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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

Preparedness is the best remedy for Ebola

Winthrop University Hospital hosted a presentation on the current Ebola epidemic, at the Garden City Library, on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Sponsored by the village’s Property Owners’ Associations, John F. Collins, president and CEO of Winthrop University Hospital and Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, Winthrop’s Chief Medical Officer provided an overview of the disease along with an update on Winthrop’s preparedness plan.

Dr. Ammazzalorso began his presentation heeding that despite the waning in the press, the disease is still with us. He provided both historical and current day perspectives regarding the epidemic, advising that Ebola is not a new disease. The medical community has been aware of the disease for at least 40 years. Originating in the Congo, Ebola is a zoonosis a disease which has its reservoir in animals and was known for small sporadic outbreaks associated with people who handled bats and rodents or those who consumed bush meat. The current outbreak originated in West Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He noted in Africa that more than 45,000 people have died from the disease.

Multiple options help village avoid problems

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, it’s not necessarily the case for Garden City residents, who have five departure points to choose from. The stations—Nassau Boulevard, Garden City, Stewart Manor, Country Life Press and the south side of Merillon Avenue—provide a grand total of 866 spots. (See page 13 sidebar for lot-by-lot breakdown). It’s a luxury many municipalities don’t have, particularly during the holidays. Annual permits run $150 for residents and $300 for non-residents and while people who call Garden City can use any of these five stations, non-residents are restricted to using the 70 spots allocated for their use over at the Stewart Manor station.

LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town.


Sports

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes begin the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, please visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave. Space is limited so please register early.


Calendar

Sultans of String to play

Friday, November 21

Garden City Chamber Music Society Performance

Sunday, November 23

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 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