Building a successful program on lacrosse-rich Long Island can be daunting. In many communities, children are seemingly cradling a stick before they can walk, while in others, a lacrosse stick can easily be mistaken for a crab net.
Competing with some of the more established programs in Nassau County has been difficult for West Hempstead. The Rams are coming off a season that yielded just three wins. With perennial contenders like Cold Spring Harbor and Friends Academy, and up-and-comers like Seaford and Oyster Bay on the schedule, the road to respectability will be difficult.
West Hempstead’s record stands at 1-2 after dropping a 7-3 decision to Uniondale. The Rams got in the win column with an 8-4 road win over Glen Cove. Junior Anthony Messina and senior Alex Patton each scored twice to lead West Hempstead. Junior Michael Mosca was credited with 15 saves.
Dom Carre and Mike Paul share the coaching duties at West Hempstead. Carre would like to see his program get to the next level. “It’s tough because most of the guys didn’t start playing lacrosse until junior high, so they don’t have the knowledge and experience that players in other schools have,” Carre said. “It’s really all about getting better and taking steps in the right direction.”
Mosca, who picked up his first career win in net, last season, as a sophomore, has made steady improvement. He has good instincts, good hands, and reacts well.
Senior Michael Petrizzo is the main cog for the Rams. Petrizzo, who plays close defense, slides well, plays solid on-ball defense, and is as aggressive as they come. Petrizzo is joined by junior Kyle Outmazine and senior Christian Rodriguez on the backline.
Senior Devon Cohen is a scrappy, hard-working midfielder who has a knack for putting himself in position to score. Cohen, who scored a goal in the win over Glen Cove, Patton, and junior Dean McCabe are the top middies for West Hempstead. Messina will be looked upon for goal scoring at attack for the Rams.
Carre knows that the barometer for success can’t be judged solely by wins and losses. “We have some juniors who have talent, but they have to want to take the next step to get better,” Carre said. “We have a lot of kids in the program. They have to look to improve their skill sets and chip away at it.”
The Rams host Valley Stream District this Friday at 4:15 p.m.