Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Growing Pac To Bounce Back

By Zach Smart

As the old, recycled yet still effective adage has it, tough times don’t last…tough teams do. Mahopac has battled bouts of inconsistency in this young season.

Let’s quarterback this.

One game the youth-laden Indians overwhelm defending champ Mamaroneck with late game poise, dodging and a high-horsepower offense slinging from every angle.  

Against Arlington, the Indians discovered just how for real Albany-bound goaltender J.D. Colarusso and the revitalized Admirals (a program that appears hell-bent on making up for lost time) are this season.

In the ensuing game, Mahopac would buckle and crumble under a spate of penalties, never possessing the ball enough to make it a game against CT power Barlow.

  Ty Weisberg emerged as the savior against Brewster, canning a pair of clutch goals during crunch time. The win was preserved as goalkeeper Brandon Crecco staved off a last-gasp shot.

Against Yorktown—which hiked up a few rocks on the national mountain following a dazzling 12-8 win over perennial United States power Chaminade—Mahopac’s bevy of offensive weapons and promising defensive grit surfaced during a Ziplock-tight 4-4 first half.

 In the second half, Yorktown’s lightning-quick 5-0 third quarter spurt and a steady stockpile of penalties prompted meager offensive production. Yorktown’s supremacy on ball control and the two-man foundation of Nick Mariano (7 goals) and Brian Presteau (5 goals) prolonged the drought and the Indians’ exasperation.

An 8-7 loss to Putnam Valley forced the ‘Pac to realize there is no tomorrow.

The rearview mirrors on the big Indian bus have been removed, and they must go forward and only forward with a 0-0 mentality. No wistful reminders of what could have been. No woulda, coulda, shouldas.

Mahopac underwent a similar five-game losing streak last year. They ended up advancing to the Sectional championship game.

How will ‘Pac bunjee their way back up again?

“We have to turn the corner and start playing the consistent lacrosse we’re capable of playing,” said head coach Mike Haddeland. “We have to stop fouling and playing man down. This is an inexperienced team and we are going through some growing pains. We can’t grow unless we have them. (After the Putnam Valley loss) we also spoke about what our ultimate goal is. That’s a sectional title.”

Mahopac needs to maintain the positive energy that emanated from the Mamaroneck and Brewster victories. The goal will not waver following a pair of back-breaking losses. Not during the seesaw course of the regular season.

If their performance against Yorktown proved anything, it’s that Mahopac will not wallow under the weight of self-pity. When everything is streamlined, when the offensive symphony is soothing and cats are ripping from mid-yardage and attacking the cage…Mahopac can handle the top-stratum teams.

This season, Mahopac has had to swiftly forge a piecemeal group, some developing chemistry with each other on the pitch for the first time, into a unit.

Last year, Mahopac stormed out of the funk by mastering the team concept. What will rectify the recent woes?

“Making that realize that in the playoffs, everyone starts of 0-0,” explained Haddeland. As for the seniors I think the sense of urgency that comes with “lose and your out” is a great motivating tool.”

It’s hard to assess a Class A landscape like this one. With an evenly-matched core of teams, there is no haves and have-nots this season. There are no cupcakes on the schedule. Not one.

Just a buffet-line of hungry teams, each and every last one of them gunning for Section I’s shiny souvenir.

“I’m not worried so much about our league but just Class A in general,” said Haddeland. “There are a few teams that I think are very close in terms of talent. Mamaroneck, Arlington, Lakeland/Panas and us.”

Lakeland/Panas has dealt with a fair share of growing pains this season, as a piecemeal group returning just two veterans are developing chemistry while simultaneously grasping the niceties of coach Jim Lindsay’s system.

 “Ultimately, it’s going to come down to who has learned the most during the season and of course who wants it the most.”