The Comet lacrosse "seniors" ended their PAL careers on a high note and presented their dads with a terrific Father's Day gift at the Garden City Lacrosse Day on June 20. The team went 3-0 in the tournament and ended its last PAL season with a five-game winning streak.
In the first game, the boys defeated a tough South Shore team by a final 6-5 score. Two late goals by South Shore made the game close, but Hicksville was in control for most of the day. Midfielders Bobby McCauley, Chris Hupfer, Mike Cerlini, Joe Geneva, Danny Slater, Tommy McLaughlin and the "Mikes," DeMayo and DiMaria, took over the game early and generally kept the ball out of the South Shore hands. Controlling ground balls has become a Comet staple and contributed mightily to the victory. When the game got close, goalie Joe Assante made several big saves to preserve the win.
The second game, played in the middle of the day under a hot sun, was a 5-2 win over Massapequa. Again the middies controlled the flow but this was the attack's big moment of the day. Although Massapequa generally fielded bigger, stronger defensemen, they could not match the passing, ball movement and guile of Danny Abberton, Jimmy "Nappy" Napolitano and the "Minny Me" team of Nicholas Campolettano and Nicholas Ajello. At one point right after Hicksville made the 'Pequa defense dizzy with some great pinpoint passing resulting in a goal, one of the proud Hicksville parents wondered aloud, "Who are these guys and what have they done with our children?" After a tough first game, the defense of Tim O'Brien, Patrick Sheedy, Bobby Blankenhorn and goalie Joe Assante, got a rest as Hicksville put the Chiefs away early.
The last game gave an early indication that the sun, food and relaxation may have combined to slow the Comets, as an aggressive Plainedge team took a 1-0 lead. With Plainedge controlling play early, Bobby McCauley showed why he was voted MVP by his teammates. McCauley got Hicksville even, won the ensuing faceoff and, along with Chris Hupfer, led the way to a 6-2 victory. The defense showed some cracks, probably due to the inactivity in the second game, but came alive after Plainedge scored. Tim O'Brien had his best game of the day, knocking down passes, clearing balls, legging the ball out of danger, and totally shutting down his attackman. O'Brien showed why he was voted Most Improved Player by his coaches. When Plainedge tried to attack the other side, Bobby Blankenhorn was ready and waiting. Blankenhorn so shut down any scoring attempts on his side that the Plainedge attackman started looking to pass first so he didn't take another pounding. Needless to say, there was no way that anyone was getting around Sheedy manning the crease. Sheedy cleaned house in front of the goal so goalie Joe Assante could see the opponents' shots early and easily make the save. Sheedy's terrific crease defense and Assante's outstanding goaltending over the entire season were a blessing for the Comets.
No team can accomplish what these young men did without coaching and guidance. A simple thank you to Chris Roach, Warren Rauf and Michael Cerlini does not seem enough, but comes with all sincerity. Roach will be taking his coaching skills to Bethpage next year and will be sorely missed. Thanks to all the Garden City parents, coaches and volunteers for a wonderfully organized program, which was enjoyed by all. Lastly, congratulations to the Comets on a very successful ending to their terrific PAL careers!