Mike Messina signs with Syracuse


>College coaches often suggest that they are happy when they find lacrosse players who excel in more than one sport. Two of the top players in Section Five this year have made their future college coaches smile. Mike Messina from Aquinas, who was named MVP at the NYS football champion-ships last fall will honor his verbal commitment to Syracuse. Zach Reed, from Bath-Haverling, who was named MVP in his fall Sectional tournament in soccer last fall has honored his verbal commitment and will attend Hobart next year.

Both players have had a close, off-season relationship and each credit their association with Rochester legend, Tim Soudan, with inspiration and in helping them to recognize their potential. Mike Messina said, "I credit Coach Soudan for much of my success. He opened my eyes to many things about the game" and Zach Reed "wanted to acknowledge Tim Soudan, whose passion for the sport has inspired him to love the game as well."


A 130 yard rushing day including a fifty-yard run for his second touchdown of the day was capped by being named MVP of the Class A football championship last fall . That's not bad, for a player who is honoring his verbal commitment to play lacrosse at Syracuse next year.

Mike MessinaMessina's honors list is long, even before his final season at the Aquinas Institute. A Class C all tournament team member last year was followed by his being named to the Rochester D&C Super 16. In the off season he was a member of the Western ESG team, and Under Armour All-American, an Adidas All-American and previously won the FCA Heart of the Athlete Award (as a sophomore).

After a couple of visits to Syracuse, the Aquinas midfielder who has a career record of 72g-16a chose the Orange over other high-profile lacrosse schools including Georgetown, Princeton, Penn State and Notre Dame. "On my first visit I was able to see the campus and began to love it. Coach Rogers brought me to the Dome and had me stand there and as I looked around I couldn't think of anything better than playing there. On my second visit I was able to stay in the apartments and just hang out with the team. I had a great time and knew the next morning that it is where I wanted to go to school."Mike Messina

On one overnight visit, Messina stayed with former West Genesee defenseman, Joe Fazio and JoJo Morasco, a Somers High School super-star, who was named #2 on the Inside Lacrosse top high school attackmen (2009). "On my official visit I met with my friend, Freshmen Hakeem Lecky and was able to spend time with him seeing the campus and hanging out with the players."

As he enters his senior season, Mike feels his current strengths include speed, his ability to clear the ball and his dodging skills. He wants to work on shooting, team defensive skills and vision before next fall.
He first began to realize his potential after his freshman season, when he was selected to play on his first travel team. Coach Tim Soudan tapped him to play with some of the older boys in a "recruiting tournament" which opened his eyes to his ability to compete at the national level.

Adding to what seems to be a large group of role models, Mike names his cousin, Aquinas Midfielder, Marc Brondon as a player who inspired him as a youngster. "I saw all the accolades and accomplishments he made at a young age and that inspired me. As a Freshman I had the chance to play with him at Aquinas and I modeled my game play after his."

Mike Messina and Klay HestonMike's advise for players that follow him include focus on academics and off-season work. "Make sure that they get a step ahead on their academics. It is never too late to get started. Academics plays a huge role in the recruiting process and [good grades] allows you more choices. Also I would recommend trying out for every team you want because even if you don't make the team you will still get exposure, there are always college coaches at the try outs."

The support of coaches, teammates and family seems to be almost a necessity in the success of players and Mike recognizes that help when asked about his successes. "I would give my parents most of the credit for my success because there were always there to support me by attending all of my games and tournaments and of course funded all my needs."