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Honoring Welles Crowther “The Man in the Red Bandana” at the NYSRC

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).” The Red Bandana, a symbol of the purist form of love and compassion. Welles Crowther was a true example of this. Native of Nyack NY, Welles grew up playing sports and hanging out with his friends. Whether it was on the street, in the classroom, or on the field, Welles was always willing to lend a helping hand. When he was 16 years old, he joined the local fire department as a junior firefighter. Given to him by his father, the Red Bandana became a part of him. He carried it everywhere. In college, Welles was a star athlete, ripping it up on the lacrosse field. He possessed all the intangibles a coach wants in his players, and his teammates respected him for that. The people he met and experiences he had all shaped him into the man he was, preparing him for the toughest day of his life.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Welles was working as an equities trader in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. When the planes hit, Welles took off his business cap and put the Red Bandana on; he knew what he had to do. While it is unknown exactly what he went through, Welles was able to help over a dozen people to safety. Welles sacrificed himself, for the greater good. His selflessness and courageousness persevered in those dark hours. People will always remember him as “The Man in the Red Bandana.”

Even though Welles Crowther is gone, his legacy lives on. In its Inaugural year, the New York State Regional Championships honored Welles by rewarding one player from each region in each graduating year that most exemplifies Welles and his moral values. While not always the most talented player, the hardest working and most team-oriented players received the prestigious “Red 19” jersey by putting the team first. As Welles would say, “there’s no I in team.” They are willing to do the dirty work and sell out for their teammates. One player caught my attention all week long, a 2021 on the New York City Team, from Harlem Lacrosse, James Greene. A quote from his coach Richard Hurley, “James a team- first player. He is unselfish on the field and more importantly, leads by example off the field and within the community. He would have said that every other player on the team deserved to receive the 19 jersey, which is the exact reason that we gave it to him.” James is a great player with an extremely bright future. He alongside the other players that received the 19 jersey wore them with pride, honoring Welles with the utmost respect. Here is the list of players that al received the honor of wearing the Red 19:

2022:

  • Hudson Valley: Henry Rayner
  • Parochial: Dominick Senft
  • Suffolk County: Fancisco Cortes
  • Nassau County: Michael Leo
  • Central: Brody Coleman
  • New York City: KJ Graham

2021:

  • Adirondack: Ryan Mazzariallo
  • Central: Will Delamo
  • Nassau County: Jojo Todaro
  • New York City: James Greene
  • Western: Kolby Amici
  • Parochial: James Kapralos
  • Suffolk County: Brandon Ventarola
  • Hudson Valley: Jack O’Reilly

2020:

  • Adirondack: Ian Owens
  • Central: Mikey Howe
  • Nassau County: Nick Licalsi
  • Suffolk County: Kofi Samuels
  • Western: Lucas Bell
  • Parochial: Stefano Troia
  • Suffolk County: Colin Krieg
  • Hudson Valley: Cooper Batenezert

2019:

  • Adirondack: Jack Cheney
  • Central: Brendan Eyestone
  • Hudson Valley: Sean Laukaitis
  • Nassau County: Stephen Grabher
  • Suffolk County: Christian DeSimone
  • Parochial: Patrick McGrath
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New York State Regional Championships – The Preliminary Tryout Round

 The New York State Regional Championships is a new event that is and will be a great opportunity for New York State High School lacrosse players to represent their region, Nassau, Suffolk, Parochial, NYC, Hudson Valley, Adirondack, Central or Western, and compete for a State Championship to see what region has the best lacrosse players in New York State. Eligibility for the event requires players to be a resident in NYS from the graduating classes of 2022 through 2019.

As majority of tryouts are underway in most of the regions, some of the best talent from the best high schools are being represented including but not limited to Manhasset, Garden City, Ward Melville, Islip, Chaminade, Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership, Albany Academy, Victor and Pleasantville. Most of the regions are having great turnouts at preliminary tryout rounds and the level of talent is sky high. Evaluators had a tough time taking 100+ players, and cutting the rosters down to a top 50 where players will compete to make a 25 man roster. Unfortunately this means that arguably some of the best players in a region may get cut, however evaluators and coaches are working hard to ensure that every region in NYS is properly represented.

Starting on July 23rd, players that are selected for their regional team will ship up to Binghamton University to compete against the other NYS regions in their graduating years for a Gold Medal. Stay tuned and check out nysrlacrosse.com for all the information on getting involved. As this event is sponsored by Epoch lacrosse, players will receive custom gloves and uniforms tailored to their region, only adding to the uniqueness of this event. Who will have the bragging rights up in Binghamton? What region has the best lacrosse players in New York State? Find out soon and be sure to follow @flglax on instagram and twitter for everything Long Island and NYS lacrosse and more updates on the New York State Regional Championships.

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Middle Country v. West Islip ‘Tension in Newfield’ PREVIEW

With similar records on the year as well as similar successes, the Lioness’s over as West Islip (8-3)  will travel to Middle Country (8-3), for a 7:00 pm night game on May 9th. Emotions will be running high as this is the Wolverines Senior Day. It’s tough to say who will win this game based on their record as both teams have had major success as well as key losses. Both teams have losses to Ward Melville and Northport however Middle Country beat Smithtown West and lost to Riverhead, while West Islip beat Riverhead and lost to Smithtown West. I think this game will come down the experience and playing in the moment. Both teams have strong upperclassmen that possess the ability to make plays when called upon. Can MC defend their turf on Senior Night? Or will the West I’s pride claim victory? Find out tonight!

Jennifer Barry is a stud!

Check out the Q and A we did with the Hampel Sisters over at West Islip:

What’s it like playing with your sister in high school?

Emma- Playing with my sister has been an amazing experience. We’ve been playing in the backyard together or going to the turf together since we first started playing so we have a special connection on the field. A lot of people would figure two sisters on a team would argue a lot but we never do and it honestly made us closer outside of lacrosse as well. Playing with Jaden is what I will probably miss most about my high school lacrosse career.

Jaden- Playing with my sister is one of the best experiences of my life. Emma and I are extremely close and have always been playing with eachother and competing against eachother in the backyard . Now finally bieng able to play with eachother we have A connection on the field.  We know how each other work and even how the other thinks. I can’t imagine next year not being able to play with my best friend/ sister on the field or being without her in general.

Talk about team culture over at West Islip? What has made you successful this season? What need to be improved?

Emma- So far the season has been great. There has been a few difficult games that could have gone either way but each game makes us push harder for the next. Our team is like a family and hanging out outside of lacrosse and becoming closer just makes us work together better on the field. Some things we could work on would probably be talking more on the field and being patient with the ball but these have been improving every game.

Jaden- This year our team is not only just a group of girl but a sisterhood and family. We have all been playing with eachother since we could remember. Our team culture is one of our best qualities. when the game gets tough we don’t yell and get mad at eachother but hype eachother up such as in our last game coming back from being down by 5 and winning in OT. As for what we need to improve on would be our offense with shooting but we are practicing shooting and our shot to goal ratio is improving each game.

Remember when you were little, who influenced you the most, making you into the player you are today?

Emma- Even though Jaden is younger than me she has definitely been a huge inspiration. Watching her play with such heart whether it’s a game or just practice inspired me and continues to inspire me. Players can have all the talent in the world but without the heart and hustle it would mean nothing and Jaden taught me that. The older girls who went through the West Islip lacrosse were also a huge inspiration to me. Seeing them play and even seeing them play on tv sometimes made me want to be in their position one day. That caused me to work even harder and practice on my off time.

Jaden- My mom and dad started me at a very young age playing with older kids. I  always played with my brother and sisters in the yard and ever since then I’ve been in love with the sport. My biggest influencer I’m lacrosse would definitely be Emma. Always going head to head in the backyard making it a big competition. We always ended up fighting cause of how competitive we were  against eachother. she always pushed me to try and catch up with her as to be the best I can be. The other influencers I have for the sport is definetly the West Islip lacrosse alumni that came before me especially the 2015 state champs. Always going and watching there games aspiring to be in the varsity uniforms one day.

Talk about some of your aspirations for your game, do you have hopes to play in college?

Emma- So many girls that have gone through West Islip have gone on to be a part of top D1 lacrosse teams. Playing with them and then watching them play in professional games is surreal to me. I always knew I’d want to continue my lacrosse career in college no matter at what level. Next year I will be attending the United States Military Academy at West Point to play lacrosse and I can’t wait. Watching the West Point games gave me the same surreal feeling as watching the other WI girls who have gone on to play in college and I am so excited to be a part of it.

Jaden- I can’t imagine not continuing to play lacrosse after high school. Lacrosse has been one of the most important thing in my life since I could remember. I am not committed but can’t wait to see where my lacrosse career continues In the beginning of junior year.

Big game coming up against Middle Country, what are some keys to winning that game?

Emma- We are definitely looking forward to our game against Middle Country it has always been a big game for us. Some things we need to focus on to win the game are being patient with the ball and not wasting any of our possessions. We also need to make sure we control the middle of the field.

Jaden- I can’t wait to go head to head against middle country. West Islip and middle country have always had somewhat a rivalry pasted down from previous season. Keys for winning this is game would be winning the middle of the field on the draws and taking care of the ball on each possession making them count each time.

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Cold Spring Harbor vs. North Shore PREVIEW

On May 7th, the Seahawks over at Cold Spring Harbor High School will travel to North Shore to battle the Lady Vikings. This game will prove to be a thriller as both teams are strong competitors in Nassau Power Conference 1. Picking up yet another victory against Port Washington, the lady laxers of Cold Spring Harbor have had a very successful season thus far, with a 11- 2 record on the year, 6-2 in conference. North Shore, who has been battling all year, suffering some close game losses is 7-6 on the year, 3-6 in conference. Putting the score column aside both teams have a plethora of talent.

With Coach Castellane back for the 2018 season, chemistry and team dynamic has definitely played into CSH’s favor. They are lead by a strong core four group of seniors including Katherine Faria (Washington and Lee), Emily Weld (Davidson), Caroline Atkinson (Richmond), Sophia Derosa (Brown). These standouts are unbelievable senior leaders. They bring the experience and energy every teams needs to make a run in the Nassau County playoffs. Cobatted by a large senior group, North Shore returns talent as well including Alana Greene ( George Washington), Hannah Moran, Eileen Quinn, Madeline Podaras (Lafayette), Nicollette Nanis (University  of Rochester), April Rowell (Geneseo), and Selena Fortich. In 2017, the Vikings beat CSH in the regular season, but then the Seahawks took revenge in the Nassau County semis. This game should prove to be an intense match up. A lot is on the line for both of these teams. Will CSH get another W and close the season with a high note? Can North Shore muster the well needed energy to put them in contention to be a top seed in Conference 1? Find out next week.

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Smithtown West vs. Smithtown East “East v. West” PREVIEW

A crosstown rival, the lady laxers over at Smithtown East will travel to Smithtown West on May 2nd to battle for bragging rights in the streets. Sitting at LI Lax Journal preseason poll seeds #8 and #11, with West at the forefront and the better record at 7-3. Going into this game, West may have the upperhand, however this game will prove to be a great contest, as emotions will be running high being that it is a rivalry game. Who will be the stronger Bull?

A true game changer, East standout Gabriella Schneider, committed to Lehigh, makes it on the top point leaders list of Suffolk Girls with 43 points on the year (26G &17A). West will have to answer to the intensity she brings at the high attack. Young but talented, East returns a small but vocal junior class including, Isabella Costa (Navy), Spohia DeNicola and Gabby Schneider. These three will have to step up big as West returns a large group. Very upperclassmen oriented, Smithtown West has had much success this season, including quality wins over opponents West Islip and Riverhead, both by a score of 10-7, and both games that East had fallen to. A plethora of talent, West will send three ladies to play for the Hofstra Pride including senior Grace Langella, junior Taylor Mennella and junior Lauren Coletti. Other notables commitments include junior Janine Suris to the University of Florida Gators, junior Regan Kielmeyer who will be a Greyhound at Loyola, senior Jamie Bell to the Setters at Pace, senior Gabby Marshall to the Binghamton Bearcats and senior Mackenzie Hovsepian to the Arizona Sun Devils. Talent at all positions, eyes will be focused on sophomore goalkeeper Lilli Burmeister, as she will be relied on to keep Schneider and all of East’s threats at bay. Coletti, Menella and Kielmeyer will have to score early and often if they want to come out on top.  My guess is, whoever gets to 10 g’s first will come out victorious. Find out on the 2nd of May who takes it home in Smithtown.

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The Setauket Squabble – Ward Melville v. Northport PREVIEW

Two Storied Girls Lacrosse Programs will battle it out next Tuesday, April 24th @ Ward Melville High School.  The Northport Tigers head east to Setauket to take on the  Ward Melville Patriots. Both Class A teams come into the contest undefeated with 7 -0 records.

When interviewing the coaches; Coach Carol Rose of Northport & Coach Kerri Kilkenny of Ward Melville for the Long Island Lacrosse Journal, both coaches were asked what game should FLG Cover for the String King Game of the Week. Both coaches said Ward Melville & Northport respectively. This is game you won’t want to miss.

Leading the Lady Tigers offensively so far this year is Junior Duke Commit, Olivia Carner with 30 Goals & 13 Assists. Carner is dynamic, making plays all over the offensive half.  Northport does not just have one high level player; they boast four other D-1 Recruits. Two Florida Commits follow Olivia in the scoring column, senior, Emerson Cabrera (17 Goals 9 Assists) & sophomore, Danielle Pavinelli  (23 Goals & 7 Assists) are huge contributor to Northport’s early season success. Senior, Nicole Arella (Michigan Commit) round out the fierce Tiger Offense with 5 Goals & 5 assists so far this season. A future Buckeye, junior goalkeeper Claire Morris has 47 saves in her first 7 games this year, leading a stingy defense into the Setauket Squabble.

Olivia Carner, Duke Women’s Lacrosse Commit, is lighting it us this season. She leads the team in goals and assists. Can Carner carry the Tigers to the top in 2018?!

This game should shape up to be a great one as Ward Melville equally combats Northport skill. Leading the Lady Patriots on the offensive side of the ball is senior, attacker Kate Mulham, Princeton prospect with 23 Goals & 4 Assists on the year. Other lady laxers’ leading the Patriot “O” is Jillian Becker, senior Richmond Spider Commit (14 Goals & 2 Assists), Shannon Brazier, senior Cornell Big Red Commit (10 Goals & 4 Assists) & Shannon Berry, senior Princeton Commit Midfielder (8 Goals & 1 Assist). Coach Kilkenny’s defense is lead by senior Shannon Coughlan who is heading to New Haven Ct next year to play for the Yale Bulldogs.

Talented players on both sides of the ball for each squad, this regular season contest could be a preview of the CLASS A Final-

Who do you think will come out victorious?

Tigers or Patriots

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Cross Town Quandary – Commack vs. Northport PREVIEW

Neighboring towns, Commack and Northport will face it off on April 18th at Northport High School. Sitting at LI Lax Journal Preseason Poll #11 and #12 respectively, these two teams have been battling it out all year, trying to make their campaign as forces to be reckoned with in 2018. This games winner will be decided by whose Senior class is more determined to come out on top. Both squads return strong cores who are willing to go the extra mile for their teammates.

As stated by Coach Bryan, “3 pillars of our culture – respect, inspire, support. All about respecting each other, supporting and inspiring each other on and off the field,” these Commack guys are a tight knit group. It all starts at the face off x, with Fogo and defensive midfield specialist Logan Tobias (Coast Guard). This is a guy who is poised and ready at all moments. He’s a guy that prides himself on winning the “games within the game,” and loves to get after it against his counterparts. Senior Midfielder Bobby Abshire (Army), a two way threat, is a warrior, possessing the ability to take control and get his team organized and in the right spots to make plays and win ball games. Other notables for the Cougars are senior defenseman Gus Hueber (Binghamton), the backbone of Commack’s defense, senior attackmen Liam Walshe and junior Blake Behlen, and senior midfielder Nick Guaglione.

Also returning a small but strong core, Northport is ready to fight and defend their home turf. Led by senior defenseman Jason Aiello, he is having a great year thus far. According to Coach Searing, “Aiello is a role model and a young man that all the kids look up to.” The Tigers also return, notables junior midfielder Max Napoli, senior goaltender Lucas Alper (Wingate) and fogo Matt Cannon (Marquette).

Whose claws are sharper, The Tigers or the Cougars. I think this game will boil down to the number of possessions. It will definitely prove to be an all out brawl at the X with Cannon vs. Tobias and whoever can win the ball for their team. I think Commack will prove to have the edge. We shall see next Wednesday.

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Straight A’s – Long Beach vs. Syosset PREVIEW

Preseason ranked number 6 and 7 respectively in the Nassau County coaches preseason poll, the Syosset Braves will travel from the North Shore down to the southern waters of Long Beach to face off against the Mariners on Saturday April 14th.

A ‘Conference A’ showdown, these two teams have had early season success however only one team will prevail. A 3-0 start to the 2018 campaign, The Braves are led by a strong senior class, who have had experience on the varsity level since their freshman year. Senior Midfield trio, Taylyn Stadler (UPenn), Sofia Afkam (Binghamton) and Nicole Rizzo, dominate from endline to endline, all over the field, making plays needed to win games for the Braves. Long Beach, 2-2 on the year is ready for the challenge to defend their home turn against power conference foe. Coming up short in 2017 to GC in the Nassau County Class B Championship, the Mariners are setting sail in search of a title this year. Returning a stellar upper class, Long Beach is led by goalie Sarah Reznick (Florida), attackers Emma Pfaff (Boston U), Jillian Canner (Colgate), midfielders Hannah Lewis (Drexel), Lexie Correia (Bryant), Fiona Rafferty, and defenders Daisy Willard (Binghamton) and Charlotte Kile. Keeping their eye on the prize, make sure to check out the Long Beach Mariners as they take on the Syosset Braves on the water.

 

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Crosstown Quandary: Commack vs. Northport

Neighboring towns, Commack and Northport will face it off on April 18th at Veterans Park. Sitting at LI Lax Journal Preseason Poll #11 and #12 respectively, these two teams have been battling it out all year, trying to make their campaign as forces to be reckoned with in 2018. This games winner will be decided by whose Senior class is more determined to come out on top. Both squads return strong cores who are willing to go the extra mile for their teammates.

As stated by Coach Bryan, “3 pillars of our culture – respect, inspire, support. All about respecting each other, supporting and inspiring each other on and off the field,” these Commack guys are a tight knit group. It all starts at the face off x, with Fogo and defensive midfield specialist Logan Tobias (Coast Guard). This is a guy who is poised and ready at all moments. He’s a guy that prides himself on winning the “games within the game,” and loves to get after it against his counterparts. Senior Midfielder Bobby Abshire (Army), a two way threat, is a warrior, possessing the ability to take control and get his team organized and in the right spots to make plays and win ball games. Other notables for the Cougars are senior defenseman Gus Hueber (Binghamton), the backbone of Commack’s defense, senior attackmen Liam Walshe and junior Blake Behlen, and senior midfielder Nick Guaglione.

Also returning a small but strong core, Northport is ready to fight and defend their home turf. Led by senior defenseman Jason Aiello, he is having a great year thus far. According to Coach Searing, “Aiello is a role model and a young man that all the kids look up to.” The Tigers also return, notables junior midfielder Max Napoli, senior goaltender Lucas Alper (Wingate) and fogo Matt Cannon (Marquette).

Whose claws are sharper, The Tigers or the Cougars. I think this game will boil down to the number of possessions. It will definitely prove to be an all out brawl at the X with Cannon vs. Tobias and whoever can win the ball for their team. I think Commack will prove to have the edge. We shall see next Wednesday.

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Smithtown West vs. Hills East PREVIEW – Birds or Bulls?

Preseason ranked number 4, The Thunderbirds of Half Hollow Hills East will take on number 2, Smithtown West Bulls on Thursday, April 12th at Smithtown West High School. Struck by lighting, Hills East is electric when they take the field. Under new management, Coach Paul Benway and Justin O’Connell, have managed to get these boys flying higher than ever as they are off to a 4-0 start in the 2018 campaign. Hills East returns talent all over the field on both ends including midfielders Drew Martin (Air Force), Brett Martin (Hopkins), Mike Monitto (Lehigh), attackmen Ryan Doran (St. Joseph’s PA), Zach Cosentino (Catholic), LSM Sal Pascarella (St. Joseph’s PA), and defenseman Mike Gomez (Hopkins) and Conor Caiazza (Ithaca). Equally combatting Hills East’s strengths, Smithtown West is shaking up the competition all over the Island as the Bulls are 5-0 on the season. A philosophy built on focusing “One at a time,” Smithtown West is dialed in, ready for any challenge 2018 brings. Senior leadership is a huge aspect working in West’s favor. Talent in all positions, Smithtown West returns midfielders Matt Cattigan, Conor Calderone (FOGO- Maryland), Brandon Meir (Siena), Andrew Arce (Binghamton), attackmen Kyle Zawadzki (Yale), John Hoffman, Matt Miller (Quinnipiac), defenseman David Gonzalez (Christopher Newport) and goaltender Kyle Walker (Army). What is sharper, the horns of a Bull? Or the beak of a Bird? It all goes down today, Smithtown West vs. Half Hollow Hills East.

Check out the interview we did with senior midfielder Drew Martin (Air Force) of Half Hollow Hills East:

1) New year, new management, discuss what’s it like so far to play for Coach Benway and Coach OC?

Fun! I really like the enthusiasm and commitment they are bringing to the table. They are letting us play with our individual skills within their coaching scheme.

2) Please discuss team dynamic, it seems like you guys are a more offensive oriented team, what are some things you guys have been doing to be successful on the field?

Playing fast, pushing the tempo from the defensive end to the offensive side. One of the keys to our success so far is the majority of us have been playing together since 1st grade. Because of our strong lockdown defense we are able to play fast and more aggressive on the offensive side of the field. Another key factor of our successful offense is not only do we get along on the field, but we are very close off the field as well.

3) Congrats on the commitment to Air Force! What are some things that influenced you making the decision to attend US Air Force?

Thank you. I’ve always really wanted to fly. I feel very influenced from my grandfather who served in the US Army. I felt a strong connection when I went on my visit. I really liked the coaching staff and the players on the team. The campus is very beautiful and knew right away this is where I would be going.

4) Big game coming up against Smithtown West, what will it take to win?

A total team effort. We have to play solid defense, fast on offense and try to create 50/50 ground balls off the face off. Energy effort and attitude will be our motto for the season