Working with a roster with more seniors — 10 — than he’s had in seven years at the helm of Oceanside’s girls’ lacrosse program, coach Ken Dwyer is looking for the Lady Sailors to pick up where they left off in 2012 when they peaked at the right time and reached the Nassau Class A semifinals for a fifth straight season.
“I’ve never had this many seniors, so that’s exciting, but we lost five starters including our leading scorer and goalie,” Dwyer said. “One of our goals is to win the conference, but it’s going to be very competitive so we have our work cut out.”
Senior Courtney Collins, a returning All-Conference attack set to play at the next level at Manhattan, had a strong offseason and it showed in the first two games. After totaling 27 goals and 17 assists a year ago, Collins scored five times and added two assists in victories over Carle Place and Hewlett out of the gate. “She’s a versatile player with great field vision who can score and distribute,” Dwyer said. “She’s aggressive to the cage, and if the defense converges on her she’ll find an open teammate.”
Oceanside also brought back All-Conference selections in the midfield and defense with junior Sydney Oshinsky and Kayla Flynn, respectively. Oshinsky comes off a 21-goal campaign and found the net four times in the first two games, while the American University-bound Flynn is a four-year member of the varsity and one of three returning starters from a unit that helped the team rank in the Top 5 in the county in goals against average.
“Sydney’s fast in the open field and one of our main weapons,” Dwyer said of Oshinsky, who’s part of a starting group that includes seniors Heather Burns and Laura Raimondo and junior Kelly Hannon. Burns runs the offense from the top of the box and is an intense on-the-ball defender, Dwyer noted, Raimondo is a gritty player who thrives on the defensive end, and Hannon brings quickness and athleticism.
Flynn returned to the in-close defense along with fellow seniors Kelly Backus, Danielle D’Angelo and Cassidy Freudenberg. Flynn is not only a key in the back row but also on draw control. Just like the soccer field, Backus is a tenacious defender with a competitive fire. D’Angelo is cut from the same mold, Dwyer said, and is like an extension of the coach on the field.
The Lady Sailors lack the experience they’ve had in goal for quite some time, but Dwyer is pleased with the tandem of junior Erin Regan and freshman Taylor Passuello. Both were tested and played well against Carle Place and Hewlett. Passuello totaled 14 saves.
Senior attack Lauren Cassidy has developed into a faceoff specialist, and her success on draws against Hewlett was one of the keys to victory. Senior attack Kaitlyn Barile is dangerous in transition, while senior attack Erica Brook possesses a strong accurate shot and scored some big goals last spring