Johnson Wong called the beginning of the season shocking for his Hunter boys lacrosse team. The Hawks, just three years into their existence, are playing and competing at the highest level of PSAL lacrosse.
“They haven’t seen it,” Wong, the coach, said. “But I don’t think skill wise that they weren’t up to the challenge. It just looked like they thought it was going to be a lot easier.”
The Manhattan school finished third in the PSAL Bowl division, but went on to beat Long Island City 6-4 for the 'B' city title last season. Its initial move to the upper division got off to a rocky start with four consecutive losses before beating Curtis. There were flashes of how good they could be as the Hawks (2-6) fell by just a goal to defending champion Midwod in their first meeting and had a four-goal defeat to division power New Dorp.
Hunter picked up a win over Tottenville last week.
All of it culminated in an 8-7 victory over league leader Tottenville on Randall’s Island last week, the Pirates’ first loss of the season. Junior Nick Mietkowski scored four goals and dished out two assists. He has 24 goals and 14 assists and Wong believes he can be one of the league’s best players. Max Baren added two scores and an assist. Wong felt his team didn’t even play its best in the game.
"We feel like we can play with any team here,” Mietkowski said. … “We show flashes that we look like we could be the best team in this league.”
Consistency has been an issue. Hunter had a one-goal loss to last-place Columbus and followed up its win over Tottenville with a 10-7 loss to Midwood at Aviator Sports Complex on Thursday. Mietkowski cited mental lapses that come from inexperience. It's more difficult to defend the teams they play against now since you can't just focus on shutting off one or two players.
Hunter believes its success can continue moving forward as it becomes adjusted to its new surroundings
“We know what we are up against,” Mietkowski said. “It’s not like anything is a surprise. We just have to keep it up at that level.”
Lions roar into top of NYCHSAA ‘A’ division: Monsignor Farrell didn’t need any extra motivation going into its first meeting with Mount St. Michael. The Mountatineers beat the Lions three times last season, including in the NYCHSAA Class A title game where Farrell midfielder Mark Rini missed much of the game with a knee and ankle injury.
His team got exactly that and Rini was the catalyst scoring three times in a 4-1 win on Staten Island Tuesday. The senior midfielder now has 12 goals this season. Senior defender Vinny DiMare tallied the Lions final goal to help his team move to 3-0 in league play to keep pace with Archbishop Stepinac. Mike McBrien had the lone score for Mount.
“It was very fitting for him to do that,” Lyman said of Rini, a three-year varsity starter. “It was definitely a little personal redemption.”
Farrell’s biggest strength so far has been its defense. It hasn’t allowed more than five goals in five of its first eight games. Lyman described the group as aggressive and physical with no one standing less than 6 feet tall. DiMare, a long stick midfielder, leads a talented group that includes James Anderson, Ryan Watt and Connor McManus.
“Guys who like to dodge normally, they are kind of tentative against us because we have some bigger guys,” Lyman said.
McGovern making name for herself at TMLA: Anna McGovern isn’t your typical New York City lacrosse player.
“It was kind of like a sport like, ‘Oh let me try it,’ McGovern said. “Then it turned out to be one of my best sports.”
Unlike the majority of her five borough counterparts the Mary Louis senior midfielder has been playing the sport since she was in third grade. The Floral Park native played in a local PAL league and was also a part of one in Garden City, a hot bed of lacroose, for a year. It’s thrusted her into a leadership role for one of the city's budding programs.
“Anna is a smart and knowledgeable player,” TMLA coach Keri La Magna said. “She is an extension on the field. She helps facilitate the offense and defense into position. She takes charge and reacts quickly. She encourages the other players to play hard.”
McGovern, an All-City honorable mention selection by The Post last year, has used her pedigree and athletic ability to help the Hilltoppers reach their first-ever CHSAA Nassau/Suffolk Class A final last season. She was named the league’s most valuable player and has already scored 28 goals on just over 50 shots on net and dished out five assists.
“I was kind of surprised that I got it,” McGovern said. “I was really happy. There were so many good players in our league.”
What makes her stand out goes beyond her offensive prowess. McGovern is a two-way midfielder and isn’t afraid to mix it up on the other end. She is a physical defender with impeccable technique, making her tough to get by. McGovern has enjoyed growing with the program and is hoping to help TMLA earn a return trip to the final.
“It’s kind of cool to see the girls come in and they are like, ‘Oh what’s lacrosse?’ and by senior year they are starters,” McGoven said.
Tottenville, Johnson Wong, Junior Nick Mietkowski, Monsignor Farrell, Farrell coach Steve Lyman