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OBHS Introduces Varsity Lacrosse

Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013 by Charlie Rizzuto

Oyster Bay High School Introduces Girls Varsity Lacrosse

By Aubri Juhasz                  

        After proving themselves at the junior varsity level, Oyster Bay High School’s Girls Lacrosse program is ready to take the next step by competing as a varsity team.

        The Girls Lacrosse Program at Oyster Bay High School began in the spring of 2009 with a middle school team consisting of seventh and eighth grade students.  The driving force behind the formation of a school sponsored program came from the overwhelming number of students involved in the Rough Rider Lacrosse Program, an organization dedicated to promoting the game of Lacrosse to the youth of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich area.  With so many girls participating in the Rough Rider Lacrosse Program, it was a logical choice to offer them the chance to compete for their school.  Two years later the Junior Varsity program was started allowing for the middle school students, who are now high school students, to continue their love of the sport while also providing older students with the chance to be introduced to the sport as well.  This year’s creation of a Varsity team provides those once seventh grade students, now High School Juniors, with the opportunity to compete at a higher more competitive level.   

        Under the direction of Head Coach Kristen O'Leary and Assistant Coach Morgan Cestari last year’s junior varsity team experienced considerable success completing their season undefeated in their league.  Oyster Bay High School Physical Education Teacher Charlie Rizzuto will coach this year’s varsity team. 

        Rizzuto was head coach of the boy’s lacrosse program at Commack High School for two years prior to his switch to Oyster Bay.  By no means short on experience, Rizzuto has been coaching both boys and girls lacrosse at the scholastic and club levels for the past eight years. 

        “I have coached the sport of lacrosse at every level, PAL through collegiate and everything in between.” said Rizzuto.  His coaching career began at Ossining High School in Westchester, as the volunteer offensive coordinator for the varsity team while completing his undergraduate degree in physical education.   Rizzuto, a Long Island native, was a two-time All Division-One Suffolk County attack man at Sachem North.  He went on to be named an Inside Lacrosse All-American while attending Pace University. 

        “I decided to resign as the varsity boys lacrosse coach at Commack and start the program here for many reasons.  The biggest reason was that it gave me the opportunity to work with the kids that I get to see at work everyday,” said Rizzuto.    

Coaching and teaching at the same school allows Rizzuto to get to know his players on a more personal level.  Having done so, he feels that they are an “incredible group of young adults that are a lot of fun to be around.”

        This year’s girls lacrosse program consists of 35 girls, an incredibly large showing considering the size of the Oyster Bay School District.  “The program in itself is like one large team,” said Rizzuto.  “They practice together but only make the split between varsity and junior varsity come game day.”

        OBHS Junior Hannah Kaiser said, “I've been waiting for a varsity program for the longest time. My hope for this season is that Oyster Bay surprises the lacrosse community.  I don't want to just have a ‘good’ first year.  I want to make the playoffs, and go as far as we can after that.”  Kaiser, a member of this year’s varsity team has been a member of the Oyster Bay Girls Lacrosse Program since the start, participating on the middle school and junior varsity teams. Kaiser was instrumental in the growth of the program.  An enthusiast for the sport, she along with teammate and fellow Junior Cailin Cook were both leading figures in the formation of the program.   

        “Cailin and I spoke at a board meeting to show how much a lacrosse program would mean to us,” said Kaiser. Now given the chance to compete on the varsity level Kaiser said, “As coach Rizzuto would say, we want to ‘shock the world’."

        When asked about this year’s transition from junior varsity to varsity, Rizzuto said, “The jump from JV to varsity is a big one, but we are a group with talent, there is no question about that.  We have to view every team as a threat this year being that we have never played a varsity game.  We have to respect every team we play, and approach each game like it is the most important one of the season.” 

       The first league varsity game of the season will be played against Jericho High School on March 21.






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