By Joshua Blake
The college has acquired a new sports team. It may not surprise sports fans to find out that it’s a women’s lacrosse team – considering lacrosse is one of the biggest sports, and has been growing in popularity over the years.
So, that leaves one question: How did this whole thing start? That’s where Coach Tom Carrro comes in. He sat down at The Babylon Student Center to speak of the whole story, while waiting for his assistant coach and a player. Coach Carro has been coaching for over 20 years and was the assistant at Dowling last year. “I was at the Brentwood campus often over the summer, and I used to just drop in there and say ‘Oh, no girls lacrosse team yet?’” Then one day, Coach Carro gets a phone call from Interim-Athletic Director and Women’s Basketball Coach, Kevin Foley. “Somebody had given him my number and asked would I like to come in and just speak about possibly starting a lacrosse program here,” said Coach Carro.
Since it’s the first year, it’s most likely going to be difficult. However Coach Carro believes the more people hear about this team, the more people will be willing to check them out. He already has a full roster of 17-19 players. “I can step on a field right now with a team,” said Coach Carro. However, a constant issue that pops up now and again with any sport is recruiting – especially at a commuter school like Suffolk. “When you start school, and you didn’t play lacrosse – and you got into the whole work thing – it’s very hard to step back because you’re making money,” says Coach Carro. “It’s hard to convince them that you only have a very short period of time in your life to play lacrosse.,” he adds. “Once it’s over, it’s over.”
The team is comprised of kids fresh out of high-school, along with some sophomores. Coach Carro says he really wants to make an impact this year so he can attract newcomers fresh from high-school. “Our home field is at Ammerman – here,” says Coach Carro. “But, because of the weather situation, and the facilities at Brentwood, we’re able to share with the boys lacrosse team.” “Weather permitting,” he says “as soon as we can, we’re gonna get back here, because I want them to know this is their home.”
After a few minutes, Assistant Coach Ken Costa and defensive player Mel Kahn arrived. When asked what position she plays on the team, Mel said “Up in the air right now,” with a laugh. “I’ve played defense for the majority of my life,” she says. “But, every time you change teams your position’s up in the air, you don’t know where you’re going to be, because you might have to help the team out somewhere else.” Mel has been playing for 12 years – since she was seven.
Her father and her brother inspired her to play lacrosse. “My dad played in high-school. He played baseball but there was a zillion catchers – and that was his position – so one day the lacrosse coach came over and goes you ever heard of lacrosse? And my dad said no.” He’s been playing since then and wanted Mel to do the same. “My mom wanted me to cheer – dance – when that was the only sport I played,” she said.
Assistant Coach Ken Costa who’s played in South Hungtinton, Maryland, Nassau, and many other clubs, talked about injures, and concerns people may have. An ongoing debate is whether the women should wear helmets. “Safety is paramount,” he said. Some players opt to wear helmets. “People can get hit in the head with a stick, people can get hit in the head with a shot – absolutely.” Make note that the biggest concern of the coaches is their player’s safety, and they will do all they can to keep them safe.
Aside from this Mel said she went to a school in Pennsylvania, and if she knew on her search for college’s Suffolk had a women’s lacrosse team, she would’ve come here first. “It’s so beneficial,” she says in regards to the new program. She also stressed that everyone in the lacrosse community is connected. “You know a lacrosse player when you see one.”
And in an odd twist of fate, Coach Carro and Coach Costa played lacrosse against, and with one another, and now they’re coaching with each other. Mel Kahn played against Coach Costa’s team while she was at Sachem North, and beat his team in overtime. Now they’re all on the same team. It’s funny how things come together.