Oceanside clicking as playoffs begin


Sometimes a lopsided thing is seen as a sign of perfect balance.

Such was the case in a win last week for the Oceanside boys’ lacrosse team, which unloaded on league foe Uniondale 17-0 in the teams’ Conference A finale – a display Sailors coach Mike Santisteban said showed his playoff-bound club’s continued commitment to playing “true team lacrosse.”

“I feel right now is the best we’ve been all season,” said Santisteban, whose Sailors (11-2 Conference A, 11-5 overall) enter the Nassau Class A playoffs as the No. 5 seed, facing fourth-seeded Port Washington in the first round May 16.

“We’re playing unselfish, positionless lacrosse,” the first-year coach continued. “A high percentage of our goals are assisted. Lots of ball-sharing. This year we’ve gotten back to foundational things, so we’ve been more balanced offensively, and also as a team.”

Tied with No. 6 seed Herricks for Conference A’s highest assist percentage (80 percent), Oceanside boasts the league’s second-ranked offense (10.8 goals per game), while on the other side of the ledger the Sailors own Conference A’s No. 2 defense (5.4 goals allowed average).

With Oceanside’s move under Santisteban to spread out its scoring this spring, four separate Sailors have notched 34 or more points, paced by senior Michael Madden, whose 54 points tie the attackman for eighth in league scoring, while Madden’s team-high 35 assists rank ninth in Nassau.

Senior midfielder Brian Kraemer leads the squad with 30 goals and ranks second on the Sailors with 46 points. Sophomore standout Brady Nardone – whose six points (four goals, two assists) in a league win over Hicksville trail only Madden’s seven points (all assists) in a win over rival Freeport for team season high – sits third on the Sailors with 40 points, and third in goals with 25.

“We’re excited some of our best players are young,” Santisteban said. “Brady’s been a lead component of our attack.”

Junior Andrew Dato (34 points) has a team second-leading 28 tallies, while sophomore and fellow Sailors midfielder Ethan Silber has 15 goals with 10 assists.

Juniors Dillon Tveter and Sam Feldbaum have split goalkeeping duties in three-game blocks for Oceanside, the arrangement yielding uniformly solid results with the pair posting a combined save percentage of 60, while Sailors senior defender Dylan Bender has tendered yet another stalwart season, ranking third in the conference and 13th in Nassau with 30 takes.

“We're built from our defense out,” Santisteban said. “If you have a great defense and that’s where the toughness comes from, your offense can generate off that. Again, it all works together.”

Oceanside won four of its final six regular-season games, outscoring opponents 74-29 in the stretch but suffering two 10-9 setbacks – first at nonleague foe Lynbrook April 27, then against host Hicksville May 4 – before its free-for-all finale win in which 10 different Sailors tallied, Silber’s four goals the game high.

“We lost two close ones,” Santisteban said. “But we were down and climbed back. We learned from mistakes. I think it happened for a reason.”

Added Santisteban: “This is the best I’ve ever felt about a team going into a playoff.”