Geoff Shannon

Lacrosse winner Maisano glad the “desk job” can wait

by Geoff Shannon June 07, 2010 in Lacrosse

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There was a point this season, Black Knights midfielder and 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award recipient Andrew Maisano remembers, when the Army men’s lacrosse team’s season ambitions were bleak. The team had just lost its fourth consecutive game, dropping a heartbreaking 8-7 overtime loss to rival Air Force.

Of those four early season losses, two were in overtime (Air Force, Cornell) and a third ended in a one-goal loss in regulation (Bryant).

Stuck in this early tailspin, Maisano, a senior captain, met with fellow captains Alex Gephart and junior Bill Henderson, to try and figure out how they could salvage the 2010 season and turn the string of one-goal losses into victories. 

“We were saying, ‘is this how we’re going to be remembered?’ I don’t want this to go like this,” says Maisano. “And it’s a testament to the kind of people that were on our team that we didn’t give up, or get down on each other, blaming other people. One of the themes this year was a quote, about hammering a rock. If you hammer it 100 times, it’s the 101 that breaks it. We kept working hard, and we started to break it open.”

Thanks in part to Maisano’s leadership, the Black Knights started to find themselves as a team. Following that 1-4 start, they won their next two games – against Rutgers and Lehigh – than after a tough loss to Hofstra, won their next nine games including two victories over heated rival Navy and a Patriot League conference championship.

The Black Knights’ biggest win came in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, when they shocked No. 2 seed Syracuse, beating the Orange in a 9-8 double-overtime win on the road at the Carrier Dome.

From that rough start, Army finished the season 11-6. Maisano points to that captain’s conversation as the first hammer strike on the rock of his successful senior season. 

“We were so close to [the season] going the other way, where everyone remembers you for losing,” says Maisano. “It really is such a close-played game, but I’m really happy that it went our way while I was captain.”

A rough-and-tumble midfielder who finished the season with eight points and 10 groundballs, Maisano was initially focused more on lacrosse when he was examining his college options. He fell in love with Army on his official visit, however, and after making a commitment to the team and to West Point he began to understand the full ramifications of a U.S. Military Academy education.

“You start to realize why you are really here,” says Maisano. “You think it’s for lacrosse, or a great education. But then you start to realize how much you really care about defending our country and serving people. It’s a very small percentage of people that end up serving in the military, and it is such a close bond you have with everybody else who does.”

Maisano graduated 26th in his class (as a honors student he received his diploma from President Barak Obama), earning a 4.0 GPA majoring in systems engineering.

He has been commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and is awaiting word about acceptance into Ranger School, a two month special-ops leadership course, and the Sapper Leader Course, a 28-day course that trains combat engineers in a variety of frontline tasks including explosives detonation and bridge construction. Maisano, understandably, is looking forward to his future opportunities, as they come.

“You learn how to lead people through tough times,” says Maisano. “You’re not eating, not sleeping, but you still have to motivate people to do what they need to do.”

And even under these expected grueling conditions, and the requisite future that a West Point graduate must undertake, there are still perks.

“I’m just glad I don’t have to work at a desk yet,” says Maisano.