OUT OF FOCUS

first_img Published on February 11, 2016 at 12:03 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Mariano received attention starting as a first grader by playing against sixth graders. He made it onto his future varsity coach’s radar as a fourth grader. He was the center of defensive game plans as Massachusetts’ leading goal-scorer in his first two collegiate seasons.But Mariano says the turning point of his career, which began when a miniature plastic stick was placed in his hands two hours after birth, came just months ago when he transferred to Syracuse.The focus, for a change, isn’t solely on him. His SU coaches give him more leeway to experiment and make mistakes than his UMass coaches did. He won’t attract the opposition’s No. 1 defender. When he plays midfield, a position he hasn’t played since sixth grade, he’ll only be guarded by a short stick instead of a long pole.I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy playing lacrosse before.Nick MarianoBefore transferring, Mariano totaled 51 goals and 30 assists in two seasons. He was recruited by Syracuse out of high school, but the Orange’s interest wavered. Mariano took a detour, but he is finally at the school he dreamed of attending while growing up.The natural attack brings a dynamic skill set that gives Syracuse flexibility to play him either at attack or midfield. He fits into an offense that also features attention-getters Dylan Donahue, who scored 50 goals last season, and Jordan Evans, who wears Syracuse’s famed No. 22.That leaves Mariano to take advantage of opportunities he hasn’t had since playing at Yorktown (New York) High School, when he played alongside five other All-Americans his senior year and anything less than a section title was considered a failure.“You want to play at the highest level you can possibly play at,” Mariano said. “… and that’s what you get when you come here (to Syracuse).”Courtesy of Phil MarianoNick Mariano (23) led UMass in scoring in each of the past two seasons. But after transferring to Syracuse, he’ll attract less attention than he did with the Minutemen.Even as a first grader going against sixth graders, Mariano had the best stick skills on the field. He threw behind-the-back passes with ease and scored three goals that season in extremely limited playing time to reduce injury risk against bigger kids.After Mariano’s first-ever goal, an announcer at the game proclaimed, “Believe me folks, you’re going to hear about this kid as a Division I player somewhere,” Phil recalled. The 7-year-old continued garnering attention from parents who were upset he was better than their children five years older.Before the spring of Mariano’s second-grade year, a coach told his dad he would no longer be allowed to play in Ossining’s league with the older players because he was too young. Phil Mariano said he thinks the real reason was because several parents complained Nick was too good.Emma Comtois | Design EditorSo he put his house up for sale and moved to Yorktown, which borders Ossining, factoring in both the long-term and short-term ramifications. Nick could play for the Yorktown Athletic Club, which had teams appropriate for his age and, later on, play for a high school that sent 11 All-Americans to Syracuse from 1981 to 2001, including National Lacrosse Hall of Famers Tim Nelson, Roy Colsey and Dom Fin.“It had all to do with lacrosse,” Phil said of the reason why he moved. And the reason Mariano transferred to Syracuse had “absolutely” to do with a chance to win a national title, his dad said.In his second collegiate game, Mariano scored a game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Minutemen over Ohio State in a nationally televised game, immediately introducing him to the college lacrosse world. It’s a goal that his teammates at Syracuse still remind him about.“There’s a reason he was the leading scorer at UMass for the past couple years,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said.But on a team that’s only made one final four in program history, Mariano grew from a freshman standout to the focal point of his team’s offense.Now, he won’t be.“There’s five, six, seven other kids as good as him if not more,” Phil said. “It’s not all on (him). Everything’s about Dylan Donahue and it should be, because he’s a star and he’s a phenomenal player. At UMass, everything was about Nick and … it’s tough when you try to carry the whole team.”With two years left to play for Syracuse, the pressure is off of Mariano. He doesn’t know where he’ll fit into the offense or how much offensive production he’ll have.But for Mariano, none of the unknowns matter anymore.“I don’t really have to worry about anything,” Mariano said. “It gives me the swagger to go out and just play the game that I know.” Comments Nick Mariano didn’t need the spotlight. With or without it, he would have been content. But among older teammates who went on to play at Johns Hopkins, Marquette and Towson, the freshman was still the one being talked about.A local TV host nicknamed him ‘Slick Nick, the fearless freshman.’ A newspaper referred to him as ‘Nicky Lax.’ Mariano didn’t like the attention, but it spread quickly.When he traveled to Maryland for the Blue Chip recruiting showcase, Mariano’s roommate already knew him before they met.“‘Oh wow, I know that name,’” his father, Phil Mariano, recalled Nick’s roommate saying. “‘You’re Slick Nick.’“Nick was embarrassed.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Facebook Twitter Google+ Nick Mariano finds niche role at Syracuse after being the leading scorer at Massachusetts Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. This is placeholder text Advertisementlast_img read more

Appeal likely over Mings charge

first_imgMings is cited for a stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic – if found guilty of doing it deliberately, he could get more than the normal three-game ban.Ibrahimovic faces the standard three-match punishment – after his elbow on the Bournemouth defender.Both said their offences were unintentional after the 1-all Premier League draw.last_img

Collection of best/worst memes from Giants’ three game sweep of Dodgers

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error A quick check of the calender shows that it’s indeed May. San Francisco Giants fans celebrated Thursday’s three-game sweep of the Dodgers like it was October. And it was pretty funny.Here are some of the best/worst memes from what Giants fans were calling #SweepLA.Viewing on mobile? Click here to view.last_img