LaxLessons.com and Epoch Lacrosse have teamed up for a new feature at LaxLessons.com in which lacrosse standouts share their epic high school memories.
Somers has been one of the top boys lacrosse programs in New York’s Section 1 for just over a decade.
If there’s one player who ignited the Tuskers’ rise, it was Tom Werney.
Werney, a high-scoring attackman/midfielder known for the velocity of his shots, led Somers to its first-ever sectional title in its first appearance in the finals — a 10-8 win over Hendrick Hudson in 2000, his senior year with the Tuskers. Since then, Somers has returned to the sectional title game seven times, winning four more titles for a total of five.
Moving on to the Division I level, Werney led Fairfield University to a first of its own, also coming in his senior year, this time in 2005, when he was named Team MVP.
The Stags edged No. 12-ranked Denver 9-8 in the last game of the season to capture their first Great Western Lacrosse League championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to Duke. Fairfield ended the season, regarded as the best in school history, ranked 16th. Werney, playing his final home game, had three goals against Denver.
What makes your high school varsity career so memorable and meaningful looking back at it now?
The relationships made throughout it all. You create certain bonds with people when you spend a lot of time together working hard to reach a common goal.
From your teammates to your coaches, you will always have a connection with them and although you may not see each other as often, that bond will always be there.
Some, if not most, of my best friendships were made on the lacrosse field – both in high school and college.
I recently drove cross country and stayed with friends along the way. When I got back and looked back at it, every single person that I stayed with along the way were my friends through lacrosse, some of whom I hadn’t spoken to in years, but they opened their doors like no time had passed.
If you had to pick one most memorable moment or game from high school what would it be and why?
Winning the section my senior year (2000). That year was the first time Somers had won a section title. We played Hen Hun (our “rival”) in the finals who we had lost to twice during the regular season.
I didn’t even play particularly well in that game, as far as scoring goals (I had one goal), my friend B.V. (former Somers standout and current New Rochelle High School varsity head coach Brian Violante) to this day reminds me that he outscored me in that game (he had two goals) and threatens me that he will put in the game tape to prove it. Until I remind him it’s only on VHS and no one has a VHS anymore.)
But that didn’t matter, we won the game and had a great time celebrating it together as a team. It started the Somers-Hen Hud rivalry. Everyone knows that in order to make decent rivals, both teams had to win, and until that point, Hen Hud was always beating us. That’s when the tide changed in our favor.
Do you remember who your first varsity game was against, what grade you were in and what happened in the game?
I forget who we were playing, but I was a freshman getting pulled up from JV to play varsity, I was a overanxious and wanted to play great, but didn’t do anything early in the game.
Then, in the second quarter, I remember riding this big defenseman really hard toward the sideline and right near our bench, slapping and checking down on his hands. This defenseman had my number until this point in the game, stripping me bad the first time I dodged him, causing me to just move the ball like it was on fire every time it came back my way.
I eventually was able to check down on him hard enough and dislodge the ball. At this point, I was near my bench and the entire team was cheering loudly getting me pumped up. We were fighting for the groundball for what seemed like forever, slapping hard on his bottom hand every time he went to scoop it.
Then, I eventually got in front and scooped it up and made a desperate sidearm pass to someone cutting down the field right as he knocked me down to the ground. I remember after getting laid out on the ground sitting there for a second and listening to the entire team four feet behind me screaming and cheering the play I had just made. It was a great feeling. I’ll never forget that groundball.
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‘Epic Moments’ archives
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