North Shore under new leadership


The North Shore boys’ lacrosse team is under new leadership and a potential culture change. 

The Sea Cliff/Glen Head program lured Nassau County Community College head coach, John Savage, to the shores of Hempstead Harbor. He led Nassau CC from 2017-2023 and was an assistant previously. 

The Vikings are off to a 3-2 start after routing Malverne-East Rockaway, 15-1, on April 3 and then blowing out Oyster Bay last Friday. But Savage knows he’s got work to do. 

Matt D’Aversa scored 4 goals and 4 assists in the Malverne win and is their top returnee after notching 47 goals with 24 assists for 71 points last season. 

The old-school coach demands accountability or playing time will suffer. 

“It’s so early and want to be careful with the credit I give the offense,’’ Savage said. “I’m having a tough time reeling them in. The first year is always the hardest in taking a new coaching job. 

“The offense is the strength but they think they’re better than they are,” Savage added. “They need complete rebooting – structure, discipline accountability. They say they want to be a high performing team.’’

Savage had retired from Nassau to join a cross-training venture with assorted college coaches when North Shore came calling, offering him the coaching position. 

Last seasons’ team under former coach John Pace went 9-9 and lost top guns, Jack Kauffman (73 points) and former football quarterback Peter Liotta. Kauffman is one of the team assistant coaches this season.

Their offense is highlighted by D’Aversa, who had 23 points through the first four games. “He’s got good hands,’’ Savage said. “He finishes the ball, shoots it well.’’

“I’m happy with the start but we need to tighten up some stuff,’’ D’Aversa said. “It’s a new group of kids and a new coach who is doing a great.’’

“He preaches discipline throughout our team,’’ D’Aversa added. “That’s his main message – discipline and everyone does the same stuff.’’ 

The intriguing battle for minutes is at goalie with a potential platoon of Griffin Pinter and Paul Pourakis. Pinter started the first three games but Pourakis was recently starting. The change was made because of Pinter’s missed practices – a sticking point with the new coach. 

 “We like both of them,’’ Savage said. “"Griff'' brings more to the table in terms of stopping it, but we believe in Paul a great deal.’’

Savage is happy with the faceoff work, duties shared by two strong bodies in Alex Choi and Cole Gibstein, the latter a returning All-County player.

On offense, D’Aversa is trying to diversify. “My goal is to try to be more of a passing threat,’’ D’Aversa said. “My passing is better, hopefully.’’

Also forces for The Maroon are Sawyer Deseve (24-21-45 points in 2023) and junior midfielder Luca Korte (28 points). “Luca is strong, can get to the cage,’’ Savage said. 

Attacker Anthony Anobile, who notched 27 points last season, is also a player of note. Athanasios Alafogiannis and Jackson Bachner return as defenders.  

“We have a competitive conference of course but I think we can win,’’ D’Aversa said.