Wall ball plans unveiled for Riverhead lacrosse, tennis teams

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | (L-R) Tennis coach Jerry Duvall, Joseph Ogeka, RHS principal David Wicks, athletic director Bill Groth, varsity lacrosse coach Vic Guadagnino, Mason Haas, and JV coach Evan Philcox announce plans for a ball wall at Riverhead High School.

A group of parents have launched fundraising efforts in hopes of  getting a wall built near the Riverhead High School tennis courts to help the school’s lacrosse and tennis teams practice their skills, the group announced Friday afternoon.

The wall would be 35 feet wide and 15 feet tall, with netting on top to prevent tennis and lacrosse balls from flying over, said one of the parents, Mason Haas, whose son played lacrosse in Riverhead.

“One of the first things [coaches] did with him was take him to a wall at a school,” Mr. Haas said. “Up west [on Long Island] it’s a huge tool to help improve their skills.”

The wall would replace a section of fencing along the south side of the tennis courts and could be used by both tennis and lacrosse teams at the same time, he added.

Students can’t use the walls of the high school to practice as effectively, because the wall’s brick surface is uneven; the new wall would be smooth to let the players practice their passing and shooting.

“Now kids end up on the [high school] building until they get chased away,” said Varsity lacrosse coach Vic Guadagnino. “This gives them a place where they don’t have to get chased away.”

He said the closest wall ball in town is at Stotzky park, which is too far for high school students to walk after school.

The group, which is not affiliated with the school, is hoping to raise $20,000 to build the wall, and has set up a Facebook page to encourage donations.

Mr. Haas said the parents will announce their first fundraising event soon, and hope to have the wall built by the winter.

[email protected]