Excitement builds for Calhoun

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A Nassau Class B quarterfinal loss last season had rankled the Calhoun boys’ lacrosse team. So much so, said Colts coach Jim Femminella, that the club took it out on its early non-league foes this year to the tune of a 6-0 tear to start the season.

Meanwhile, the Colts’ Conference B-1 rival Garden City was compiling its own four-win run, so that when the teams met on April 4 it was a battle of unbeatens as Calhoun opened league play at home.

The Trojans emerged with their streak intact, as Calhoun fell 11-2 to land at 6-1 overall, 0-1 in league. Despite the setback against one of the best programs in the state, the Colts’ torrid start has been the best of Femminella’s nine-year tenure, and the coach – whose team returned seven starters – made a case for believing his squad can follow up on its eye-catching opening act.

“This could go down as one of the strongest teams we’ve had,” Femminella said. “It’s not only the talent we have, but the depth. At every position the athleticism’s been upgraded, and there’s guys off the bench trying to earn playing time, keeping the starters on their toes. This team wants to be a county contender.”

One Colts starter whose job seems secure is Honorable Mention All-American attackman Nick Turrini. The senior Army West Point commit, who led Nassau with 56 goals last season, is tied for second in B-1 with 29 points, and is two goals off the conference lead with 18. “Nick’s the heart and soul of our offense,” Femminella said. “He’s our go-to guy.”

Goalie Kyle Munson (Drexel University) also needn’t be looking over his shoulder – unless it’s in the act of making one of his many saves, as the Honorable Mention All-County senior has a second-in-conference 77 (.636 save percentage). “Kyle’s the backbone of our defense,” Femminella said. “He’s a great ball stopper.”

Senior midfielder Ariel DeJesus (Honorable Mention All-County) and junior defenseman Aiden McKenna (All-Conference) are two more Calhoun cogs Femminella said will see very little bench-time, with senior defenseman Matt Marziliano also looking like an on-field fixture for the duration. “Ariel’s an old-school two-way middie who does everything at both ends of the field,” Femminella said. “Aiden’s a shut-down defender. Great on ground balls. Matt’s a great team defender who’s all over the field.”

Eight-grader Patrick Carragher – second on the team in both points (18) and goals (10) – leads a precocious Colts trio that includes freshmen Alexander Vieni (12 points, 7 goals) and Jonathan Lewis at attackman and faceoff specialist respectively, while seniors Dylan Radtke and Ryan Padro platoon at middie, rotating with junior Quinn Daniels and sophomore Ryan Baci. Senior Ryan Hilke and junior Conor Andrews are the Colts’ long sticks.

“We knew we’d have a strong team and we’ve worked hard since November,” Femminella said. “If we play organized team defense, keep the ball moving, and stay out of the penalty box, we’ll do okay. We want to surpass what we did last year and get as far as we can.”