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Chick Chakrian’s heir helms hungry Hornets girls lacrosse team

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Michael Giordano spent the past three years being groomed to take over the Midwood girls lacrosse program, and now his time has come.

Legendary Hornets coach Paul “Chick” Chakrian, who started both the Midwood boys and girls programs, asked Giordano to join the team as an assistant coach three years ago and learn the game. Giordano, who played soccer at Brooklyn College before teaching at Midwood, finally took over the reigns of the team this season, with Chakrian retiring from teaching at the end of this year.

“Chick has certainly laid the ground work for me and set the bar high,” he said.

Though Chakrian will remain with the team as an assistant, the players said they were upset that Chakrian was stepping down as the headman. Still, they do feel the much younger Giordano has brought a new energy to the program. He’s able get out on the field in practice to demonstrate moves and has a talent as a motivator.

“Gio has a way of pushing you to your limit,” said senior Janae Headly. “You want to hate him, but you can’t because you understand what he is doing is good for you. It’s still nice to have Chick around. They work really well together.”

The Hornets are off to a 2–2 start after a 10–5 win over host Benjamin Cardozo last week. They have replaced last year’s leading goal scorers, Moriam Soetan and Linhen Beltran, with a more balanced offense, something Giordano has implemented. Headly has been the leader so far with 11 goals, including four against Cardozo.

“If you look at our stats we have many assists,” Giordano said. “Many of our goals are spread out.”

One of their biggest assets has been the emergence of senior goalie Basma Attieh, who spent much of her career playing behind the graduated Brittney Lee. Attieh made 14 saves against Cardozo and showed great instinct in the cage. She and Liz Sangadzhiev have been major leaders on defense.

“While I’ve been here for the last four years, but I never experienced being in the game that much,” Attieh said. “It’s been so much more energy and adrenaline.”

The Midwood players want to harness that excitement to finally break through to the finals after losing the last five seasons in the semis. Last year’s 15–14 defeat to Curtis in triple overtime was especially heartbreaking. They have added motivation this year.

“It was crushing,” Headly said. “This year it was kind of like, ‘We are doing this for Chick since he is not coaching any more, and we are doing it for the seniors.’ ”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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