By Bill Landon
One week into practice, head coach Pete Mitchell is liking what he’s seeing from his Warriors, showing the depth he hopes can carry Comseowgue into the postseason.
Seniors Richia Lacalandra on offense and Zach Gagnon on defense have filled the shoes left by Will Snelders and Ryan Dorney, and junior Thomas Heller will remain between the pipes this year.
“This year, there’s a lot of competition,” Mitchell said, noting that he puts a lot of faith in his mostly-returning offensive unit and new faceoff taker Cameron MacNicol.
“He’s very good,” Mitchell said of MacNicol. “[We have] a good mix. We’ll be a lot deeper — we have a lot more kids — and I think that was one of our faults last year.”
Even as snow puts practice indoors, Lacalandra said the team is working hard.
“Coach is getting us there — we’re running every day, we’re getting bigger, stronger, faster; that’s key,” the Stony Brook University-bound four-year varsity player said. “As that happens, the play will come. The team has chemistry, and [I believe] we’ll get it done this year.”
Last year, Mitchell said few people expected the Warriors to make the postseason with a 7-9 record, let alone battle Eastport-South Manor in the Suffolk County Class B semifinal round. He thinks with his stronger defensive unit, especially with the blocking skills of his midfielders, the Warriors’ chances are that much higher.
“I have probably two of the best defensive middies that I’ve ever had in Reno Molina and John Felice, who is actually my backup goalie — he’s one of the fastest human beings I’ve ever seen,” said the coach adding junior Sean Kennedy will be another to watch.
Gagnon said it’s been tough to be stuck in the gym, but said the team is focused on facing Kings Park in the first game of the season March 27.
“[We’ve] got a lot of young kids, a lot of talented kids who push each other hard,” he said. “We just have to stay after it, keep our eyes on the prize. We need to be smooth, clean things up a little bit [because] some things are still a little sloppy, we have to start talking more, but besides that I think we look good.”
Heller, a University at Albany-commit, said his team will never settle with where it’s at until hoisting up a championship trophy.
“Everyone’s hustling — we’ve got a solid offense, we’re moving the ball well on defense and [creating those passing lanes],” he said, adding he sees Half Hollow Hills West being stiff competition, but likes Comsewogue’s chances. “I think we’ll beat them.”
Mitchell said he’s pleased with the dedication he’s seen so far, and seeing his team not take any practice lightly will provide good results out on the field.
“Everybody’s on their ‘A’ game,” Mitchell said. “We’ll be prepared [for that first game]. These kids know what Comsewogue lacrosse means to the school and to this community. When you play Comsewogue you know you’re going to play a lacrosse game.”