Lacrosse returns for 2012 season following roughly 20-year drought
After nearly 20 years of inactivity, Seton Hall has resurrected its club lacrosse program for the 2012 season.
The program was shut down after lack of interest in the early 90s. However thanks to a grassroots effort from freshman midfielder Henri Estanbouli, the team was granted its request to play again this season.
The newly appointed head coach, Jim Semerad, was delighted to have an opportunity to get a team back on the field.
“President Esteban and Athletic Director Patrick Lyons have been very supportive of the program,” said Semerad, who played lacrosse for Msgr. Farrell High School on Staten Island, N.Y. “I tried to start a club team here when I was a student, and we got pretty far but were never able to do it. We had a team and a coach, but everything fell apart.”
The team joins the National College Lacrosse League’s New York Metro division, which contains eight other colleges:
Columbia University, New York University, Fordham University, Hofstra University, Stevens Institute of Technology, SUNY New Paltz, Stony Brook University and City College of New York.
The NCCL is comprised of 12 divisions, mostly in the eastern portion of the country, broken up by geographical region.
Estanbouli, a Hackensack, N.J. native who played for Bergen Catholic High School, came to Seton Hall hoping to play lacrosse but was disappointed to find out there was not a team.
Eventually, after speaking with the Director of Athletics, Pat Lyons, and the director of intramural and club sports, Kathy Matta, Estanbouli was able to get things started.
“I met Jim Semerad and instantly a good friendship and partnership formed,” Estanbouli said. “But the process wasn’t simple because we had to do everything ourselves. The PR, bringing in money, finding and recruiting players, getting sponsors, and working on equipment deals.”
With Semerad’s help, Estanbouli was able to get the word out about the new team by putting up flyers, creating a Facebook page and then having interest meetings. Soon enough, the team began to form and by October, they had their first practice.
“For me to see this come through – I mean we have our first game on Sunday – it’s a fulfilling and gratifying experience,” Semerad said. “I’m just so happy that we made it this far.”
Now that the program is up and running again, Estanbouli said the team still faces some hurdles along the way. They lack funding from major sponsors, making the players responsible for everything, including equipment and apparel, out of their own pockets.
But that has not stopped the team from pushing forward, Estanbouli said, because they share a special bond.
“Since day one the team clicked and was running on all cylinders,” Estanbouli said. “The chemistry that the team shares is great, and it will show in our games. Our [chemistry] as well as our skill will bring good results.”
As the coach, Semerad also understands what challenges the program faces but is also confident in the players to get the job done.
“I told these guys on the first day that we will only go as far as the work and effort we put into the program,” Semerad said. “And they have been 100 percent committed to it.”
The Pirates’ will play their home games at Underhill Field in Maplewood, N.J.
The season opener is set for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against SUNY New Paltz.
John Lopiano can be reached at email@example.com