Dom Madonna is living his dream as SU’s goalie

first_imgAnthony Grizanti couldn’t fathom what he heard on the other line of the phone. His nephew, Dom Madonna — an All-American starting goalie at Merrimack College — was on the verge of quitting lacrosse, the sport he’d lived and breathed his whole life.Grizanti heard the sadness in his nephew’s voice. This life of lacrosse appeared near its end.“He told me, ‘I don’t even care if I play lacrosse anymore,’” Grizanti said. “To hear him say that, to me, I was like, ‘You’ve got to get out of there. That’s not you.’”Madonna listened. He transferred from Merrimack and walked onto the Syracuse University campus in fall 2016 clad in orange and blue. Madonna, a Liverpool native, dreamed of playing goalie for SU his entire life, but after receiving little attention from premier Division I programs, he ended up playing lacrosse at a school that nearly drove him away from his life’s passion.Now, as a redshirt senior, Madonna is one of the leaders of a No. 10 Syracuse (4-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) team that needs excellence between the pipes to reach the Final Four weekend for the first time since 2013. For Madonna, simply stepping on the Carrier Dome turf is a culmination of a 22-year journey filled with roadblocks that nearly prevented him from reaching his ultimate goal.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Growing up, you watch all these people play at Syracuse, and now you get here, and you get a shirt with an ‘S’ and your number on it,” Madonna said. “A lot of people I think take it for granted when they’re here right away. I really think being at Merrimack first was almost beneficial to me because you really appreciate what you have when you come here.”•••Resting on Madonna’s bedroom wall is a lacrosse stick head painted SU orange. It used to have a shaft that Grizanti dyed orange and blue, but that piece eventually broke because Madonna used it so often. On the back of the head is a No. 5 for Madonna’s favorite Syracuse athlete, Donovan McNabb. Madonna walked into his room every day and stared at the stick, fantasizing about playing for SU one day.Courtesy of Virginia MadonnaAt age 2, Madonna sent an 11-year-old Grizanti to the hospital by throwing a lacrosse ball at his eye with a baby lacrosse stick. By 3, Madonna was watching full SU games, and by 5 he was playing competitively.He wanted to be like the Grizantis — his uncles Anthony and Michael — who played lacrosse and were close enough in age to be his brothers. Both went on to play collegiately.When Madonna started playing, he turned to his uncles for help. He wanted to play goalie, sort of. Once in net, Madonna ducked out of the way of what Michael called “very light shots.”When the two forced Madonna to stay put, he started crying. In response, Michael and Anthony stood on both sides of Madonna and bounced the ball off his helmet until he stopped.Madonna quickly learned the ball wouldn’t break him. From that moment on, nothing could keep him out of the cage. One day while playing lacrosse outside, Madonna fell on pavement and cut his face. His cheeks were swollen, his face was scraped and it hurt to put on his helmet. Still, he practiced.Madonna was determined to play, but his chance to compete against the country’s best vanished. Prior to fifth grade, Madonna’s family moved to McKinney — a town in central Texas about an hour outside Dallas — where lacrosse was not treated like it is in New York. Madonna had to rely on community recreation teams to practice. None of the roughly 3,000 public high schools in the state had sanctioned lacrosse.“Down there in Texas they really had no idea what the hell they were talking about,” Michael said.Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorHis best training came from working with his uncles. Madonna filmed his games, even in middle school, and sent the tapes to Michael and Anthony for critiques. The two often visited McKinney for weeks at a time and worked with Madonna every day until the sun set. And when it did, Madonna’s father, Dominick, set up floodlights in the backyard so his son could keep practicing.“’You know Dom, we’ve been at this for a couple hours, you can take a break now,’” Michael would say. “And he was just like, ‘No. I’m good.’”One night after practicing, Anthony marched into Dominick’s home office and told him the family had to move back north. Madonna had the talent to play D-I, but he needed exposure from the country’s top teams. Dominick and his wife, Virginia, couldn’t believe what they heard.“You never really think he’s going to be able to play Division I,” Dominick said. “I mean you feel that way. Obviously you always think that. … You’re kind of stunned by it, that someone else thinks that way.”Within two years, Madonna’s family settled back into Liverpool, and Madonna’s young career began to bud. But in the world of lacrosse recruiting, it may have already been too late.Much of that, Liverpool head coach Mike Felice said, is the nature of lacrosse recruiting. Colleges often have an entire class filled before the players reach the 10th grade, Felice said. Madonna didn’t return to central New York until then, placing him at a major disadvantage.That year, as a 10th grader in 2011, Madonna helped lead Liverpool to an eventual triple-overtime loss in the New York Section III title loss to a West Genesee team featuring former SU greats Dylan Donahue and Tim Barber.“He played one hell of a game, and I’ll never forget that,” Donahue said. “We got one lucky shot.”The following year, Madonna led Liverpool back to the title game, beating West Genesee along the way and winning Liverpool’s first section title since 1989.“We always used to laugh and say, ‘Thank God Dom came,’” Felice said. “If it wasn’t for him, we probably wouldn’t be able to win that championship.”Despite being one of the top goalies in the region, Madonna, with limited college offers, landed five hours away at Merrimack, further from home than he wanted to be.During his freshman year, Madonna finished top-10 nationally in goals against average and earned a spot on the Northeast-10 All-Conference Rookie Team. That success continued in his second year. Madonna earned All-American Second Team honors while leading Merrimack to the NCAA Division II Championship semifinals, where the Warriors fell to Le Moyne.Heading into that contest, Madonna knew it would be his last game at Merrimack. He knew Merrimack was not the right fit. His mechanical engineering major was not officially accredited by Merrimack at the time, and the looming accreditation wasn’t guaranteed. And his Merrimack teammates didn’t share his passion for lacrosse, he said. Merrimack head coach Mike Morgan declined to comment for this story.“‘He would call me up and say, ‘I’m so frustrated. These guys are going out and partying. I don’t want to do that. We have to lift. We have to work out. No one’s taking it seriously,’” Anthony said. “That was tough. You’re out there busting your butt trying to go win that national championship and win that next game, and you see 10 of your teammates that are hungover from partying the night before.”School mattered to Madonna. Lacrosse was his passion. He yearned for a place where the two co-existed. He needed to come home.When Madonna decided to spend his last two years of eligibility elsewhere, he only applied to Syracuse.“I just think that there was this driving force in him that wouldn’t allow him to settle anywhere until he was at SU,” Virginia said.By the end of his sophomore season, Madonna had been accepted to Syracuse, and he committed to the school before knowing if he would play on the field. He and his family met with SU lacrosse director of operations Roy Simmons III and head coach John Desko to see about a potential spot.That summer, former SU attackman Jordan Evans walked into the locker room in Manley to work out. Right by his No. 22 locker was a new No. 25 locker for Madonna.•••In Madonna’s second start with SU, Albany couldn’t be stopped. Shot after shot found the back of the net, and the Great Danes repeatedly won the ball back on the faceoff. The offense couldn’t produce, and the defense couldn’t slow down the country’s highest-scoring attack.Madonna faced 50 shots and gave up 15 goals in a 15-3 thrashing that marked SU’s worst loss in the Carrier Dome since 1989. That marked a low point in Madonna’s career. After redshirting in 2016, playing backup in 2017 and holding Binghamton to four goals in his first start in 2018, he watched as shot after shot found twine. Even though there was little Madonna could control, he felt responsible for the loss.After the game, Madonna told former teammate Sergio Salcido that he felt embarrassed and unsure of himself. It was his first major start, Salcido told him. “Use it is as fuel.”The following week, SU hosted then-No. 9 Army in a game that went to triple overtime. Madonna made three saves in the first two overtime periods before making the biggest play of his career.Syracuse won the faceoff to open the third overtime period. Grant Murphy scooped the ground ball before passing back to Madonna. But Madonna didn’t find anyone immediately open on the clear. He scanned the field, looking left and right, before launching a 45-yard bullet downfield to a cutting Ryan Simmons. Simmons split the defense and fired the shot home for the win.“Holy sh*t moment,” Michael said. “My jaw was on the floor.”Josh Shub-Seltzer | Staff PhotographerMadonna’s eight saves and game-winning assist earned him ACC Defensive Player of the Week.After Madonna won the award, his parents called to congratulate him, but when they did, he wasn’t focused on the award. Instead, he just talked about what he needed to do to prepare for the next week’s matchup with Virginia. The next night, Madonna went to Anthony’s house for dinner. As soon as he walked in, his focus was lacrosse.“He says hi to my kids, and then the first thing out of his mouth is, ‘Hey, what did you think of the game?’” Anthony said. “I know after (every game) … I’m going to get that text saying, ‘What’d you think?’ He could have 20 saves and two goals allowed and I know I’m going to get that text or phone call saying, ‘What’d you think?’”Since the Army game, SU has gone 2-2, defeating two top-five teams in Duke and Virginia but also giving up a combined 32 goals in losses to Rutgers and Johns Hopkins. While Syracuse has struggled on the defensive end this season, it wouldn’t be competitive in some of those games if it wasn’t for Madonna’s play, Desko said.Still, Madonna feels responsible. He wants to anchor the team. But while he’s focused on the next game at hand, he thinks back to the journey that landed him in the position he is in.In early February, 30 people packed two rows in the Carrier Dome, all friends and family of Madonna. Virginia sat in the middle of the crowd, hoping to record the first time her son’s name was called in the team’s starting lineup against Binghamton. As she pressed record and her son’s name echoed through the Dome, Madonna’s fan section hollered so loudly that the recording is muffled.When the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read Syracuse 21, Binghamton 4. Madonna talked to Anthony, asking what he could do to improve. He talked to his parents, who were at a loss for words for seeing their son compete in the Dome. Friends and family mobbed and congratulated him.Madonna thought back to the four goals he allowed, wishing he could have those back, but then he thought about the big picture.“I knew I’d never be able to live with myself if I didn’t give it a chance,” Madonna said. “If I never made the move, I wouldn’t be playing lacrosse right now. That’s kind of the surreal thing.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 27, 2018 at 8:56 pm Contact Matt: mdliberm@syr.edulast_img read more

At Monmouth Park – It All Starts Here

first_imgAT MONMOUTH PARK, it starts here. For some 700 races this season, the horses won’t leave the gate until John Daniels (known at the track as JD) says so. And if you think it’s just pushing a button to release the spring loaded gate’s front barrier, think again … It’s a lot more complicated.Daniels has been around horses since he was a teen and after college and military service has been working thoroughbred tracks for 50 years. He has been at Monmouth since 1987 and became the official starter in 2013.But Daniels doesn’t do it alone. Working with him are a group of assistant starters who climb around the 1940s era starting gate like kids on a jungle gym. “Horses aren’t comfortable being confined on four sides in the gate,” Daniels says, “and getting them all quiet and standing still for a fair start takes a team.”Today, a thoroughbred race is a carefully orchestrated event. Start times for races are posted and adhered to. Races vary in length and the huge 1940s era gate, capable of holding 12 horses, has to be moved and repositioned around the track. A second gate is used for turf races and sits on the track’s infield and is available as a back-up if needed.The starting gate can be scary for horses and starting staff, trainers and jockeys want to be sure thoroughbreds can enter the gate, stand for several seconds or longer until the field is set for the start. A thoroughbred’s gate personality is critical for the horses as well as the assistant starters safety.Trainers bring their young horses to the starting gate often to get them use to the loading and starting procedures.Thoroughbreds do not race until they have been certified race ready at the starting gate by Daniels and his staff. Gate school runs each morning while the track is open for workouts.Each of Monmouth’s thoroughbreds is tracked by Daniels and his staff. Jim Homewood handles the book for Daniels and each thoroughbred is listed with his or her idiosyncrasies and tendencies. “We have to know what to expect on race day when we may have close to a dozen 1200-pound plus, high strung thoroughbreds in the gate,” he says.“Standing,” an exercise rider, sitting on a two-year old filly, may call as his mount looks at the gate for the first time from 20 feet away. Daniels and the crew lead and coax the filly into the gate quietly where she stands for 30 seconds before being backed out. “OK,” Daniels says, “but it will take several more lessons before she is ready to race.”“Busting out,” can be the call from another rider as his more experienced colt stands in the gate. When the track is clear, Daniels will open the front barrier manually or electronically as the rider urges his horse forward into a racing stride.At the end of a two hour session, Daniels confers with Homewood and the book is updated for another day as assistant starters hustle off to other jobs at the track or on race days take a few hour break before they’re ready for show time.Although Daniels, Rick Lewis, his senior assistant starter, and the other assistants don’t talk much about the risks, it is understood this is a dangerous job. The crew wears safety vests and at some tracks – helmets. Daniels is alert to possible danger and encourages his staff to be vigilant. “This isn’t for the faint of heart,” he says, “as horses can resist entering the gate, rear up and fall – sometimes taking a rider or one of my crew with them.”The starting staff has strong hands, excellent reflexes and horse sense. Like pro athletes they work through bumps and bruises but it isn’t by chance that an ambulance and EMS personnel are stationed at the starting gate on both training and race days.On race day, there’s a little more tension in the air as the crew knows it has to be perfect every race. “Tied down,” Daniels will yell, with his finger on the starting button as he looks to see that all riders and horses are set to go.“One to load,” an assistant starter might answer as a colleague leads the last horse and rider into the chute. “All in” comes the call from the back of the gate. Jockeys’ tense and assistant starters keep a light hand on thoroughbred bridles to keep them still.The gate opens with a loud bell. Horses jump forward onto the track and maneuver for position. “They’re off” booms the announcer and spectators follow the horses as they fly by Daniels who is standing on the rail about 30 feet down the track. The horses disappear down the track as jockeys urge them up to speeds approaching 40 mph.Immediately the crew scrambles to move the gate off the track and the starting crew throws their leather, horse leads over their neck and hop on an open shuttle truck to be driven to the other side of the track for the next race just 20 minutes away.It’s another day in the trenches for the starting crew and hopefully one with no excitement other than the adrenaline rush of watching jockeys and thoroughbreds disappear in a cloud of dust.Story and photos by Art Petrosemololast_img read more

Sandeveland, Sturrup power Bombers to tourney title

first_imgBy Bruce FuhrThe Nelson Daily SportsMatt Zukowski and McLain Sandeveland each checked in with 23 points to lead the L.V. Rogers Bombers to a convincing 81-22 victory over J. Lloyd Crowe of Trail during the Heritage City Classic High School Junior Boy’s Basketball Tournament Saturday at Hangar.The Bombers swept the Hawks and David Thompson Lakers to finish the double-round robin tourney with a 4-0 record.”It was a nice to play at home as we have been on the road a lot this season,” said LVR coach Viv Kingdon. “Our recent three tournaments in the Okanagan have been intense and very competitive. So it was nice to be at home and have fun  — without much concern about the outcome of the games.”Already with a short bench of players, Kingdon was happy to be able to dip into the Grade 9 squad to bring up three players — than Ethan Perkins, Tobin Eberle and Grayson Arabia — for the tournament.“(Ethan, Tobin and Grayson) did well this weekend and stepped into their roles successfully,” Kingdon said.The Bombers had little or no trouble against the Kootenay opposition.In the final game against Trail, LVR built up a sizeable lead early before coasting to the victory. Jack Sturrup also had eight points for LVR.The Bombers opened the tournament by dominating David Thompson Lakers of Invemere 57-14. Sandeveland powered the scoring attack with 14 points while Connor Banks had 13 and Erich Schepkowski 11.LVR then dumped the Hawks in the first of two encounters between the two West Kootenay schools 78-36. Sandeveland, a tower of strength at the center spot all weekend for the Bombers, led the LVR scoring with 15 points. Grade nine Grayson Arabia had 13 points and Isaiah Kingdon scored 12.In the final game of the tourney, the Bombers bounced the Lakers 50-23. Schepkowski has 13 points while Sandeveland and Sturrup each had 11.The Bombers venture into Alberta for the next tournament of the season in Edmonton at the Tri-Provincial February 17.LVR returns home to host the Kootenay Junior Boy’s Championship in late February.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more

It’s Terry Walgren Rep Soccer Tourney time

first_imgThe Lakeside Fields are going to see a beehive of activity this weekend as teams from throughout the region travel to the Heritage City to compete in the 2013 Terry Walgren Rep Soccer Tournament.Action begins Friday with games in most of the divisions as 29 teams from Revestoke, Creston, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Invermere and Trail/Castlegar take to the pitch.The tournament is named after Terry Walgren, a long time Nelson Youth Soccer  Rep coach and Men’s Soccer player who lost a battle against cancer.The local Nelson Youth Soccer has a total of nine teams entered — U13, U14, U16 and U17 in the boy’s draw and U13, U14, U15, U16 and U18 in the girls division.Games run through the weekend with the final games slated for Sunday afternoon.There is also a 14 teams entered in the B.C. Soccer U12 Festival Jamboree slated for Sunday. The B.C. Soccer U12 Festival has games played for fun with no results kept.The Terry Walgren Tournament is the second major event on the Rep season for Nelson teams.Most of the clubs were in Coeur d’Alene Idaho a few weeks ago competing in the  2013 Bill Eisenwinter Memorial Hot Shot Tournament.The U15 Girls squad coached by Pat Perkins and Paul Burkart, finished the weekend with a 2-1 record.The U15s defeated Kootenay South of Trail/Castlegar/Rossland/Fruitvale 5-0 on goals by Camille Gebhart, Darian Voisard, Emma Gregorich  and a pair from Naomi Perkins.The Nelson squad then lost 2-1 to Moscow, Idaho before thumping Creston 6-0.Maddie Sternloff scored the lone goal against Moscow while Sternloff, Allie Zondervan, Gebhart and Perkins, the latter netting a pair, scored for Nelson against Creston.Although Nelson did not compete in the medal round, the squad finished with the third best record in the division.last_img read more

AHL Milwaukee Admirals honour Nelson’s Doug Agnew

first_imgAs athletic trainer, Agnew is responsible for attending to injured players at home and on the road, working with Ads Strength Coach Jason Nordby to develop and implement a physical conditioning program for the players, and supervising players who are receiving physical rehabilitation to correct injuries.Agnew has helped hundreds of Admirals reach the National Hockey League, including current NHL stars like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Pekka Rinne.Agnew attended college at Eastern Washington University and Selkirk College in Castlegar.He received his degree in athletic training from Sheridan College in Ontario in 1985.Agnew spent time with the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League where another Nelsonite, Wayne Naka, was head coach, and the Canadian National Lacrosse and Soccer teams before joining the Admirals.The ceremony takes place before Friday’s American Hockey League game between Milwaukee and Lake Erie Monsters at 7 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Former Nelson native and L.V. Rogers grad Doug Agnew is being honoured Friday by the Milwaukee Admirals on his 2,000th game as team trainer and his 25th season with the team.Agnew, who was raised in Nelson and attended Trafalgar and L.V. Rogers High Schools, has been the Athletic Trainer for the Admirals since 1989 when he was assigned to the team as a member of the Vancouver Canucks organization.last_img read more

EuroDry Expands Fleet with SecondHand Panamax

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Greek dry bulk owner EuroDry has signed a memorandum of agreement to purchase a Panamax drybulk carrier built in 2004 in Japan.The 75,845 dwt M/V Star of Nippon, to be renamed M/V Starlight, is expected to be delivered to the company by the end of November 2018.The acquisition will be financed with funds at hand and debt which is in the process of arranging, EuroDry said.“We are very pleased to commence the process of growing EuroDry Ltd by acquiring M/V Star of Nippon, a vessel that will complement perfectly the rest of our Japanese built panamaxes and our three newbuilt vessels, an ultramax and two kamsarmaxes. “We believe that the drybulk market will provide significant opportunities for positive returns over the next several years and we have been working to position EuroDry to take full advantage of them for the benefit of our shareholders,”Aristides Pittas, Chairman and CEO of EuroDry Ltd., commented.EuroDry was spun-off from Euroseas Ltd on May 30, with the objective of consolidating Euroseas’ drybulk fleet into a separate listed public company.The latest purchase will bring EuroDry’s fleet to 7 ships, including four Panamaxes, two Kamsarmaxes and one Ultramax.last_img read more