April 6, 2010

Karma of Cama: FOGO Has Post Poised to Repeat

by Chris Gentilviso | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. -- It’s a meticulous role with a defined goal -- gaining possession of the ball.

As C.W. Post’s primary faceoff specialist, senior midfielder Mike Cama has a basic, yet fine-tuned routine. He makes sure to mix up his looks, in hopes of keeping his opponents off balance.

By streaking to wins on 75 percent of his faceoffs so far this season, Cama has kept the balance of power on the No. 1 Pioneers' side.

“It's a game within itself,” said senior attackman Joe Meo, a former FOGO in high school. “If we're winning that game, it sets up everyone else to play at their best.”

Since the start of the 2009 season, C.W. Post has embodied that “best” with a 25-1 record and a Division II men's national championship. A large portion of that effort stems from Cama's consistency.

After leading the nation in 2009 with a .685 faceoff win percentage, Cama is on pace for similar, if not better marks this season. But the methods shadowing his success have little to do with numbers.

“I want the ball,” Cama said. “If someone's in my way, I'm going to get it. That's it.”

C.W. Post faceoff man Mike Cama has won 75 percent of his faceoffs in 2010, keeping the unbeaten Pioneers' potent offense in play.

Cama’s perseverance was on display in Saturday’s 13-11 victory over nextdoor neighbor NYIT. Entering the contest, the senior knew he was facing a potent counter on the other side of the line. The Bears (.709) ranked second behind the Pioneers (.757) in all of Division II in faceoffs.

In a neck-and-neck contest that featured seven ties and five lead changes, possessions grew crucial down the stretch. With 2:17 left in regulation, NYIT had trimmed C.W. Post's lead to 12-11, setting the stage for a decisive 25th battle at midfield.

Cama set down his stick and dug in for the final joust. The ball dropped, the whistle blew, and he grappled with a pair of Bears midfielders, pushing the pile across midfield toward C.W. Post's wing.
 
Eight seconds later, Pioneers senior defender Mike Celano emerged from the skirmish with the ball in hand. Two minutes later, Meo put the game away, breaking by two NYIT defenders for his team-high 27th goal of the season.

“We've played some tough teams early on, but the next group has the real top faceoff guys in the nation,” C.W. Post coach John Jez said. “Mike was able to figure out what was going on. He stuck to it and toward the end of the game, he was able to get us the ones that we really needed.”

En route to their 2009 national championship, the Pioneers leaned on the skills of four senior All-Americans on their attack. As two of the club's eight seniors in 2010, Cama and Meo have stepped up not only by contributing on the field, but preparing Post to sustain its success in future seasons.

“More than just doing their position, they're actually trying to lead," Jez said. "They coach the other guys, and help them through certain things. They tell them certain things that they do that help them do things better.”

At the end of 2010, Cama will turn over the faceoff reins to junior Ronnie Irving -- a transfer who recorded All-American numbers at Nassau Community College. Off the field, Cama knows Irving from their time growing up as aspiring athletes in the same county.

While the goal is to keep his opponents guessing, the opposite is true when tutoring his teammates.

“Usually what I tell him is just make sure that you do one move, hustle and don't give up,” Cama said. “The same things that I tell myself, I tell him.”

Division II News & Notes

On the women's side, Molloy continued its hot streak, earning wins over conference foe St. Thomas Aquinas and nonconference rival Southern New Hampshire. With those wins, the Lions (8-1) already eclipsed their win total from last season's 7-9 campaign. Molloy has won five straight contests behind the leadership of senior midfielder Kristin Sosnowski. Sosnowski was named ECC Conference Player of the Week after averaging five points and 13 draw controls in those two games. She's been a force to be reckoned with on the Lions' attack, with 25 goals and 47 shots on goal in their nine 2010 games ... Despite their streak, Molloy (8-1) did not crack the top 10 in the IWLCA Division II poll. The remaining four unbeatens in Division II all made the cut, as No. 1 Adelphi (10-0), No. 2 Lock Haven (8-0), No. 3 C.W. Post (7-0) and No. 7 West Chester (9-0) kept their perfect records intact. Molloy will have a chance to stake its claim on a top-10 spot when it heads to C.W. Post on Wednesday.


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