By Connor Beach
The driving force behind Northport’s girls varsity lacrosse program for the past 28 years added another achievement to her resume last week.
Coach Carol Rose notched her 400th career victory on April 24 with a 9-6 triumph of Ward Melville.
Rose, who grew up in Manhasset, said she developed her love for lacrosse from her high school coaches. She’s instilled that same passion with the athletes she’s coached at Northport since 1990, when she helped launch the program.
Rose said her husband, Al, a Northport football coach at the time, came up with the idea to start the program and asked Rose, a college lacrosse athlete, to lead it.
“They let us both begin the program, and so we’ve been doing it together for 29 years,” Rose said.
The team took a few years to get off of the ground, but since 1995 Rose has described the Northport program as “a dynasty;” the Tigers have won 11 Suffolk championships and seven Long Island titles since 1996.
Rose’s Tigers have also reached three state championship games — 1996, 1998 and most-recently 2011, when Northport defeated upstate Pittsford for the program’s first state title.
Rose called that accomplishment the “icing on the cake” of an “incredible journey.”
She added, “I’ve had so many awesome teams throughout that are all special and unique in their own way, but I’d say that one was the most epic.”
Maintaining a top-tier program for almost three decades takes year-round commitment from the coaching staff, Rose said, and the Tigers players have been willing to match that commitment as they’ve bought into the program.
Rose described her coaching style as “tough love,” but admitted that she has “mellowed out” over the years. The experienced coach said the goal of her program is to prepare players for the challenges that come with playing women’s lacrosse at the collegiate level.
“If they can get through me, then they’ll be OK in college,” Rose said.
Rose, who also teaches physical education at Northport High School, has had over 80 players continue their lacrosse careers in division one programs.
This year’s Northport girls lacrosse team is shaping up to be one of Rose’s best. The Tigers are 11-0 so far on the season, and Rose said this year the goal is to get back to the county finals.
“This year their goal is to try and get back to that game and win it,” Rose said. “Right now we are just trying to stay focused, maintain our composure and stay hungry.”
Rose named senior midfielders Emerson Cabrera and Nicole Orella, junior goalie Claire Morris, junior attacker Olivia Carner and sophomore Danielle Pavinelli as some of this year’s standout performers.
Rose, who also coaches the Yellow Jackets girls lacrosse club team, said younger coaches need to be “committed, be confident and have composure” if they want to have success coaching at the high school level.
Looking forward, the 18-year veteran says she has no plans to stop coaching any time soon.