Coached By: Scott Craig
Heading into the New York State Class A Final against Fairport in 2010, Nick Galasso needed seven points to reach the 500-plateau for his career. Not surprising to many, he achieved the feat in the third quarter on a 7-0 West Islip scoring run, amidst a 13-5 championship victory for West Islip at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
The North Carolina-bound offensive genius has been the poster boy for Long Island lacrosse since he reached the varsity level. He was the next gem in a long line of gifted Lions players that probably won't stop anytime soon.
For his efforts in 2010, Galasso earned the Enners Award as Suffolk County's top player and his 500 points are now the most in Long Island history, passing Elmont's Jim Zaffuto's mark of 498 set from 1974-1977. He is the second West Islip player behind Justin Turri (2007) to win the Enners.
"It's a great accomplishment," Galasso said. "Not a lot of people get the opportunity to say they win it. It's a great feeling."
On breaking the Long Island scoring record, he said that's the moment he'll remember most for the rest of his life.
"I came up short in the first half," said Galasso, who finished with one goal and six assists. "I knew I had to step up if I wanted to be successful in that game."
"I didn't even know what the record was," said Mike Sagl, his teammate who scored the goal in which Galasso assisted on to get No. 500. "He wasn't going around advertising how many points he needed. I had no idea until after the game. Quietly he was able to get seven points. It's unbelievable."
Galasso finished the season with 66 goals and 70 assists over 22 games. West Islip finished the season on a 21-game win streak, their only loss coming in the opener against a feisty Sachem North team.
Ironically, Sachem head coach Jay Mauro served as his coach at the Empire State Games and saw both sides of Galasso as an adversary and athlete on this team.
"He has a great outlook on life and has fun in whatever he is doing. As a player he is very mature beyond his years," Mauro said. "His skill set is the best I have seen at the high school level and his competitive nature is second to none. He is a winner, plain and simple. When preparing against Nicky, you have to understand that no matter what he will get his points but to try and limit his opportunities and limit his teammates around him. That's what makes him so dangerous that he elevates everybody who plays with him."
When asked what he loves most about the game, even when prompted to say something other than the team aspect, he reverted back to the team.
"Winning games and doing it together," he said. "It's not about the individual. It's a team sport and begins with the team."
That family aspect is what drew him to North Carolina, which he said has a similar feel.
As he steps foot into a new world, a faster and more physical game at the college level, he's ready to help North Carolina capture a national title, something the Tar Heels have not done since 1991.
"Once I get there I'd love to do great things," he said. "We have to take it one step at a time, one game at a time, one practice at a time and hopefully we'll win one." UNC head coach Joe Breschi feels the same way.
"Nicky Galasso is a terrific young man who has matured both as a person and player throughout his four years in high school," he said. "He's as talented a player in high school as I've seen in my 20 years of coaching the college game. He allows the game to come to him, keeping his teammates involved while developing into one of the most complete lacrosse players in the country."
His teammates notice more than just the offensive flair and knack to score. What the score sheet doesn't show – as cliché as it sounds – is Galasso's ability to rally the troops.
"In practice everyday, watching some of the stuff he does makes everyone better," said Sagl, who played with him for two seasons. "It goes unnoticed and elevates everyone around him."
It's not often you see a player with Galasso's potential pick up national recognition in high school lacrosse. It happens every now and then, but midway through his high school career he was clearly the most coveted recruit in the nation.
Now he's more than a recruit, he's achieved a status few can dream of at the high school level … one of greatest of all-time.