The Schreiber Vikings varsity lacrosse took a hit last season, after losing many of its key senior players from 2009. Most noticeably missing from the the Vikings roster was midfielder Jeff Froccaro, and the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. But that's no reason to count the team out.
Coach Joe Mascaretti has been grooming young star players to lead the Vikings in the near future. One promising athlete is the attacker John Crawley. Crawley was one of only a few freshman in Port Washington boys lacrosse history to start every game except for the few times he was on the injured list.
Although a back injury forced him to miss three games, Crawley performed well in all 13 games he played. As a freshman, he accumulated 12 goals and 20 assists in the season and has high hopes for his sophomore year and beyond.
So while his peers spend time at the beach this summer, Crawley works vigorously to improve his game for the upcoming season.
"All summer I have been on a team called 'For the Love of the Game,' Crawley said, referring to the Long Island team whose players have been chosen by the Long Island Empire Team and teams sponsored by such companies as Under Armour and Addidas. "I've been doing that and a couple of recruiting camps like National Maverick Showtime Lacrosse Recruiting."
College lacrosse scouts frequent these camps, which are known to develop some of the finest lacrosse players in the country. Hoping to play at the college level, Crawley is not yet sure which school he favors. Right now he maintains focus on becoming a better player and helping the Vikings reach new heights.
Asked about his goals for the team this upcoming season, Crawley said, "To make it to the playoffs and past the first round. We are missing a lot of seniors and people who left, but I am confident we can make it past the first round and at least into the second round."
As for his personal goals, he said, "I'd like to get my stats up and become a bigger role player both in practices and in games."
Coach Mascaretti shares Crawley's ambition, noting the athlete's potential for the team. "We will need John to take a much bigger role this season as a sophomore," Mascaretti said. "We will need him to be one of our primary goal scorers, feeders, and quarterbacks of our offense."
Fans will have to wait to see if the Vikings can advance deep into the playoffs. Yet Crawley has already shown signs of becoming a big time performer. In a summer tournament U15 National Championship he scored the tying goal in the quarterfinals with only 13 seconds remaining. He repeated this remarkable feat in the semifinals, this time with 32 seconds left on the game clock.
"I have had the chance to watch John at several tournaments this summer," said Vin Della Speranza, the assistant varsity lacrosse coach. "His confidence has grown and his understanding of the game has grown tremendously."
Crawley attributes his miraculous late game performances to the mindset he brings to every game. An all county wrestler and honor roll student, Crawley blends a style of aggression and intelligence into his play.
"I usually come out aggressive but also try to direct my teammates as a leader on the team," he said. "However, I try to take it into my own hands when the game is on the line. I stop telling others what to do and just do it myself."
A lot may be riding on Crawley, and his ability to help lead the team. But Crawley appears game. Just ask Della Speranza.
"Potential is something that is naturally given to you," Della Speranza pointed out. "Improving your potential is something that is in your hands and something that you control."
"You put in the work and dedication the results will show," Dell Speranza added. "John is in the weight room in the off-season, has the stick in his hand during the winter, and plays all summer. Practice and dedication equal results. With these results the sky is the limit."