Our Top 20 CNY Lacrosse Stories of 2008

#20 Locals at the Under Armour All-America Games
Tim Rommel (Henninger) had the game-winning goal and one assist while Rob Grimm (Carthage) added a goal (Tim's assist) as they represented central New York in the 2008 Under Armour All-America Games held July 12th in Towson, Md. The North's 13-12 win extended its winning streak to three.

On the girl's side, West Genesee Girl's Varsity coach Bob Elmer guided the North to a similar 13-12 win over the South. Lady Wildcats goalie Kelly Fucillo played thirty minutes, grabbing three saves and allowing only three goals.

#19 John Galloway/Pete Culuccini
After starting every game as a freshman and sophomore, Orange goalie Peter Coluccini found the competition wide open for the '08 starting position with the arrival of West Genesee's John Galloway, the first goalie to be chosen Central New York High School Player of the Year. With the starting position the topic of much discussion in the pre-season, Galloway went on to start all 18 games for the Orange and became the fifth true freshman to lead his team to the National Championship. Peter Coluccini spent 2008 as the backup, but over the summer chose to transfer to Ohio State for his last year of eligibility.

#18 Manley Field House Renovations
On September 26, 2007, ground was broken for the new Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, to be located next to Manley Field House. As a part of the overall plan, temporary artificial turf was installed in Manley over the third weekend of January, 2008, creating much needed practice space for SU's outdoor sports teams. The AstroTurf, with football markings, creates a practice area some 70 yards by 40 yards at it's widest point. The turf, funded entirely by one booster, Stuart Kroll, can only help both the men's and women's lacrosse teams by providing a less crowded schedule for practice facilities, as well as a longer field of play than the current half-dome setup.

#17 Laxapolooza
Gary Gait hosted this major lacrosse event at the Dome in his new capacity as SU's Women's Lacrosse head coach. Combined with the men's scrimmage with Harvard, the Laxapolooza featured youth clinics for boys and girls, shooting demonstrations by Gary, Paul Gait, and Mikey Powell, and music by Mikey's band Villians Trust. We can see this event growing every year.

#16 Perritt, Carrozza and McGonigle Return
After off field incidents resulted in the suspension of middie Pat Perritt, defensive midfielder John Carrozza and long pole middie Sean McGonigle, all three returned to the Orange as practice for the 2008 season began. Three parts of the puzzle that was to be the return of the Orange to the top of the D-I lacrosse world.

#15 Big East Men's Lacrosse Conference
In June the Big East Conference announced that beginning in 2010 men's lacrosse would become the Conference's 24th sponsored sport. The seven conference schools that will participate in the newly formed league are Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Syracuse and Villanova. Once approved by the NCAA, Syracuse would no longer have to depend totally on an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, but could automatically qualify with a Conference Championship.

The subject of the ramifications of a men's Big East Lacrosse Conference has mostly involved how it would affect the Orange's ability to schedule traditional and area rivals like Binghamton, Albany, Army, Hobart, and Cornell. Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni, as well as most CNY lacrosse fans, hopes their yearly battle with the Orange will survive.

#14 Gary Gait's Comeback
In October the Rochester Knighthawks, needing an answer to the loss of John Grant, Jr. to injury, acquired the rights to Gary Gait who retired from the indoor game following the 2005 season. Of course, the first thought around here was if his comeback might affect his preparation for his second season at the helm of the Orange women. It won't.

Catch a game. It's a chance for you to let your kids see the best ever.

#13 Recognizing Local Alums
Nick Lococo (CNS) was named MAAC Rookie of the Year, and finished third in Division-I with 2.13 assists per game.
Duke's Mike Manley (Penn Yan) was named ACC Rookie of the Year.
Ohio State goalie Stephan Schroder's (ESM) coast to coast goal against Cornell in the NCAA tournament was named ESPN's #1 Play of the Day.
Marist College was the top face-off squad thanks to Baldwinsville's Dan Needle, who finished #2 behind SU's Danny Brennan.
The NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year went to Onondaga Community College attackman Ed Prevost (IHC).
Baldwinsville's Nick Fiorentino steps in to save Salisbury Gulls vs. Cortland in the NCAA D-III Final.

#12 High School Injuries
Injuries and illness severely limited, and in some cases ended the seasons of some of the top area scholastic players during the spring of 2008. West Genny's Mike Fetterly and Ryan Barber, B'ville's Billy Ward and Evan States, and Northstar Stephan Ianzito, among others, had seasons affected by health issues, which in turn deprived fans of some very exciting lacrosse. The Wildcats lost two in a row, Billy Ward was a sophomore leading the league in goals and assists, and Ianzito was the centerpiece of the peaking Northstars. Barber and Fetterly were able to come back and help the Wildcats to another State title, but now both move on to College ball, Fetterly at UMass, Barber at SU. Ianzito joins Barber with the Orange, while Ward and States return for two more seasons for the Bees.

#11 Under-19 World Championship
Of course, the Canada/US matchup was the predomiant story leading up to the 2008 Under-19 World Championships held in Coquitlam, BC., in early July. SU's Joel White and Chad Amidon, along with now-Orange man John Lade played for the US, while Baldwisville alum, and Haverford, Pa., head coach John Nostrant was an assistant coach. Others from the college ranks included Hobart's Mike White, and OCC's Aaron Printup. Gary Gait was head coach for Canada.

What made the event even more special was the inclusion and outstanding performances of many upstate high schoolers. Iroquois Nationals' Emmett Printup (Niagara-Wheatfield/now OCC) led the tournament in goals with 33, followed by teammate Miles Thompson (Salmon River/now LaFayette) with 25. James Cathers (Corcoran), also playing for the Nationals, had 18 goals, while Zac Guy (LaFayette/now Tully) had 14 goals and 3 assists playing for England. Other familiar names with upstate connections gaining valuable international experience: Trevor Clark (Onondaga Central), Dalton Powless (Corcoran), Lyle Thompson (Salmon River/now LaFayette), Pierce Abrams (Niagara-Wheatfield), and Canisius High's Jeff White. You can check all the team and individual stats starting here.

#10 Hobart Trustees Reconsider Decision to Move to D-III
Here was no better example of how lacrosse is really more than a sport - it's a huge family. When the Hobart Trustees announced on April 26th that, because the school did not have the resources to compete at the Division-I level and that Hobart would be moving back to D-III, the family as a whole was hurt - the Hobart side of the family was crushed. The announcement came after a huge win as the Statesmen upset then #15 Loyola 10-6, and one week before their traditional battle with nearby Cornell.

As often happens during times of adversity, the family came together as parents and alumi alike flooded the College with phone calls and emails, mostly speaking out against the move, and an online petition with over 2,000 names was circulated. The outpouring of confidence in Hobart's ability to continue to compete at the Division I level caused the Board of Trustees to reconsider their decision and notify the team, parents, and alumni the night before their game with Cornell, historic in its own right as it was to be the very first night game at Boswell Field.

#9 Utica College's Tammy Kohanski
Tammy Kohanski (Corcoran) scorched the twine for the Utica College women’s lacrosse team in 2008, scoring 69 goals and adding 20 assists, smashing the team scoring record of 69, previously held by Kristy Patchett. Kohanski was second in the nation in freshmen scoring, and was named Division III Upstate Women’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Year, named to the IWLCA All-Empire Region Second Team, was the Empire 8 Conference Rookie of the Year and an all-conference first team selection.

#8 Steven Brooks, Heart Attack Goals
Orange senior Steven Brooks twice forced overtime with goals in the last minute of regulation (Virginia, Georgetown), and scored the the game-winner in OT vs. Hopkins, in an incredible three-game stretch that began people wondering if he had acquired a magic touch in the off-season. Brooks finished the year with five game-winning goals, and was named the nation's top midfielder.

#7 Turf Issues Haunt Local High Schools
It began in Liverpool where it's been a while since a home game or meet of any kind has been played at the stadium due to an uneven sub-surface. Then results of tests at artificial turf fields in New Jersey resulted in Cicero-North Syracuse closing their field, for safety's sake, until a definitive ruling about lead dangers was issued. CNS spring teams were forced to move home games to the North Syracuse Jr. High School. Moreover, Section 3 and State playoff games, originally scheduled for the Bragman Athletic Complex, had to be moved to Coyne Stadium. That resulted in higher expenses for the Section, loss of revenue for the CNS Lacrosse Boosters, and parking fees for fans.

Other local districts, seeing the advantages of all-weather turf, put project proposals before their voters. Unfortunately, the voters were not always agreeable to the idea. The vote in Fayetteville-Manlius saw threats, absentee ballots, and traffic jams on its way to another defeat. Donations from music and sports boosters didn't help in Auburn, efforts in Jordan-Elbridge fell by the wayside, and the Board of Education wouldn't even allow a vote in Jamesville-DeWitt.

Things are back to normal in Cicero-North Syracuse as the turf reopened for the fall teams after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that children were not at risk from artificial turf. ES-M used an EXCEL grant from the State to get voter approval for new turf, and down south Chenango Forks debuted their new field this Fall.

#6 Cody Jamieson, Jeremy & Jerome Thompson, and Syracuse University
It seems like forever that rumors and suppositions have been flowing through the lacrosse community concerning whether or not Jeremy and Jerome Thompson and Cody Jamieson were destined to wear Orange before their college careers ended. All three have been teammates at different levels of lacrosse over the years and shared a NJCAA Championship at Onondaga Community College in 2007, where all were named First Team All-Americans. Usually you can't do much better than that, but Cody Jamieson has. He was named NJCAA Attackman of the year, won the Tom Longboat Award for 2007 as the top Canadian Aboriginal male athlete, and was named winner of the 2006-07 David Rowlands Award as the NJCAA Male Student Athlete of the Year for all sports. He was also the 2007 Minto Cup MVP. Speculation was fueled further when the Thompsons chose to sit out the 2008 season at OCC, possibly to allow for an extra year of eligibility in the Dome.

As we go to press, fans across the region, and probably the entire D-I community, still wait for word on whether the Orange will have even more firepower than what is already an impressive group of hungry laxers looking for a repeat.

#5 Gait and SU Women
It seemed at the time that Dr. Daryl Gross made Gary Gait an offer he couldn't refuse when he asked him to come back to Syracuse and take the reigns of the women's lacrosse program. Even looking strictly at the talent that Gait was going to get to work with, that was so true. Head coach Lisa Miller, the first and only coach the Orange women's program had ever had, and her team were coming off a Big East Championship season. Going into the Big East Championship game, they were on pace to become the highest scoring offense in NCAA history. And the future looked bright with a freshman and sophomore named to the All-Big East First-Team.

Without question Gait came in knowing the game as well as anyone, but he also knew that the team could be even better, and he had the confidence to think he knew how to accomplish that with the help of highly respected assistant coach John Battaglino, and two others new to coaching but very successful as collegiate players, Maggie Koch and Shannon Burke.

A dark cloud fell over the program in early March with a season-ending injury to co-captain Bridget Looney. The team used that setback as yet another reason to strive to improve upon 2007.

And that they did. Together, as a team, they had the most successful season in SU women's lacrosse history as they repeated as Big East Champions, won a program record 18 games, led the nation in scoring and scoring margin, made their first appearence in the NCAA Final Four, and finished 4th in the nation, a program best.

As for the future, four players (Katie Rowan, Halley Quillinan, Christina Dove, and Lindsay Rogers) were named IWLCA First or Second Team All-Americans. There's something else, too. Gait recognized the Section 3 talent that was going elsewhere to play college ball and has made it one of his goals to get more local players wearing Orange. And he's making great strides in that, going from none in 2008 to five on the current roster.

#4 Hamilton Women Are National Champions
After winning their second straight Liberty League title, the the #4 ranked Hamilton College Continentals travelled to Roanoke College's Donald J. Kerr Stadium and proceeded to defeat #1 Salibury in the semifinal, then avenge their only loss of the season by upending #3 Franklin & Marshall in the Championship Game, 13-6.

Freshmen Sarah Bray and Anne Graveley combined for eight goals, with Bray being named Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Junior Kaillie Briscoe's two goals and two assists gave her 107 points to set the Hamilton single-season record. She also appeared in Sports Illustrated's August 25th "Faces in the Crowd". Head women's lacrosse coach, Patty Kloidt, 76-27 after six years at Hamilton, was selected as the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. Share the excitement!

#2(T) Katie Rowan
We couldn't do it. We couldn't choose between Katie Rowan and Mike LeVeille for the 2, 3 spot. The choice was closer than their houses back in Delmar, so we've got a tie.

Anticipation. After two stunning years on the Hill, the anticipation for Katie Rowan's junior season was immeasurable. Rowan's 2008 began by being named Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Preseason First Team All-American, and she was included on the initial Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. If her first game was any indication, a 24-3 win against Canisius where Rowan led the team with 6 goals and 3 assists, Rowan, the Orange and their fans would be in for a great year.

Below is a list of her accomplishments in 2008. You be the judge. Did the unassuming Rowan, who sometimes had to be told to share less and shoot more, live up to everyone's expectations?

• Tied the school record for most goals scored in a game with seven.
• Set NCAA Championship and school single-game records with eight assists and 13 points
• Broke the school single-season scoring record with 142 points
• Became the first player in school history to score 100 points in a season.
• Broke the single-season school record with 69 assists.
• Her 69 assists also ranked No. 1 in the country and tied the single-season record set by Northwestern’s Hannah Nielsen in 2007.
• Her 73 goals rank second on the single-season record list behind teammate Christina Dove’s 75.
• Finished the season with 142 points, 28 ahead of the next-highest scorer
• Led the nation in points per game with 6.76.
• Ranked second in the nation in assists per game (3.29) and 12th in goals per game (3.48).
• Named BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year
• Named one of four finalists for the 2007-08 Women’s Lacrosse Honda Sports Award.
Named a 2008 Tewaaraton finalist.
Named to US training team for the 2009 FIL Women’s World Cup, which will be held June 17-27 in the Czech Republic.
• Became Syracuse’s career leader in points (284 pts.), goals (178) and assists (106) this season.

#2(T) Mike Leveille
Unlike Katie Rowan's situation, Mike LeVeille and the Orange men entered 2008 under the cloud of a 5-8 2007 season they might like to forget. That tempered lofty predictions, as Inside Lacrosse's 2008 Face-Off Yearbook had them ranked 11th going into the season, and a Second-Team All-American mention for Mike LeVeille. But before the end of February LeVeille had been named to both the LOWE'S Senior Class Award list and the preseason Tewaaraton Watch List. Before the end of March, LeVeille had over 100 career goals and the Orange were #1 in the country. Expectations were flying high.

While his greatest single moment on the field this year might have been his game-winning goal in the second overtime of the NCAA semi-finals against Virginia (a career-best day with 7 points), what makes the Mike LeVeille story so special is that many of his recognized accomplishments occurred in the classroom and in the community at large.

He was named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Men’s At-Large Academic All-America First Team, receiving more votes than any other candidate and was named the University Division At-Large Academic All-American of the Year.
Leveille was also selected as the winner of the 2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s lacrosse division. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented to the outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athlete in college lacrosse, based on excellence in character, in the classroom, and in the community, as well as the candidate’s performance on the field.

Back on the field, Mike Leveille was named the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player. He scored one goal and added two assists against Hopkins in the championship game, giving him 11 goals and eight assists in the tournament. He completed his Orange career ninth in career goals (132), 12th in assists (83) and 12th in points (215). He also strung together a 57-game point streak, the fourth-longest in Orange history.

And last, but certainly not least, LeVeille was awarded the 2008 Tewaaraton Trophy winner, indicative of the nations top college lacrosse player.

#1 Orange Wins their 10th National Championship
What a turnaround! From a 5-8 record and no post-season for the first time in 24 years, to the top of the college lacrosse world in just one season. So fitting that it came exactly 25 years after the first Syracuse National Championship team, taking their turn as the traditional honorees at halftime of the 2008 National Championship game. One of many connections between the two editions of Orange champions - the 2008 squad was the first NCAA team since the 1983 Orange to win the National Championship after missing the tournament the previous year.

This team brought something back besides the Crown. The feeling that a game was never over until the final horn . . . that there would always be someone stepping up to do whatever was needed to win the game. That was nice.