A Big Season for Boys LAX

Jack Cavaioli, Editor

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When the season started way back in January in the Farmingdale bubble on Conklin Street, the boys varsity lacrosse team had one goal in mind: get back to the Nassau County Championship and win their first title since 2011. Hardworking and dedicated, the team made the most of their preseason indoor practices and soon enough, it was March and finally time go outside and start the season for real on the turf. After a strong two weeks of practice, the Dalers would get their first test of the year against nationally ranked Chaminade in a scrimmage at Cantiague Park. Considered by many to be one of the best teams in all of high school lacrosse nationwide, this would be a perfect opportunity for Farmingdale to see where they stood as a team, what they needed to improve on, and how they handled facing talented players. Overall, it was a successful scrimmage for the Dalers as they were able to compete with Chaminade in all facets of the game, while thriving in many parts as well.

After more practices, and scrimmages against Manhasset, Half Hollow Hills East, and South Side, the Dalers would have their first official game of the regular season against Lynbrook. Excited and focused, the Dalers were ready to finally play for real and hopefully start the season off with a win. Going into the fourth quarter, the Dalers found themselves in the lead by a score of 8-4. Lynbrook slowly began to come back and chip away at the lead, and with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter they tied the game at eight. Four quarters would not be enough for the game to decide a winner, and overtime was needed. Jake Oemcke won the opening faceoff of overtime for Farmingdale and Coach Hungerford called timeout to set up the offense for his team. After a patient possession by the Dalers, Luke Woodland found Jack Cavaioli open for the game-winning goal, giving the Dalers the 9-8 victory. Even though the Dalers saw a four goal lead slip away, they were still able to find a way to get the win. Farmingdale’s offense was led by Anthony Matalone who had 4 goals and 1 assist, Jack Cavaioli who had 1 goal and 3 assists, and John Pisciotta who had 2 goals and 1 assist. Valuable and important, this early season test would prove to be a crucial one for the Dalers as they were able to learn vital end-of-game strategies to help win the game.

Farmingdale then would go on to win against Carey and Floral Park where they were able to manage game situations much better than they were able to against Lynbrook. This led the Dalers into their first league game of the year, a matchup of two of the county’s top teams, Farmingdale ans Syosset. Over the last few years, this game has been extremely competitive, as both teams have played each other the last two years in the playoffs, with each winning one of the two. After a great week of practice, the Dalers were ready to take on the Braves at Syosset High School on a windy April day. Syosset started off strong, going into halftime with a 10-5 advantage. After some adjustments by the Dalers, they knew the game was far from over, and a better second half would put them right back in the game. The Dalers came out of the break and opened up with a quick goal, courtesy of senior captain Luke Woodland. This sparked the second half resurgence, which was exactly what the Dalers needed. Soon enough the Dalers found themselves now down by only 2 goals after goals from Tom Decker, Jack Cavaioli, and Luke Woodland. With little time remaining in the fourth, the comeback was too little too late, and the Dalers would lose 13-11. Though it was a disappointing loss, there were many positive things to take away from the game. Junior goalie Sean Gillman made some excellent saves, 19 in total, and was able to keep his team in the game. Junior midfielder Jake Oemcke Won 14 of 20 faceoffs, picked up numerous ground balls, played excellent defense, and had an important assist in the fourth quarter during the Dalers comeback. Jack Cavaioli also had a career best game, with 4 goals and 3 assists. Looking back on the game, the Dalers understood that if they erased such a slow start to the game, they most likely would have won. Moving forward the message to the team was start off strong, play fast, and play smart, just like they did in the second half of the loss.

Following the loss, Farmingdale would step up and play excellent lacrosse. Going on a run where they beat Port Washington, Tapan Zee, Bethpage, East Meadow, and defending Class D State Champion Pleasantville. Senior leadership played a big role in the Dalers’ success after the tough loss to the Braves. Not only did the seniors lead by their motivating words, but they also led by example through their own play. Luke Woodland had two 4-goal games, Rich Hickis played excellent defense, and Brian Hayden did his job on offense as well, putting in many big goals and tallying assists during this stretch of games.

After finishing up the regular season on a four game winning streak, it was finally playoff time. The Dalers earned the third seed out of eight for the playoff bracket, and drew a first round matchup with East Meadow, a rematch from the regular season where the Dalers won 11-3. It does not get anymore perfect than a home Friday night lacrosse playoff game in Farmingdale. The stage was set, a beautiful May evening at Don Snyder Stadium, and the team was eager to play. Farmingdale knew that if they won they would have their rematch with Syosset, something they’ve wanted since early March. Farmingdale came out and did exactly what they said they needed to do: start off strong. The team played a stellar first quarter, and found themselves up 5-0. Continuing that same play in the second, the dalers took a 9-1 lead into halftime. Farmingdale would not let go of this lead and ended up with a big 13-2 lead to propel them into the County-Semi Finals against Syosset. The win against the Jets of East Meadow was a well balanced one. Tom Decker, Jake Oemcke, Luke Woodland, Jack Cavaioli, and Dom Ciaccio all pitched in 2 goals apiece to aid the winning effort. Sean Gillman played another fantastic game, making 8 saves, many being acrobatic, difficult stops. Farmingdale looked to take this play into the next round at Hofstra for another night game.

 

This time, Farmingdale unfortunately came out slow, and went into halftime down 4-1. The Dalers made the game interesting yet again, surging a late fourth quarter comeback, but it was not sufficient enough to beat the talented Braves, and ended with a 8-6 loss. With that, the Dalers saw their season come to an end, a disappointing finish, yet another fantastic overall season for a great lacrosse program. The future is still bright, as Farmingdale will return all but 3 starters next year. It would not come as a surprise to anyone if Farmingdale is able to take the next step next year and get back to, and win, the county championship. The seniors will be missed, and Farmingdale Lacrosse can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done over their years as Dalers.