Varsity Boys’ and Girls’ Lax: The Fighting Owls Soar, Again

Boys’ team (Photo courtesy of Collin Lung)

     This year, the Lynbrook Owls girls’ and boys’ lacrosse teams were ready to soar. After missing last season due to coronavirus, the athletes were elated to get back into the swing of things. This season was much shorter than normal, as it was only six weeks. However, those weeks were jam-packed, with both teams playing more than 12 games. The teams started with key wins that promised a winning season and potentially a playoff run.

     The boys’ lacrosse team began this season as an underdog. Head coach and teacher Bill Leighley explained, “Since most of the strongest teams in Nassau County are in our class, we were a very low pre-season seed. I guess you could say that we could have felt disrespected.” This disrespect motivated the team to have a strong beginning of the season. After a loss to Floral Park in its first game of the season, the team was able to battle to a 12-10 upset win against Locust Valley in its next game; sophomore Michael Fagen and junior Christian Meszaros each scored three goals. 

     In their next match, the boys faced Roslyn and were able to hold the team to five goals, ultimately beating them 8-5. Junior and starting goaltender Colin Lung had a strong performance and explained his excitement for the rest of the season: “I’m most excited to continue creating the bond that I have with my brothers and winning some games in the process. We will get better each and every game.”

     The next game was a tough loss against North Shore; Meszaros scored a pair of goals, and sophomore Max Dantona and junior Tyler Ippolito each added one to the scorecard. The team had tough losses to teams at the top of its conference. However, in the “Sewanee Cup,” against Hewlett, the team came out strong and won a close 10-8 victory. Fagen and Meszaros both showed their talent with three goals apiece. Senior Danté Quilca also added two goals, and Dantona and senior Jake Barroso each scored one, as well. 

     Over halfway through the season, the boys’ lacrosse team battled hard and played many close games. To finish out the shortened season, the team played at Seaford, home against Bethpage, home against Manhasset, at Wantagh, and home against Oceanside. 

     The team was extremely excited to play this season since last season was missed due to Covid-19. Leighley shared that he was “100%” extra excited to play this season. Players from both the boys’ and the girls’ lacrosse teams agreed with this sentiment. Senior and starting girls’ varsity attackman Mason Benvenuto said, “Missing last season made me so much more grateful for this season and each day we play. We never know if we are playing our last game, so we all play our hearts out at each game, just in case anything unexpected comes our way again.” 

      The girls’ team began with an incredible 7-1 start to its season. After an initial 12-15 loss to Bethpage, the team won seven straight games. All the games this season were close, and the girls were able to win with a team effort. Their first win was a 10-9 victory over Locust Valley; sophomore Sarah Curley scored three goals, and sophomore Mimi Berkowitz and senior Maggie Bodian each scored two goals. They followed this win with three impressive victories: they beat East Meadow 16-14, Port Washington 13-8, and Carle Place 14-9. 

      The team then traveled to Seaford where it faced the 5-4 Vikings. Star senior midfielder Jenna Hendrickson scored five goals and had one assist in the 13-10 victory. Senior Madi Marchetta made twelve saves to carry the team to its fifth win of the season. Hendrickson had another huge game against Carle Place, scoring four goals and making one assist. Sophomore Mimi Berkowitz had an incredible performance with eight points—she scored four goals and had four assists. The Bodian sisters, senior Maggie and junior Grace, each contributed a pair of goals to the big win. 

     The team’s next victory was an overtime thriller against rival Oceanside. Grace Bodian scored the game-winner in overtime to lead the girls to a 12-11 victory over the Sailors. There were still five games left before the postseason. The team played Plainedge, Friend’s Academy, and Locust Valley at home. It then traveled to Port Washington, and its final game was against Plainedge. The future is bright for the 7-1 team.

      The talent of the boys’ and girls’ teams is evident, and both teams have seniors who plan to continue their lacrosse careers at the collegiate level. Senior Andrew Ciprian is playing at Palm Beach Atlantic University next year. Benvenuto and senior Sarah Fava are both continuing their careers at SUNY Oneonta and Cabrini University, respectively. Senior Madi Marchetta is continuing her career as goalie on Adelphi University’s DII lacrosse team. And, senior Jenna Hendrickson, a starter on the team since her freshman year, is committed to the University of Pittsburgh, where she will play D1 lacrosse. 

     Lacrosse is a staple of the tight-knit Lynbrook community. Both the girls’ and boys’ teams have proven their strength this season. The Fighting Owls are soaring, again.