As the bleachers at Cold Spring Harbor’s Lessing and Bouchard Field overflowed, fans began lining the fence to get what, for many, would be the only glimpse of their relatives and friends playing a college lacrosse game this season.
Plattsburgh State is more than a five-hour drive north of Long Island and Ohio Wesleyan is a flight away, but on Saturday, the schools’ men’s teams faced off at Cold Spring Harbor.
Ohio Wesleyan won, 17-11.
“It’s fantastic,” said Joan B. Gewurz, who traveled from her home in Queens to watch her grandson and Setauket native Ben Danieli start on defense for Ohio Wesleyan. “I’ve been to Ohio also to see him play, but this is much easier.”
The local players on both sides also appreciated the scheduling move.
“It’s always nice to come down here,” said Montauk native and East Hampton graduate Brendan Damm, one of 31 Long Islanders on Plattsburgh’s roster. “It’s almost more of a home game down here than it is up at Plattsburgh. We’ve got family, friends. Everyone’s down here, so it’s always a pretty good turnout.”
Though Ohio Wesleyan has just three Long Islanders on its roster, Mort Bouchard — an Ohio Wesleyan (1980) and Half Hollow Hills (’76) alumnus and the aforementioned field’s namesake — said he helped organize the game because his alma mater has a strong alumni presence on Long Island.
“The school wants to get more Long Island students coming back,” said Bouchard, a Lloyd Harbor resident. “That’s why we scheduled the game.”
The No. 10 Battling Bishops (3-0) pulled away with a 5-1 run to take a 15-8 lead with 6:46 left in the fourth quarter, but the unranked Cardinals (0-2) had their Long Island players on display all day.
Damm scored four goals, and Austin Belz (Bayport-Blue Point) and Patrick Nash (Massapequa) each added three. Mike Gay (Connetquot) had a goal and two assists. Ryan Callahan (Miller Place) had two assists, and Matthew Prokesch (Eastport-South Manor) added one.
“A lot of us came to Plattsburgh because we knew we would play a game on Long Island,” Nash said.
And hundreds of family and friends came to Cold Spring Harbor to watch them in that game.
“It really stokes us, the players from Long Island, at least,” Belz said. “I think it showed. We got off to a hot start in the beginning. I just wish we could have maintained that throughout the entire game.”