Opposing defenders create a six-man perimeter around the outside of the offensive zone, but remain on their toes.
At the very top of the zone stands Oswego State’s Nick Giampaolo, wearing blue mesh and gently cradling the ball. The defender sits tight waiting for Giampaolo to make the first move and make that move he does.
With a hard cut right and a quick snap of the wrist, the ball sails effortlessly into the top corner of the net and, just like that, Oswego State has another goal.
“I have a quick first step, where I can beat the defender and it gives a step-up for me and my team,” said Giampaolo, a junior midfielder on the men’s lacrosse team.
Giampaolo currently leads Oswego State in goals scored, having tallied 19 thus far this season. Other than his personal ability and the strength of his teammates, Giampaolo credits some of his success on superstition, his vibrant blue mesh.
“Ha, the blue mesh… Well some kid gave it to me at Bryant [University] and I had it stored away knowing that I needed to use it sometime,” Giampaolo said. “A few games ago I put the head on and scored four goals, so it was apparently a good luck charm.”
It seems as though the mesh is Giampaolo’s good luck charm. After being blanked from the score sheet the first two contests of the season, Giampaolo has recorded 23 goals and seven assists for the Lakers.
With his junior year coming to an end, Giampaolo spoke about his origins and how he started playing lacrosse. His lacrosse career started early and in the right environment in Setauket, located in Long Island, has bred so many other great players.
“I was in third grade and my dad played lacrosse in both high school and college,” Giampaolo said. “He bought a stick for me and gave me the reins. And I started playing one season and I just really loved it. Lacrosse is kind of a big deal in my town. The main sport is pretty much lacrosse; there’s a huge culture. ”
Giampaolo attended Ward Melville High School, a program touted for consistent victory and was recruited to play at Bryant University. However, his time there was short-lived as he became unhappy there, leading him to Oswego State.
Giampaolo came to Oswego State in the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.
“My coach at Bryant knew I wasn’t too happy there and was OK with me looking around for other programs,” Giampaolo said. “I came to Oswego to visit some of my good friends whose roommate, now senior goaltender Bryan Martin, was on the team and after that, I knew it’s where I wanted to play.”
Now in his third season as a college lacrosse player, Giampaolo thrives in his role with Oswego State. His role is most comparable to a quarterback, as he is responsible for generating plays.
“When I came here, Coach [Ryan Martin] gave me the freedom to kind of make things happen,” Giampaolo said. “Coach Martin goes by the phrase ‘freedom within discipline.’ We’ll have set offenses but there is a lot of room for improvisation.”
Off the field, Giampaolo is a finance major. On the field, the junior is tenacious and quick, but off the field, he takes a slower approach to his day-to-day activities, which include some laid back activities, according to Giampaolo.
“I like to go to the beach and just hang with my buds,” Giampaolo said. “I love to long board and I love to be on boats.”
Giampaolo has one year remaining at Oswego State after this season and expressed his desire to be a named a team captain next season.
“I do hope my teammates elect me as a captain next year,” Giampaolo said. “I feel as though I have a strong lacrosse IQ and a great dedication to help turn this team into a strong SUNYAC contender.”
While the team started off strong this year, the Lakers have dropped three recent SUNYAC contests, which has clouded the playoff picture as the season nears its end.
While the playoffs remain a goal for Giampaolo and the Lakers, he said he is happy to be playing the sport he loves.
“There aren’t any sports like it,” Giampaolo said. “There is so much uniqueness in lacrosse to let you tailor yourself, your image and your skills to the kind of game you want to play.”
For Nick Giampaolo and the Oswego State men’s lacrosse team, the kind of game he wants to play is to put the ball in the net and bring home the W.