Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00
“Our goal is to get back upstate and get another shot at McQuaid,” said Mariano. “We know we can beat them. Losing last year has left us with a goal.”
Speaking to Mariano, it is quite apparent that he has instilled in his team, the right attitude for success. While the loss may have been disappointing, Mariano says it has helped to improve a team that encountered very few obstacles on its way to the Long Island championship. The team went 22-0 prior to their defeat in the state finals.
“First time up at the state finals was a great learning experience,” says Mariano. “We didn’t know what we were up against. There was a little bit of nerves. We lost to a better team, but we’ve taken it as a learning experience. We’re well balanced this year. We learned how to see what flaws come up and we were able to pinpoint some flaws.”
Mariano says that the path back to the state finals will be more challenging this year as the competition on Long Island is more difficult. Therefore, Massapequa has scheduled matches with the strongest competition possible, so that its players may improve as well. Thus far, the team has already won tournaments in Lindenhurst and Northport and has started the season 7-0 in league play, even though six players from last year’s team graduated, including four starters. Two of those players earned all-state honors.
“Overall we have real good team chemistry,” Mariano commented.
He particularly praised three seniors, Steven Woessner, Frank DelGiudice and Nick Smith. He referred to Woessner as “a versatile player who is one of the most formidable attackers on Long Island.” Woesnner earned all-county honors last year.
Mariano says that DelGiudice “is one of his best passers and has the best ball control.” Mariano coached his older brother Vinny, and his younger brother, Johnny, who is a freshman, is also on the team.
Smith has older brothers who achieved much success for Massapequa. Christian, graduated last year and earned all-state honors and Brian graduated three years ago and earned all-county honors. Mariano says that the younger Smith is leaving his own mark on Massapequa.
“Nick is my starting center,” says Mariano. “My hitters connect very well with him.”
The regular season continues through October, with the playoffs following afterwards. Despite, the increased level of competition, the team appears poised for a lengthy run, which could take them to another Long Island championship and a rematch with a certain team from upstate, that might just find a Massapequa team determined to finish what was started last year.