UMass men's lacrosse midfielder Anthony Biscardi's first collegiate game on Feb. 21, 2009 at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium brought him near his hometown of Wantagh. Now in the home stretch of his senior year, the graduate is set to return to his backyard.
Biscarsi and second-ranked UMass will be taking on Drexel at Bethpage High School this Saturday at 2 p.m. in a key Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) matchup. The second annual "Battle at Bethpage" will bring Biscardi less than 10 miles from his family's Wantagh home.
"It is always good to go home and play in front of the home fans and my family and friends," said Biscardi, whose parents have ordered around 50 tickets for Saturday's game. "I'm excited for it."
Biscari's last collegiate game on Long Island ended in heartbreak when archrival Hofstra scored three goals in the final 2:44 including the game-winner with just four seconds remaining in an 11-10 victory. The Wantagh product is hoping for a different result Saturday when the Minutemen (10-0) try to stay unbeaten against a formidable Drexel team.
Biscardi has had many accomplishments at UMass including being named to the USILA Honorable Mention All-American Team and All-CAA First Team as a junior after scoring 20 goals and tallying 10 assists. In January, the Wantagh product was selected by the Ohio Machine in the second round of the Major League Lacrosse College Draft.
Biscardi said a major reason he decided to play at UMass was its longtime head coach Greg Canella, a Lynbrook native who has recruited many standout Long Island players over the years.
"He laid it on the table and said 'we're a blue collar school and we like to work hard everyday' and that is just the kind of person I am," Biscardi said.
UMass last made the NCAA Tournament in Biscardi's freshman season and there is high motivation to return and make a run at a national championship, which makes adds extra urgency to Saturday's game in Bethpage and the remainder of the schedule.
"We play every play like it's our last," he said. "The way that we play really hasn't changed but it is setting in that the season is coming down to a close."
Biscardi credits much of success at UMass to Wantagh head coach Gary Reh. At Wantagh, Biscarsdi tallied 154 points in three years and was named an All-American finalist as a senior.
"Coach Reh was awesome," he said. "He was a four-time All-American at Adelphi so he obviously knew what he was talking about so anything he wanted to teach me I was more than happy to learn."
Reh said he knew Biscardi had the ability to excel in college not just from his athletic ability but also his work ethic.
"He is a very hard worker," Reh said. "We knew he had the ability to succeed at the college level and he is proving everyone right."