While playing at Shaker High School, Herkimer CC, and the University at Albany, Mike Tesoriero established himself as one of the top scorers to ever play in the Capital District. He is now sharing his skill and knowledge by coaching and serving as Vice President of the Stillwater Revolution Youth Lacrosse program. Tes recently took the time to answer some questions for Capital District Lax.
You were a part of some great teams at Shaker High School, Herkimer, and UAlbany. What game stands out to you most from each of these playing experiences?
MT: Shaker: For me it’s kind of a weird one. I think it was one of our last regular season games of my junior year. Shaker had just installed lights on the football field and we were playing Guilderland. The turnout we had that night was one of biggest I had ever seen and there was so much buzz around the game. We ended up winning that night and I scored a late fourth quarter goal. We finished 16-3 as Sectional Champs. It was just really cool getting a chance to play under the lights for the first time.
Herkimer: My two years at Herkimer had many memorable games for sure, but the one that stands out hands down was our 1991 National Championship game vs Essex of Maryland my second year. We lost in sudden death Overtime 20-19. We only trailed twice in the game 1-0 and the final goal. The game was amazing so much scoring and so many great plays on both sides, it was an up and down barn burner just how we liked it -run and gun. That day I learned what we see today in every game- the importance of face offs wins and having the ball in crucial situations. We lost the opening OT faceoff and they scored. It was devastating, it snapped our eleven game winning streak. I had five goals and three assists in the game. Probably not a day that goes by that I still don’t think about that game. Ironically, this would be the last game Herkimer would lose in quite some time as they went on to win the National Championship 1992-1996 with a couple of undefeated seasons in the first two years. Some of my Shaker friends were on those teams including Joe Gloeckner, Joe Pollicino, Shawn Hennesey, Jason Sweet and Shane Zyglewicz.
UAlbany: In my two short years at Albany there were two games my junior year that were the stand outs.The first was winning the Capital Cup from Union. Union had owned it since it started in the Capital District back in 1986 and UAlbany had never won it. We won the game 15-14 at home after being down five goals – we rallied back for a huge win. I scored a behind the back goal off a feed from Blake Kim late in fourth quarter which helped close the game. Playing with Blake and Cort Kim I saw how much that game meant. They had been helping put UAlbany on the map for three years and finally got that win their Senior year it was really great. I just remember how psyched those guys were and what it meant to them to get that win. More importantly as a team it set us up for an ECAC playoff birth vs Cortland State at home. This personally for me was my favorite game as we beat a well known and established team in Cortland State 16-11. Niskayuna Coach Mike Vorgang was on that Cortland team too. 😉 I had seven goals that game and our offense was just firing on all cylinders that day. It was a great day for our program.
You were at Herkimer during the years that the Generals were a JUCO dynasty. What was it like to be part of the program under legendary coach Paul Wehrum ?
MT: Going into Herkimer my freshman year I will tell you it was very intimidating. They had just come off a National Championship
in 1989 and there were High School All Americans all over the place at every position. I remember doubting myself early on in fall ball, that was when I had my first experience with Coach Wehrum, he helped build me up and reinforced positive behaviors. What was great about Wehrum was he was brutally honest with you, he told you what you needed to hear even though you would not like it. He taught me so much early on my freshman year. He was great at putting people in a position for them to be successful. My strength was shooting and scoring and he told me early on I’ll have guys get you the ball you just focus on putting it in the back of the net. At first, I thought he was crazy when he told me he played crease attack with a long pole!! He taught me many of the nuances to being a successful crease attackman, Working off ball, and using a drop step on the crease to get just slightly open enough to quick stick a feed from behind or the wing. He worked with me a lot on developing that. I played with Steve Carcaterra ( co-founder of United Lacrosse, and older brother of Paul Carcaterra of ESPNU) He had Steve and I work on feeding and shooting a lot in practice, and even before and after practice by ourselves. It worked out pretty well as Steve lead the nation in assists in 1991 and I lead the nation in scoring with 82 goals. Coach Wehrum and I had lots of sit down talks in his office before practice or in between classes those were times I enjoyed very much even if he was being stern with me. He helped mold me into a man and a way better lacrosse player than the day I showed up at Herkimer. I do still talk to him today with him being at Union College. I pop in and visit him here and there and try to get to some Union games where I can. He is still the same man he was back then, and anyone who has the privilege of playing for him can consider themselves extremely lucky.
Tell us about your involvement with Stillwater Revolution Youth Lacrosse-
MT: The Stillwater Revolution Youth lacrosse program is my current project. I got involved with Tim Robichaud ( President ) & Rob Carte (Schuyerville) a few years back as it was starting up from just 14 kids all from Stillwater. Our goal was to get both Stillwater and Mechanicville a youth program to play in. Today only two years later we have upwards of 70 boys playing 3rd / 4th grade , 5th / 6th grade, and 7th /8th grade. We have just recently added a girls program this spring as we finally found a coach in Courtney Reed. She is focused on doing just skills and drills and teaching the game as we have girls as young as 3rd grade – 8th grade signed up. We are primarily Stillwater based and we have a few Mechanicville kids playing – we really hope to get more as I am living here. Both Mechanicville and Stillwater are small schools and towns neighboring each other so doing a combined program makes sense. Stillwater has taken the ball and totally run with it though, the amount of energy and passion for lacrosse in the community has truly been amazing. The parents are great to work with they are very much behind the program and support it very well. They actively recruit other kids to come try it out. Our goal is to add a 1st/2nd grade boys program next year and to get the girls program fully off the ground playing games next year as well. We want to continue to grow the program to show its sustainability in the community and hopefully get it in the high school very soon. The season just started this past weekend and our kids had tons of fun and played competitive lacrosse. This was the first time ever playing in a lacrosse game for eleven of the twenty-two kids on the 5/6 grade team I coach. The 3/4 kids coached by Rob Carte (Schuylerville) played solid. 7/8 kids even though they are lower in numbers competed very well. We are very excited about the rest of the season and continuing to grow the game through our program.
You have been involved in an effort to bring scholastic lacrosse to the Stillwater Central School District. Give us an update on that process so far, and what the next steps will be.
MT: It has been a long and exhaustive process meeting with Athletic Directors, Superintendents, going to two schools board meetings but we have done all the hard work now. We have made our presentation to Stillwater Board and it was very well received we were hoping to get a boys modified for this coming Spring of 2018 and then the following year add JV/ Varsity boys & girls. We were invited back just two weeks ago to follow up on our original presentation. It was great to see the school library at Stillwater packed full with lacrosse families for this meeting. The board was able to see first hand how much the community is behind the youth program. The AD shared his interest survey results from the school that were all in favor of adding a program, he made his recommendations and we are getting ready for an upcoming vote within the next month. So we have our fingers crossed that Stillwater will be playing competitive boys lacrosse in Section 2 very soon!!
You work for Dick’s Sporting Goods as a Store Manager. What are your thoughts about DSG’s commitment to lacrosse?
MT: Dick’s is a great place to work and it supports numerous youth lacrosse programs in the Capital District & throughout the Adirondack Region. Dicks works very close with the Adirondack Chapter of US lacrosse and the Regional Northeast Director of US Lacrosse to identify programs seeking support throughout the region. We have a community marketing manager Jeff Toler who does an awesome job working with youth programs especially. Jeff can arrange for your program to have a designated team day/weekend where everyone who is part of that program gets 20% off their purchase at one of the local Dick’s stores. I strongly suggest if you are not currently working with Jeff to reach out to him and set your youth program up for success. He can be reached at 412-841-4039 or by email at email@example.com. Dicks can also provide coaches kits for your youth program when you work with us getting balls, pinnies etc. Dick’s also offers free website & team store setup for your program thru Blue Sombrero. Dick’s has committed to helping lacrosse players of every age and skill level find the best equipment at their local stores. Our in stock levels on youth packages this year was great and we were able to help so many first time kids get set up for success. All stores offer stick stringing services, the Crossgates Mall store and Latham combo store both have fully functioning stringing stations in their lacrosse dept. You can pick what color string and components you need and they will string it for you to your specifications. We are always looking for players that have a passion for sports, so if you’d like to work in a great environment and be part of a great team then put your stick stringing skills to use and get paid as an employee. You can apply online at dickssportinggoods.jobs
Your 62 goals scored at UAlbany in the 1992 season stands at third all-time only behind Miles Thompson’s 82 goals scored in 2014, and Connor Fields’ 66 goals scored in 2015. During your record setting 1992 season Blake and Cort Kim combined for 96 assists; while Lyle Thompson handed out 77 assists in 2014, and 69 in 2015. How important is the rapport between scorer and feeder to putting the ball in the back of the net, and how do you further develop that rapport?
MT: It’s huge. Working with each other during practice beforehand or after is vital for success. You get what you put in and if you work hard it pays off in the end. Like I said earlier I have played with some amazing distributors of the ball and every one of them have their own tendencies way about their game. Blake and Cort Kim were two of the best hands down that I’ve ever played with. They were always willing to work on stuff with me to get down our timing on cuts, or knowing where I would end up being in certain situations. Practice and replicating that over and over is key. I try to teach my youth kids now you don’t have to be wide open to get the ball. A skilled feeder can put the ball in a small area where you can just quick stick it on the crease. In 1992 we made a living doing this, I knew I could drop step away from a defender on the crease and as I turned the ball would be right there where I needed it to be. The opposite side of my body would work as shield against the defender and I could get a quick shot off easily. Finishers need to have that timing down with the feeder as they approach X or start to dodge and attack the cage. One of the other things they can do is work the wall, that’s one of the best things for young lacrosse players. Repetitive motion, quick release and hitting small spots are great training when working the wall. Cort Kim’s Snypr app is a great tool for kids to utilize to get their reps in on the wall.
When is the last time you put on the pads and played lacrosse?
MT: Last time I played competitively was in 1994 in Australia with STX All Stars. Coach Wehrum was our coach over there and we had a blast. I went over with a couple of my local friends Mike Vorgang ( Niskayuna ) and John Keller ( Union), along with a lot of Herkimer guys. I strapped up a few times here and there in between for alumni games etc. But for me now its about the coaching and helping grow the game for the youth, I love working with the kids. I never had an opportunity to play youth lacrosse and learn the game that way, so I try to put a lot into it that will be value added to the kids.
It’s been awhile and I miss it a lot. I am trying to get back to Lake Placid to play with Greyed Danes in Master division, if my body will allow it. The guys are constantly giving me grief about not being there. I tore my hamstring really bad a few years back and it nags me really bad still, I am trying to get back I would love nothing more than a chance to run with Blake and Cort on an attack line again…so stay tuned!