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Monday, June 2, 2014: West Islip girls remain perfect, reach semis

   Leading off today: West Islip kept its perfect record intact Sunday, beating Farmingdale 12-8 for the Lions' first Long Island Class A championship in girls lacrosse.

   "This is West Islip history," coach Joe Nicolosi said after the Lions emerged from a 5-5 halftime tie to run their record to 20-0. "We've got a great community, great fans, great kids who play this game. It's just a well-rounded machine."

   Lena Riportella paced the Lions, whose Section 11 title last week was also a program milestone, with five goals, including their final three of the game. Lindsay Darrell chipped in with two goals and two assists.

   More lacrosse: Since the girls semifinals and finals are played on consecutive days in Cortland, semifinal matchups change from year to year. This year, Sections 3 and 5 will face off against each other in the semifinals in all three classes, making it the fifth time in six years that all of the participants from the West/Central regions have come from those two sections.

   Since Lancaster of Section 6 captured a semifinal berth in Class A in 2008, only Owego (Section 4, Class B) in 2008 has broken the stranglehold of Sections 3 and 5 in the quarterfinals.

   Golf, Day 1: Three Section 5 competitors from Pittsford are among four tied for the lead midway through the NYSPHSAA boys golf championships in Ithaca.

   Pittsford Sutherland's Jack Gianniny and Pittsford Mendon's Will Thomson and Gunnar Doyle each shot a two-over-par 73 to stand in a four-way tie atop the leaderboard with Kyle Mathews of Shenendehowa at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell on Sunday.

   The 36-hole event concludes Monday.

   Social media food for thought: Internet analytic company Beevolve estimates that 75 percent of the 400 million Twitter messages each day originate from users aged 15 to 25.

   "Whether you like it or not it's there and the kids use it. There's no going back, so you've got to use the tool wisely and attempt to monitor it as best as you can," Greg Gavich, a two-sport coach at Odessa-Montour told the Press & Sun-Bulletin for a weekend story. "Can it be positive? Yeah. Is it more positive than negative? Probably not. But it's what we have."

   And what we have from reporter Kevin Stevens is a very interesting story, the latest examination of social media and young athletes from a New York media outlet. I've seen tweets from time to time by college coaches lamenting having to end the recruitment of certain athletes for inappropriate Facebook or Twitter comments, but Stevens got the perspectives of some New York coaches on the subject.

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       David Archer, head coach at Cornell, has assistant football coaches monitor postings by players on the program's recruiting board. "It takes no time at all to look at a Twitter and say, 'OK, no thanks,'" he said.

       Robb Munro, the track and cross country coach at SUNY Delhi, also has backed off potential recruits based on their social media adventures.

       "If there are photos popping up of you at parties smoking or drinking or whatever when you're in high school, then I have to be pretty concerned about what you're going to do when you're in college," Munro said.

       "I look for habits, but a bad habit doesn't disqualify you. A lot of kids come from situations where they've never been taught, and as soon as they are taught they do just fine."

       Speaking of recruiting: The readers' comments conversation beneath the story ranks somewhere between interesting and maddening following The Post-Standard's story on how Syracuse University's football staff deluged a recruiting target with 64 pieces of mail in one day.

       Mohamed Barry, a three-star defensive back/linebacker from Loganville, Ga., was the target Saturday of the high-intensity strategy, which has been known to work for other colleges recently. Kentucky's Mark Stoops stalked quarterback Drew Barker with 115 pieces of mail last summer, though defensive end Harrison Phillips wasn't swayed by Duke's 115 letters and Devante Downs turned down Oregon State's 101.

       Barry tweeted that he was pleased with the attention. But, again, take a look at the reader comments.

       For the record, I think it's a great once-in-awhile tool for college recruiters. Done too often in a short period of time, it's probably a waste of time for the school and the player -- not to mention demoralizing for the mailman.

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