High School Boys

June 16, 2009

The 2009 US Lacrosse National Senior Showcase -- an all-star event featuring the nation's top high school boys' lacrosse seniors representing North, South, East and West regions -- is this weekend at Bryant University in Providence, R.I. Check back to LMO for coverage all week and from the event.

NSS Profiles:
* Austin Wright, Worthington Kilbourne (Ohio), North All-Star
* Mike McCormack, West Islip (N.Y.), East All-Star

Related Links:
* Event Home Page
* NSS Rosters

'Frustrated Attackman' McCormack Gets Defensive

by Paul Ohanian | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Yale-bound Mike McCormack, a defenseman who calls himself a "frustrated attackman," was a transition threat for West Islip, netting 12 points during the Lions' run to a third New York state championship in four years.

© Lee Weissman

Defenseman Mike McCormack and his West Islip (N.Y.) boys' lacrosse teammates didn't quite attain the perfection they were hoping for this season. But who's complaining?

The Lions opened the year with 11 straight wins before suffering an 8-7 loss to rival Ward Melville on May 5. West Islip allowed the tying goal in the closing seconds of regulation, then watched Melville score the winner early in overtime to end hopes of an undefeated run.

The Lions used that game as motivation, rebounding with another 11-game winning streak -- including a revenge victory over Ward Melville in the Suffolk County championship -- en route to its third New York Class A state championship in four years.

"It was probably a good thing that we lost to Melville the first time," said McCormack, who will play for the East squad in this weekend's US Lacrosse National Senior Showcase in Providence, R.I. "It gave us a little more focus and passion to win the state championship."

In 2007, McCormack served as the fourth defenseman on West Islip's championship squad and celebrated the title with his older brother Joseph, then a senior on the team and now a defenseman at Geneseo. This time, he was one of the team leaders who had a chance to share the accomplishment with friends that he's played alongside since third grade.

"This year was probably a bit more special," McCormack said. "We've all been teammates for a long time. After the final game, we were a little upset that we won't be playing together anymore."

Despite calling himself a "frustrated attackman," McCormack was one of the anchors on a dominating West Islip defense in 2009. The Lions held 14 of 23 opponents to five goals or less, and recorded two shutouts on the year. West Islip also limited high-scoring Orchard Park to its season low in goals during the state final.

"Our defense tends to get overlooked a bit because our offense gets so much attention," said McCormack. "But that doesn't really bother us. We knew we'd have a solid defense this year."

And it's not like the frustrated attackman doesn't get some attention for himself at the other end either. Coach Scott Craig has allowed his standout defender a bit of liberty on the offensive end.

McCormack finished with 12 points this year (6g, 6a) after tallying 14 as a junior. A lot of players with short sticks in their hands never approach those numbers.

"I'm pretty offensive-minded for a defensive player," said McCormack, who still played enough defense to limit Orchard Park to one goal in the second half of the state final. "Clearing and transition are a couple of my strengths as a defenseman."

McCormack is also hoping to add some actual strength to his 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame this summer before heading to Yale in the fall. Coaches have told him that he may be best suited as a long-stick midfielder on the college level.

"I'm just hoping I can contribute as a freshman," said McCormack, who has eyed Yale as a possible college destination since the seventh grade. "I've always had my sights set on Yale."

In his eyes, it's another chance at perfection.

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