Long Beach trending upward


After a 5-4 overtime loss to Carey March 27 and a 9-8 loss to Roslyn April 9, both games which Long Beach boys’ lacrosse coach Jason Pearl considered winnable, the team went back to the drawing board before it began the toughest part of its schedule.

To start, the technical aspects of the game were at the top of the to-do list for Pearl: things like clearing the ball successfully as well as sharpening decision-making skills on the offense for maximizing chances of scoring.

“We needed to kind of stretch things out and expand them; the spacing wasn’t right, getting too cluttered and pushed down,” Pearl explained. “We’re now playing a little wider and making good decisions on offense and good, high-percentage shots on offense. We had to go back and reiterate how important it is to have good shot selection and place the ball in good places around the net.”

But the Marines (7-2 overall, 5-2 in conference play) also encountered a unique problem: fragmentation within their own team.

“I noticed that the defense wasn’t communicating properly so we had to clean that up,” Pearl said. “We started playing individually and not playing as a team, so I had to get to the drawing board there [and explain] that guys, we’re a unit, not individuals, so that was a big point of emphasis.”

It was a unique problem, one that Pearl had never seen from his team, but it was quickly remedied, as proven by Long Beach’s 8-4 win over Oceanside.

“Against Oceanside we had a really good showing, we played as a unit and showed the hard we’ve been putting in at practice carrying over to a game,” he explained. “We were successful in the game and we saw the success and I’m hoping that we could just keep building upon that moving forward and we don’t go backward.”

The first unit that jumped out to him, once everything above was addressed, was the defense. “The whole defensive unit stood out to me, they all played as a unit,” Pearl said. “Nico Kanganis and Brian Cash really did a nice job, Timmy Monzon, Tom Cieleski, [and] Wyatt Katzen.”

Pearl was also proud of the in-goal unit, sophomore Aiden Derupo, calling him “on-point” with a lot of key saves and multiple clears, an improvement from just a few games back in the season.

“We had a couple [of] throw-aways but not like it was, so they were making the right decisions with the ball, now we just got to execute the plays,” he said.

At the end of the day, Long Beach is winning games, which in coach’s own words is good, but now it’s a matter of demanding high-quality lacrosse.

Senior Luke Hartman leads the Marines with 37 points (23 goals, 14 assists), followed by senior Maverick Chernoff (16, 13), freshman Cian Donaghy (15 goals), and sophomore Charlie Conway (8 goals, 10 assists.)

“It’s a really slippery slope there because you’re winning games, so people think it’s good, but I notice that we weren’t playing right, which was upsetting,” Pearl reasoned. “I was getting frustrated in the fact that yeah, the guys are getting Ws here but when we play against teams that are our level or higher, we’re going to have issues, and we did, we lost two games because of it.”

So with all this, Pearl said there’s a new motto going around: “Build upon what we did [and] stay focused.”