Pierson Continues Support of Bonac Lacrosse
By Gavin Menu
East End lacrosse programs have grown over the last decade ever since varsity teams sprouted at East Hampton and Southampton high schools and The Ross School. For a time, Pierson High School sent athletes to Ross for lacrosse, but for the last three years it has been East Hampton benefiting from the shared program.
East Hampton head coach Mike Vitulli this spring is expecting eight to 10 players from Pierson to join the boys program. Pierson junior Drew Harvey will lead the Bonackers, returning after an all-county season in which he was the team’s leading scorer.
“We get a lot of contributions from Pierson kids,” said Vitulli, who will begin practice this Monday, March 4. “The bottom line is the Pierson-East Hampton relationship works, because the schools work well together. The most important part is they want to come. If you have kids who want to come play, it makes things a lot easier.”
Vitulli credited Pierson’s first-year athletic director, Todd Gulluscio, with quickly reaching out in an attempt to support the relationship with East Hampton lacrosse. Gulluscio this week said he held an initial meeting with those interested in the sport, and said 10 students attended.
The Ross School lacrosse program, which began in 2009 and was combined with Pierson, will not field a team for the first time this spring because of dwindling interest, according to Jaye Cohen, the school’s athletic director.
“There’s 11 on the field, and you usually like to have 18,” Cohen said. “Our demographics have changed a little bit and we’re a very international group. We have a lot of Asian kids and it hasn’t really piqued their interest.”
East Hampton lacrosse has struggled to compete in the difficult ranks of Division II, and in Suffolk County in general, which, along with Nassau County, is one of the more rich areas for lacrosse talent in the country. The team had a breakout year in 2010, finishing with a 13-4 record, but missed playoffs in 2011 and 2012.
“Any team sport, probably besides boys soccer, has a hard time consistently filling out rosters, consistently having enough athletes to go around,” Vitulli said. “In lacrosse you play somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 kids and most rosters have 35 kids. We typically have 20 to 24.”
Vitulli said the East Hampton program has been successful in sending students to play college lacrosse, a record he is especially proud of.
“We do have kids who play in college, so even though our numbers are low, we’ve had five or six guys go Division I and a bunch of guys go Division III,” Vitulli said. “I think for a small program, we do a good job of getting kids to college.”