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Extras: Long Island Lutheran Girls Lacrosse

Lutheran group: The Long Island Lutheran girls lacrosse

Lutheran group: The Long Island Lutheran girls lacrosse team begins its post-game cheer. Credit: Photo by Mark Hudak

Dropped by a Long Island Lutheran girls lacrosse practice last week for a story that ran in Sunday’s paper (if you haven’t read it, please do). They were a fun group and there were a lot of things I wanted to include and/or detail, but with limited space in the newspaper - y'all know how that goes. So, what we’ve got here is the return of Extras. Leftover notes and quotes for the consumption of the voracious. Read up...

LuHi coach Scott Maxwell

The team’s 8-1 start, going 10-2 last year, and the progress the program has made the last two seasons: “The progress has been outstanding and we’re only losing three players, so we expect them to continue to get better. It’s a pleasure to coach these kids.”

Winning seven straight after the loss to Kellenberg: “The confidence is so high with these girls right now. They come to practice, work hard, and they smile a whole lot.”

Carolyn Dottino is having a breakout season: “She verbally committed to Louisville, so the pressure is off and she’s just playing and enjoying herself. She’s one of the best athletes I’ve been around – her balance and agility are great. And she’s an absolute leader for the team; she does a lot of teaching. She’s got great lacrosse IQ and we’ve got a good coach-player connection where she only has to give me a glance from the field, and we’ll know what the other is thinking. It’s a great having someone on the field to help me convey the messages.”

Putting together a successful team at a small school: "That’s the beauty of this program – all these kids are homegrown. There’s only about 100 girls in this school, so to get a team of this caliber is something we’re proud of… We’re not very deep, so we pray that nobody gets hurt or has a family emergency.”

Playing teams not from the area:  “We don’t have a league, so we have to play private schools. It’s difficult traveling off the island to play. Next year we want to schedule more public schools. While we’re good, we need to challenge ourselves a little more.”

The team's biggest strength: “Once we’re on offense, we’ve got seven girls, and you can’t cover all of them. They’re quick, have good stick skills and they share the ball. Even Kennedy Slater, a seventh-grader, on low attack, and she’s great at feeding the ball.”

Senior defender Deidre Hocevar

Being a team leader: “It’s a position with a lot of honor. I saw so many seniors go before me and I saw what they did and tried to learn from them.”

The program’s progress: “It’s exciting. This is a great year for us and we’re only losing three seniors, so they’ll have a good opportunity to build on it going forward… When we started winning, it was a like a wakeup call to LuHi, like, ‘Look, the girls lacrosse program is something.’ I think us making the best out of a tough situation, being from a small school, shows our character.”

On Lauren Posillico, who getting hit by errant passes twice during practice (Hocevar hit her the first time): “She’s one of the funniest girls on the team. She’ll break out in song and dance. No matter what the situation is, she can brighten your day and make you laugh. We love her.”

Practicing in the parking lot during construction of the new turf field: “It’s not the most ideal situation, but we made it work. People were probably shocked that we were able to win games despite not having a field to practice on.”

Junior midfielder Carolyn Dottino

Parking lot practices: “We didn’t have a field. It’s really tough to play on the asphalt and there were a lot of girls falling. We tried to be aggressive, but it wasn’t working out. So we did a lot of practice on our stick-work. That’s really progressed and it’s made us better at passing and catching, and we can move the ball up field quickly.”

Taking on a leadership role as a junior: “I’ve always been able to work with everyone, even the older girls. If I see something or I think there’s something I can help somebody with, I’ll let them know.”

Committing to Louisville: “It’s hard to describe. All summer I worked hard. Between camps and tournaments all down the east coast, I was home one day the entire summer. After committing, me and my mom were blasting ‘Celebrate’ in the house.”

Junior defender Giovanna Caponi

The team’s 8-1 start: “It’s pretty awesome and satisfying. We want to show why we deserve to have a new turf field. The success is great, but what I love most is the support of the team. We’re all friends and we never get into fights. That’s often an issue with girls, but not with this team. We laugh a lot."

Putting LuHi lacrosse on the map: “It’s a big deal. A lot of people see us as just a basketball school. But I think we’re stepping it up and trying to change that perception.”

G-Raffe nickname: “People call me ‘G-Raffe’ because I’m tall. I always used to be the short kid and then I grew a foot in a couple years.”

How far can the Crusaders get this year? “I think we can win it all. We’ve worked hard and our goal is to take it all the way there [to the championship game] and win it.”

Junior midfielder and unofficial team spokesperson Macy McNair

The team, in general: “I’m really proud of this group. We’re very mature for a young team and that’s encouraging.”

Being part of the team’s progress the last two years: “My first year I was a starter, and we were inconsistent, but I felt so blessed like, ‘Wow, I’m a freshman starting on varsity.’ I was so enveloped in myself. But as I’ve grown and learned more about the game, my focus has been more about the team and how we do collectively. We’ve grown as individuals and a team.”

Having the new turf field: “I can’t explain how excited I am. From the dust bowl we played in last year, that, depending on whether or not it rained, was either a puddle of mud or a dust storm. It felt like we were either in a desert or a swamp.  Then we went into the parking lot, so we all had shin splints and pain from running on that. Having this field now is like heaven.”

How far can you go this year? “I have complete faith in this team. I’m gonna stand by my girl G-Raffe and say we’re going to win it all.”

The sophomore twins, Danielle and Nicole Sinacori (Nicole, who was born first, is bigger, so she’s been nicknamed “Nickel,” and Danielle is “Dime.”

Playing together (Nicole): “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun because we’re always together. Our parents can come and watch us both… We love to work with each other and set each other up with passes.” (Danielle): “She’s mainly the scorer and I assist her a lot. I always see her and I know she’ll catch it, so it’s easy working with her out there.”

Coach Maxwell called the sisterly chemistry “Twin-dar” (could use also go with twin-sync)… (Nicole): “We always know where the other is.”

Differences between the two (Maxwell): “Believe it or not, they’ve got totally different personalities. This one (Nicole) is always smiling and this one (Danielle) is super intense. When she gets dialed in, their faces change… Whereas Nicole will run around you and have your cleat fall off, the little one (Danielle) will run you over.”

Defender Nani Redford

The transition from basketball to lacrosse: “A lot of it is the same, which is why it’s a little easier for me to adjust to it. The running and conditioning is the same, and so are some of the fundamentals.”

Being one of, if not the fastest player on the team: “I think speed is a major asset. That’s one of my strongest qualities.”

Goalie Alexa Beloyianis

Transitioning from being an attack to first-year goalkeeper: “I feel a lot of being goalie is catching and passing skills. Finding your positioning is what I’m trying to understand and learn. But catching and passing is something I’ve already possessed, so that part’s easy. I’ve fallen in love with it and it’s gotten me more into lacrosse.”

Senior defender Kristi Pelizzoli

The team’s demeanor: “We have a lot fun, but when it’s game time, we get serious. This team does a good job of knowing when we can play around and when we have to turn it on.”

As a senior, what does being 8-1 mean to you? “It means a lot. Obviously, nobody likes to lose, and when you’re on a winning streak like this, it’s a great feeling. And with teammates like this, it adds to it; it’s perfect.”

And what would winning a NYSAIS title mean? “I played soccer on varsity for three years, and we made the final three times. Losing in the final is the worst feeling. It’s hard to get over that. So winning it all would put me over the moon.”


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