Sewanhaka’s boys lacrosse coach Peter Burgess has one rule when it comes to his goalies: make the saves that you’re supposed to make.
Luckily for Burgess, senior Jake Mellen does that and more.
“Once or twice a game he’ll make a save that no one’s supposed to make,” Burgess said. “I’ll look over to my assistant coach and say, ‘Wow, that was a special play right there’”
For three years, Mellen has been making those kind of spectacular saves for the Indians as the starting goalie. Before his senior season started, he was voted captain by his teammates and coaches.
“For me to be named captain [senior] year is really more special to me than anything,” Mellen said.
Burgess said if there’s one difference between Mellen’s sophomore and senior seasons is his leadership on-and-off the field.
“When he was a sophomore maybe he wasn’t as confident to tell an older kid, ‘Hey you missed that slide’” Burgess said. “This year, he has no problem doing that. In the huddle he’s telling everybody what’s going on and how to correct things on the fly.”
Mellen has gotten off to a solid start this year. Through seven matches in 2014, he’s notched double-digit saves six times.
“He’s been consistent for us since his sophomore year,” Burgess said. “He’s always been a good ball stopper and he throws a nice outlet pass that allows us to create transition.”
Mellen says the biggest quality to be an effective goalie is to have a short-term memory.
“Obviously people are going to score, you’re not going to have a shutout,” said Mellen. “As a goalie, you just have to forget things really quick. There’s always going to be pressure on you.”
Mellen, who was also starting quarterback of the Indians football team, says he has yet to make a decision on where he is going to college but is leaning towards Nassau Community College.
“Everyone knows I love football,” said Mellen, whose uncle is former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde. “If I go to Nassau, I’ll try out for the football team. But I definitely plan on playing lacrosse for coach (George) Powers.”
When asked if there’s one moment that sticks out in his time playing lacrosse for Sewanhaka, Mellen brought up a week in his sophomore season.
“Usually our rivals are the biggest games,” Mellen said. “We beat New Hyde Park 11-8 then later on in the week, we beat Elmont 14-4 and I had 20 saves.
“But saves don’t really matter at the end of the day. The score matters most.”