Sports: Lacrosse

The CW Post men’s lacrosse team has played in the shadows of Long Island’s titans for as long as the program’s existed, so even in their greatest hour—winning the Division II national championship—it was no surprise that their feat registered only moderately on the local Richter scale. Their title was their second in school history and first in 13 years, yet the highlights weren’t shown on ESPN’s family of networks, the news didn’t make any newspaper’s back page and some might even admit this is the first time they’d heard.

Maybe going back-to-back would change that. Head coach John Jez and the Pioneers, ranked No. 1 in the pre-season, have designs on finding out for sure.

“I think we’re going to be competitive with the strength of our defense, and if the offense puts up points, we’ll have another shot,” Jez said.

Located in one of the most fertile locales for lax talent, CW Post takes advantage by piecing together a largely local roster that more than doubled its opposition’s goal production last year. Seven of the Pioneers’ eight leading scorers from last year were Long Islanders, and four of those are back, including junior midfielders Joe Meo and Mike Messina, both from Sayville. Post’s entire goalie corps, including Hofstra transfer Danny Orlando, is local. Faceoff specialist Mike Cama comes from Levittown. Much of the lineup grew up as adversaries at the high school level but has assembled a dynamite squad in Brookville.

“We’ll find out where we’re going,” Jez said. “[In 2011], we’ll have a better year offensively because we only graduate one guy on the offensive side of the ball. This year, we’ll try to do enough. We know our defense is going to keep us in all the games. It’s just a matter of finding a way to score. We have the talent; we just have to work together.”

Last year was magical as Post polished off two No. 1 teams en route to the title, first upending New York Tech during the regular season and finally holding off Le Moyne, 8-7, in the title game. Still, the Pioneers play with nearly five full scholarships fewer than Division I Hofstra and Stony Brook, a significant competitive disadvantage, particularly when it comes to depth.

“I think that our starting 10 could compete with theirs, but the depth of the bench and the size of the kids, that’s where the difference is,” Jez said. “Their second and third lines are as talented as their first. You can do a lot with five more full rides.”

Regardless, nowhere in the country boasts higher quality D-II lacrosse than in Nassau County, which is home to Post, New York Tech and Molloy, all of which reside in the loaded East Coast Conference and are ranked in the top 10. To the east, Dowling is ranked seventh, and Adelphi, now in the Northeast-10, has won seven national titles in its history, most recently in 2001.

“I do think we should get a little more attention,” Jez said. “Our league is so competitive and everybody knows each other. We’re all pretty equal. I realize it’s a smaller atmosphere, but if people came out, they’d see the games are great.”

brett mauser

Brett Mauser has been a monthly contributor for Long Island Pulse since June 2006. In addition to freelancing for a variety of regional and national publications, he is the executive director of Hamptons Collegiate Baseball.