This article first appeared on MetroWNY.com on March 11, 2009 and was written by Matthew Ondesko.
Dealing with injuries is always tough when you’re an athlete.
The long recoveries. The extra time in the trainers room. And missing time with teammates can take a toll on an athlete’s psyche.
Fortunately, for Army junior lacrosse player Andrew Maisano (St. Francis) he hasn’t had to deal with the injury bug to often.
“I had a separated shoulder when I was playing hockey at St. Francis,” the Buffalo native explained while on the phone from West Point. “I had a pulled hamstring last year and I separated my AC joint this season.”
And while some may want to rest until the injuries heal, Maisano wants to get right back on the field never missing valuable practice time with his teammates.
After this latest injury, Maisano didn’t miss a game instead he just played with the pain and moved on.
“It’s a little painful,” he said. “But, the rehab is going really good. You just have to get used to it.”
That kind of attitude is one of the main reasons why Army came calling.
The Military Academy looks for individuals who have strong character and excel in the classroom.
And Maisano has both.
But, while Army came calling on the former St. Francis standout, the military wasn’t something that was always on the mind of Maisano.
Not until he went on a visit to the campus did Maisano finally decide that this is the place where he wanted to be.
“I never really considered it an option,” he said. “I fell in love with the campus when I took my visit.”
Falling in love with the campus was one thing, dealing with the military commitment was another.
It wasn’t until Maisano finally got on campus that he really understood what West Point was all about.
“I never been around much military,” he said. “When you understand what it’s all about.... I felt that I owed it to my country to serve.”
While being a standout on the lacrosse field, Maisano also is a standout in the classroom.
The junior is a systems engineering major and his major is one of the reasons why he chose West Point.
“West Point is known for their engineering,” stated Maisano. “It’s a good major that transcends time. It never gets old.”
On the field, Maisano is in the starting lineup for the Black Knights contributing six points (four goals, two assists) in five games.
After appearing in 13 games (no starts) last season, Maisano credits his work over the summer as the reason for his early success.
“Normally, the summer is packed with all the military training you have to do,” he explained. “But, I was able to practice over the summer and I worked on my shot. And, that’s helped me stay on the first line. I am happy with my play so far.”
His play is one of the reasons why the Black Knights have gotten off to a good start (3-2) despite a grueling schedule.
The schedule for Army is one of the toughest in the country with games against powers Cornell, Syracuse and Duke.
But, Maisano states, it’s that type of schedule that gets them ready for league play and maybe a chance at an NCAA tournament bid.
“It (the schedule) helps motivate us,” he said. “We try not to look to far ahead. We just take it one game at a time.”
One game and one day at a time is exactly how Maisano is taking it. And while winning isn’t everything, Maisano still doesn’t like to lose.
“I didn’t come to West Point to lose.”
No he didn’t.