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Lacrosse Bloodlines

Adelphi alum follows in

Hall of Famer’s footsteps

Making it to the Major Lacrosse League is an extraordinary feat, especially if you come from a Division II lacrosse program. But for former Adelphi University standout Joe Vitale, it’s a family tradition.

At age 8, Vitale was handed his first lacrosse stick by his uncle, New York Saints attacker Don Borges. Later, Vitale went on to earn All-American honors at Adelphi, where he graduated in 2012 after leading the team to a National Championship game appearance. This past year, the 23-year-old Lynbrook native earned a paycheck playing for the MLL’s New York Lizards, who play home games at Hofstra University.

“It’s very intimidating to step on the field and compete when you did not attend a Top-20 Division I school, let alone a Division II college,” said teammate and Lizards goalie John Geagan. “But you’d never guess that Joe played anything but top tier Division I lacrosse. His lacrosse IQ and skill are at least on par with everyone else if not better.”

Although only a handful of Adelphi alumni have played lacrosse professionally, Vitale’s success is no surprise to his former college coach Gordon Purdie, who has known Vitale since he was just 8-years-old.

“One of Joe’s best assets was not his ability, but was his sheer determination to succeed. He works everyday on being a better player,” said Purdie.

 Vitale credits his success to the notion that lacrosse runs in his blood. Vitale followed in the footsteps of his “Uncle Donnie” and remained close to home for college. Borges, born and raised in Lynbrook as well, played at the Div. II C.W. Post in Brookville.  

Borges later played professionally for the New York Saints and was inducted into the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Vitale says that training with his uncle proved to be pivotal in honing his skills.

“Lacrosse has a rich history—as well as one of the island’s all-time greatest coaches—in Lynbrook,” Vitale said of Borges. “The more I matured and the older I got, the more information I was able to absorb from my coaches as well as my uncle.”

Although late to recruiting, his standout play and honors, including All-American his senior year of high school, caught the attention of childhood coach, Purdie, who was now Adelphi’s head coach.

This marked the beginning of an era where Vitale would rack up a total of 199 points between 118 goals and 81 assists while wearing black and yellow. He was named a two-time First Team All-American as well as the Eastern College Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2012. During the 2011 season, he led Adelphi to the Div. II National Championship, where the Panthers fell to Mercyhurst, 9-8.

Shortly before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sports management, Vitale was selected as the 57th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hounds. The Hounds are one of only eight teams in the MLL, which was founded in 1998 and is growing in popularity each year. Although lacrosse is an increasingly recognized sport throughout the country, it is nowhere near as popular or lucrative as other pro sports. Players typically earn between $10,000 and $25,000 annually.

Nonetheless, Vitale said, “Being drafted into the MLL was one of the most amazing feelings you could have as a player.”

Playing in the pros has been an adjustment for Vitale. While teams may have about 30 players on their rosters, only 19 are allowed to dress for each of the 16 games. After years of being the go-to guy on his lacrosse teams, Vitale now must fight just for playing time.

Playing for Hounds in 2012, he amassed one goal and one assist while playing in two games. He was then traded to the New York Lizards, where he saw action in only two games.

At the moment, Vitale is looking for a team for the 2014 season. The league will hold a free agent draft in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the 5-foot-11, 205 lb. attacker is training rigorously every day to elevate his game. “I like to stay active and in shape by going to the gym or doing a little CrossFit,” he said.

He added,“I know I have to be patient when it comes to playing in games. Whenever I am given a shot, I know I have to capitalize on it.”

News

April 19 fundraiser to be

held for baby with rare disease

Tom Onorato, the nephew and office manager of Dr. Joseph Onorato Garden City practice All Island Dermatology Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, recently celebrated the birth of a baby boy with his wife Melissa. Both were thrilled when Thomas Kevin Onorato came into the world on September 10, 2013. Despite being born five weeks early, baby Thomas managed to surprise his parents with his indomitable spirit and was sent home with a clean bill of health. A mere four days later began the fight for Thomas’ life.

Stewart Manor budget, mayor’s salary increase

At a time when municipalities are grappling with keeping expenditures down, the Village of Stewart Manor saw not only its 2014-15 operating budget increase, but its mayor’s salary. At a meeting of the board of trustees held on Monday, April, 8, Stewart Manor adopted a budget of $2,418,548.03, a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, the board approved a raise of $1,000 for Mayor Gerard Tangredi, bringing his salary to $3,000. The salaries for trustees John Egan, M. Carole Schafenberg, and William Grogan are set at $2,000 each. Deputy Mayor Michael Onorato has declined his stipend.

Salaries and benefits make up 42 percent of the total budget. According to the state comptroller, it’s acceptable for that number to be as high as 65 percent. The total costs of salaries and benefits have actually decreased by around 5 percent from the previous year’s adopted budget.  


Sports

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This Year Three hunt will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.

Commitment at Kellenberg

Garden City residents continue to excel while participating in the athletic program over at Uniondale’s Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, coaches of Kellenberg sports pick one player from their squad who has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the team through their hard work at practice and in competition.

The Village of Garden City has a long history of residents who've excelled both on the academic and athletic side of the ledger at Kellenberg. This time around, seniors Kelly O’Donnell (varsity cheerleading), Stacy Madelmayer (varsity girls basketball) and Bryan Salecker (swimming and diving team) have all been awarded the Commitment Award for their outstanding efforts, devotion, hard work and commitment to their respective teams.


Calendar

Dinner & A Movie: In Transition 2.0

Thursday, April 17

School Budget Meeting

Wednesday, April 23

Judi Mark One-woman Show At Library

Thursday, April 24



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com