaled 33 points.  Next spring, Connors will take the field for SUNY Oswego’s lacrosse team while Crawley will suit up for Fairfield.

One returning senior who has the capability of leading the defense to new heights is Joey Manno.  Some of last year’s returning underclassmen who will see increased roles this year are juniors John Athanasian and James Dalimonte and sophomore AJ Galassi.  Athanasian and Dalimonte tallied a total of 25 points last year, while Galassi made 40 saves in 2016 as part of a strong freshman campaign, learning from Ferrero.

This upcoming month, the boys will host Baldwin on April 4, Seaford on April 8, Hewlett on April 15, Oceanside on April 21, and East Meadow on April 25.

“The chemistry on the team has been really solid. Everyone has the same goal, and there’s already a lot of camaraderie,” said senior Rhys Jackson.  “The younger players fit right in, and there are enough returning players to make the new guys feel comfortable playing with each other.”