Written by Aubri Juhasz Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00
After proving themselves at the junior varsity level, Oyster Bay High School’s Girls Lacrosse program is ready to take the next step by competing as a varsity team.
The Girls Lacrosse program at Oyster Bay High School began in the spring of 2009 with a middle school team consisting of seventh and eighth grade students. The driving force behind the formation of a school sponsored program came from the overwhelming number of students involved in the Rough Rider Lacrosse Program, an organization dedicated to promoting the game of Lacrosse to the youth of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich area. With so many girls participating in the Rough Rider Lacrosse Program, it was a logical choice to offer them the chance to compete for their school.
Under the direction of Head Coach Kristen O’Leary and Assistant Coach Morgan Cestari last year’s junior varsity team experienced considerable success completing their season undefeated in their league. Oyster Bay High School Physical Education Teacher Charlie Rizzuto will coach this year’s varsity team.
Rizzuto was head coach of the boy’s lacrosse program at Commack High School for two years prior to his switch to Oyster Bay. By no means short on experience, Rizzuto has been coaching both boys and girls lacrosse at the scholastic and club levels for the past eight years.
“I have coached the sport of lacrosse at every level, PAL through collegiate and everything in between.” said Rizzuto. Rizzuto, a Long Island native, was a two-time All Division-One Suffolk County attack man at Sachem North. He went on to be named an Inside Lacrosse All-American while attending Pace University.
This year’s girls lacrosse program consists of 35 girls, an incredibly large showing considering the size of the Oyster Bay School District. “The program in itself is like one large team,” said Rizzuto. “They practice together but only make the split between varsity and junior varsity come game day.”
OBHS junior Hannah Kaiser said, “I’ve been waiting for a varsity program for the longest time. My hope for this season is that Oyster Bay surprises the lacrosse community. I don’t want to just have a ‘good’ first year. I want to make the playoffs, and go as far as we can after that.” Kaiser, a member of this year’s varsity team has been a member of the Oyster Bay Girls Lacrosse Program since the start, participating on the middle school and junior varsity teams. Kaiser was instrumental in the growth of the program. An enthusiast for the sport, she along with teammate and fellow Junior Cailin Cook were both leading figures in the formation of the program. “Cailin and I spoke at a board meeting to show how much a lacrosse program would mean to us,” said Kaiser. Now given the chance to compete on the varsity level Kaiser said, “As coach Rizzuto would say, we want to ‘shock the world.’”