Last season was one to remember for coach Robyn Pastuch and the Wantagh Warriors. In her first season as the head coach, Robyn led the Warriors all the way to the County Championship game where they fell just short in a tightly contested game against Cold Spring Harbor. This year, coach Pastuch and the Warriors have their sights set on something even bigger. That’s winning the State Championship. Although winning is the ultimate goal, coach Pastuch also wants to put her girls in position to be as successful as possible both on and off the field and be a positive example for the younger girls. After flying under the radar in most peoples eyes last season, the Warriors will not be slept on in 2020. Read more about coach Pastuch and her team in an interview with the LILJ below.
Q. How did you get into coaching lacrosse?
A. I started playing lacrosse when I was in 7th grade and haven’t stopped loving the game. I got into coaching when I was in grad school at Adelphi following my college lacrosse career. I had the honor and privilege to coach alongside Joe Spallina in 2008-2009 when we went on to win the DII National Championship. I knew from that experience that coaching would be a big part of my life and not something that I would take lightly or for granted.
Q. What was last season like having made it all the way to the County Championship game?
A. Last season was a dream, well the beginning of a dream. I knew the kind of talent that we had and I knew their drive, but I didn’t know how far that would take us. We lost to an exceptional CSH team that deserved the win, but we fought. I think people looked passed us and I don’t think they will do that anymore. My girls are hungry.. they want it all. They want their last game to be a win in June, nothing less. I do believe that we took ourselves as far as we could go last season. It was a learning year for us, it being my first year at the helm. We lost some key players, but I do believe that we have filled a lot of our holes, and with that loss burning a spot in our hearts and brains from last season I think we are dangerous.
Q. Is their anything you learned about your team last year that you did not know?
A. I learned that there is nothing that these girls can’t do. They want to win, and they are able to put their ego aside to do so. Their passion for the game and for each other is unmatched. I have girls who get to the wall before school to get their reps in.. they begged for winter workouts to start earlier than we had planned. I think that they finally believe that they can win. They have finally bought into our goals on and off the field and they will stop at nothing to reach them.
Q. Do you believe that the experience from last season can have a positive impact on the players returning this year?
A. Last season left us hungry. The girls want to win, plain and simple. Now that we have a year together under our belt, I think that the returners understand our expectations for the coming season on and off the field. The passion from the returners is contagious and its already rubbing off on the new girls to the program. I think that understanding that we are a program and that we live and die as one is huge for us.
Q. What are the goals you wish to accomplish this season?
A. We have a few goals. First is a state championship.. leave the field with a win. Second, we want our girls to put themselves in the best possible position to have a successful career on and off the field post Wantagh lacrosse. We want our girls to commit to the best schools for them and to help them however possible to make that decision. Third, we want to be leaders on and off the field. We want to set the tone for our younger girls who look up to the varsity players.
Q. Is there any team that you have coached that stands out from the rest?
A. I think that this years team will stand out to a lot of people. I really I believe that we have the talent, work ethic and passion to get to the next level. We’re determined and fearless with nothing to lose. But of course, the national championship 2009 Adelphi Panthers was certainly a team I think about often. I actually get to coach against a lot of the girls who played on that team now throughout the season. The lacrosse world is small but mighty, I’m just lucky to be a part of it.