Written by Matt Moro: email@example.com Friday, 08 June 2012 00:00
Adversity is an inevitable part of sports. The 2012 Mineola Boys Varsity Lacrosse team found its way through early season distractions with a mid-season winning streak and playoff push.
With the promotion of coach Matt Antoniou, the team regained focus and stability.
“It makes you tougher,” said Antoniou when asked about having such a small team. “We have to run and be in shape. If forces us to have our best guys out there.”
Honorable Mention All-County senior captain Steven Napolitano agreed that the size of the team was certainly a challenge. “There is a lot more running and playing time, and in the beginning of the season it was tough,” he said. “Having a small team can help the chemistry, but the negative effects were certainly a problem for the Mustangs.”
According to Mustang player Dylan Dombrowski, while the positive was that the team knew each other well and were able to be familiar with each other out on the field, having a small team “didn’t help us because we were so small that we were burnt out.” “It was one of the biggest factors as to why we weren’t as effective and successful as we should have been,” added teammate Quinn Paggi.
“We took a lot of good teams to the edge,” said Antoniou, including a 9-8 loss to Locust Valley on MSG Varsity in the final 10 seconds. “We always came to play, we never shut down. Since the first game we were never embarrassed, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
The Mustangs stayed in playoff contention up until the very end of the season. They had chances to win pivotal games against North Shore and Friends Academy to close the year, and despite fighting hard it was not to be for the 2012 Mustangs.
Although the team experienced a tough year, the season can be used as a learning experience for the young team that will be returning next year.
“It was a good year for the underclassmen because they had a lot of playing time,” said Paggi.
Playing time for the underclassmen during the year was a major theme, highlighted by starting two freshmen at attack all season long. Paggi added that the playing time for the young players will, “make them tougher and stronger” in the future.”
“Those kids are going to be superstars,” proclaimed Dombrowski. “It was a good experience for the younger players,” said Napolitano, “because they got a lot of playing time against older players.”
The Mineola Mustangs of 2013 will rely on the experience gained by this year’s team and the young returning talent. Two time All-County midfielder Brian Gaffney will lead the Mustangs offense in his final season as a senior and he should get help from Peter McCormack and Chris Lockwood, two attackmen who started every game for the Mustangs as freshmen.
The defense will be led by All-Conference rising senior Robby Dwyer, talented rising junior Justin Oommen, and rising sophomore goaltender John Clancy who had a nice year on the junior varsity squad in 2012.
“The young guys are only going to get better,” says Antoniou. “The future’s pretty bright.”