The New York Lizards are a professional lacrosse club based in Long Island, New York, U.S.A. They mostly compete with other opponents in U.S.A’s men’s field lacrosse league alongside other major and minor leagues.
They initially went by the name Long Island Lizards before adopting their new name in 2012. They have three primary club colors; black, green, and white. These colors dominate their club’s logo, lacrosse jerseys, training kits, protective gear, and the rest of the team’s merchandise.
The New York Lizards are among the most notable teams in the sport. However, this has not been so in recent years as the team’s performance has gradually deteriorated. The sudden or gradual poor performance is a widespread phenomenon in any sport. The Lizards continue to work towards regaining their lost glory and bragging rights.
New York Lizard’s advent
The New York Lizard lacrosse team got established in 2001. New York Lizards also have a home stadium designated for playing their home matches like any other team. Their home stadium is known as Shuart Stadium in Hempstead. However, it is a shared facility in their region that gets used for numerous sporting activities.
Reliable sources claim that the Medallion Sports Group owns the team. The owners appointed an individual named Jeffrey Rudnick to chair the governors’ board. With the other members’ aid, the chairman is responsible for appointing competent individuals in critical positions to oversee the team’s welfare.
Since the team’s inception, they have had about four coaches: John Detommaso, Jim Mule, Joe Spallina, and B.J. O’Hara. Among the four, John served as a coach in the least period. He only served for three years but won more titles than the other three coaches ever did.
The current coach, B.J. O’Hara, is assisted by Ted Garber and Mike Gongas, who effectively manage the team.
New York Lizard’s most troublesome opponents
First on the list is the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who always make sure to give the New York Lizard’s a hard time in as many games whenever they clash. The two have gotten involved in several vital games in the past years, including some final matches.
Of these finals, the Chesapeake Bayhawks put up a spirited fight to bag about three major titles against their two. The rivalry continues to go on as the two strive to retain their team’s honor and bragging rights.
There has been growing competitiveness between the New York Lizards and the Boston Cannons in recent years. This undoubtedly got sparked by the signing of Paul Rabil from the Cannons in 2015. The two have been at loggerheads many times, but the New York Lizard’s still managed to retain the bragging rights.
New York Lizard’s recruitments and current players
The Lizards have talent scouts who go around universities or high schools searching for fresh and talented lacrosse players in different states. The lucky players who make the cut get recruited to the junior team and subsequently work their way up to the senior team.
Since the team’s inception, they have drafted several impressive junior lacrosse players, namely, Eric Wedin, who was the first to be drafted in 2001. Others include Matt McMonagle and Rob Pannell from Cornell, Peter McKee, and Luke Duprey from Duke, to mention but a few.
Over the years, the New York Lizards have made several signings to improve their quality of gameplay. Most of these signings are offered or negotiated by opposing teams in the league. Some of the most notable signings include Paul Rabil, Mike Stone, among others.
Currently, the team has twenty-six players in its most recent season’s team. Among them includes the usual starting ten and substitutes. Like it is in any sport, any starting team has a designated captain.
Among the twenty-six, there are three alternating captains: Dylan Molloy, Austin Kaut, and Alex Spring, who play different positions. The players have all gotten drafted from different universities and colleges.
Other New York Lizard players include Sean O’Brien, who plays in the midfield, Connor O’Hara, Ben Randall, Colin Burke, Decker Curran, Andrew Bracy, and Mark Andrejack, among many others.
Sean, Colin, and Curran are midfielders, Connor is an attackman, Randall is a defender, whereas Mark and Andrew are forwards. Each of these players undergoes rigorous training to deliver a worthy performance in a game.
A commonly shared characteristic among these players is the fact almost all of them, if not all, are above the average height, and they also have healthy weights. Hence, it can be deduced that the players are all well-maintained with strict meal plans and consequently fit to perform in a game effectively.
Awards and achievements
The New York Lizards have had significant accomplishments since its inception, and its players have also won several awards and nominations in the past years. The Lizards have bagged three championship titles and an equal number of division titles in the early 2000s.
The three-time championship winner has had its players win prestigious awards such as the Most Valuable Player, which Jay Jalbert first won. Rob Pannell notably won several awards while playing for the Lizards, including Rookie of the Year, the Most Valuable Player, and the yearly award for Offensive Player.
Rob Pannell bagged the Offensive Player of the Year twice, and Drew Adams won Goalkeeper of the Year thrice. Drew bagged the first two of his three awards in two consecutive years.
The New York Lizards have recently had trouble transitioning from the Major Lacrosse League to the recently formed Premier Lacrosse League. Some of the challenges cited include poor performance, which makes it challenging to retain and attract quality players.
The ongoing pandemic saved them from continued match loss as they broke all the wrong records in their 2019-2020 game season. Despite their deteriorating performance, the New York Lizards will bounce back from their recent setbacks, as is expected from their die-hard fans.
The three-time championship title winners will surely regain their long lost glory as they continue to make all the required adjustments. In sports, a bad game or a couple of bad seasons is the norm for any team, be it a top team, an average one, or the perceived underdog in any given league.