Baldwin a work in progress

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A lack of success on groundballs and draws ultimately led to Baldwin dropping its Nassau Conference A boys’ lacrosse opener to visiting Plainview, 10-6, despite leading by a couple of goals after the first quarter on April 2.

Senior Nate Holmes and junior Ronnie Marchese-Silano had a pair of goals apiece for the Bruins (0-4), who are showing positive signs under new coach Tim Clancy.

“The kids show up to work hard every day and they’re eager to learn and get better,” said Clancy, who spent the past six years coaching St. Anthony’s in the Catholic League. “They’ve got a positive attitude and I’m trying to stress the team concept,” he added. “The Plainview game was the best we’ve stuck to our offensive sets so far. It takes time. If we did a better job on groundballs, the result could’ve been different.”

Plainview scored five goals in the second quarter to erase a 2-0 deficit. Baldwin cut the margin to 7-5 entering the fourth but was unable to get Clancy his first victory at the helm. Senior Christian Vera, the top returnee from a year ago when the Bruins went 3-5 in conference play and qualified for the Class A playoffs, also scored along with sophomore Nick Metzguer-Schiro.

“If we played them 10 times, we’d probably split,” Clancy said of Plainview. “It was a tough game, but we’ll learn from it.”

One of the more encouraging signs, Clancy said, in the early going has been the play of new goalie Trevor Watts. A junior and converted field player, Watts made 12 saves against Plainview and showed an improved clearing game. Through four games he’s averaged more than 10 stops. “He’s the only goalie on our roster and one of our most dependable players,” Clancy said. “He’s coming along as a vocal leader and by the end of the year, he’s really going to get there.”

Defensively, senior Donnoven Panky is Baldwin’s most accomplished at the position. He’s strong on the ball, moves well and provides size. Sophomore Isaiah Bell brings a ton of potential and has a combination of speed and athleticism. Clancy said he’s already trusting him to handle difficult assignments. Junior Gabe DeRoche is contributing as a long pole middie and taking some draws as well.

Vera, a captain, will rarely come off the field on attack. He also plays on the defensive side on man-down situations. “Everything runs through him offensively,” Clancy explained. “He’s our quarterback and also one of our hardest-working kids.” Vera had three goals and one assist in a season-opening 9-8 overtime defeat at Mepham. Senior Connor Smith has a powerful shot and Metzguer-Schiro quick feet and the ability to dodge.

Spearheading the midfield is Holmes, who played quarterback for the football squad and possesses one of the team’s best shots, fellow senior CJ Cummings, who takes the majority of draws and sparks the transition game, and Marchese-Silano.

The Bruins are seeded No. 7 out of 13 teams in Class A.