A sense of pride and passion swirled through the second floor of Hofstra University's Margiota Hall Friday night.
The final selections of this year's Empire State Games Long Island lacrosse team met together for the first time. West Islip's Mike Sagl made the cut.
Thirty players were selected out of 712 that tried out. Twenty will make the final roster of players who will travel to Buffalo July 21-25, 10 will remain alternates.
"We're excited about this group of guys who will represent Long Island and the legacy," said Long Island head coach Jay Mauro, referring to a Long Island club that has won seven of the last nine Empire Gold Medals, including four straight.
Hofstra men's lacrosse coach Seth Tierney addressed the team about the importance of playing for Long Island.
"Be a Long Island guy, and make sure when you punch the clock, the other team knows who they just played against," he said. "After everything I've seen here at Hofstra, with Notre Dame, with Cornell, it's the 'we' guys that win. You're going to win it with the 20 guys that play together."
Mauro, a Sachem alumnus, will be looking to make history if his squad wins Gold. He'll be the first person to win as a player (1998), assistant coach (2008) and head coach.
"If you play hard and give the most effort you can, you'll come out on top in everything you do, including this summer," he told the team, sitting anxiously in the Hofstra lacrosse locker room. "I've played on this team, I've coached on this team, there is nothing like it."