2008-05-23 / Sports

Host Lady Dolphins Tops Lions

By Elio Velez

Beach Channel's Cynithia Smalls (left) leaps high to grab the ball. Photo by Peter Borriello. Beach Channel's Cynithia Smalls (left) leaps high to grab the ball. Photo by Peter Borriello. As a middle school teacher at Channel View Academy, located inside of the Beach Channel High School Complex, Sam Innes didn't know much about the sport of lacrosse three years ago.

But when a grant was awarded to the school, he would help to initiate the Beach Channel/Channel View Girls Lacrosse program with some equipment and bag of plastic sticks to play with.

Three years later, those middle school students have become high school athletes. Last Wednesday afternoon, Innes and his lacrosse players took the next step in their learning process.

The Lady Dolphins made their first appearance in the PSAL lacrosse playoffs a successful one. Third seeded Beach Channel blitzed visiting Frederick Douglass Academy of Manhattan, 12-5, to advance to the semifinals next Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at defending champions Tottenville.

"They're starting to come into their own as athletes. Many of them have never played organized sports before so they are coming into their own as athletes," Innes said.

Sophomore Cynithia Smalls added to her league leading total of 42 goals with 3 more in the victory for Beach Channel. Idialia Viard and Toagbe Olatunsosun each added three goals as Beach Channel pulled away from the Lions with eight goals in the second half to earn the win.

"When you come into a game, you have to bring your all and play hard. We knew they be aggressive. So we had to be also," Olatunsosun said.

Their top goal scorers on Wednesday are all sophomores, which is indicative that this young team has grown together on the field to perform well.

"It's a more experienced team so they got to develop confidence in themselves and with one season under our belt, it makes a whole lot of difference," Innes said.

The Lady Dolphins experienced growing pains in their inaugural season last year with a 3-7 record in the PSAL. This year's turnaround was a result of gained experiencing in tournaments and clinics in the off-season in the last few years. Olatunsosun was a member of the New York City girls' lacrosse team in the Empire State Games last summer.

Smalls, a quick and feisty sophomore, exploded to lead the PSAL in goals. And just like the rest of her team, she says lacrosse is fun to play. "I like running and you got to run to win," Smalls said.

Innes, who is currently an English and History teacher at Channel View wasn't familiar with coaching the sport. He was a basketball player at Lafayette College and was curious by watching the girls' lacrosse program there.

"We got a grant to get the equipment and we started with plastic sticks," Innes remembers with a laugh. "I picked my friend who played in college, their brains, read books and did my homework."

The learning and the fun doesn't stop says Innes.

"My expectations were to make the playoffs this year. I've learned myself as a coach. I have to grow as a coach and the players have to grow along with me."

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