Testani put Blue Devils on map in north country

CHRISTOPHER LENNEY/WATERTOWN DAILY TIMESOFA’s Isaac Testani is the Times All-North NAC Most Valuable Player.

OGDENSBURG — Isaac Testani and 10 fellow seniors can leave high school knowing they’ve left the Ogdensburg Free Academy boys lacrosse team in a better position than it was when they arrived on campus.

The Blue Devils’ 10-year-old program, but in the past two years OFA has risen to a level where it now plays on equal footing with established powerhouses like Canton, Salmon River and St. Lawrence Central.

OFA set a program record this season with 11 wins and beat Canton for the first time, 14-6, on May 6.

Testani, a senior midfielder, was the leader of the Blue Devils and was chosen as the Northern Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player for the Times All-North squad.

“It takes time to build your hands and working on being able to shoot the ball and aim the ball,” OFA coach Matt Morley said. “He worked at it where he improved on his accuracy and he worked on his left hand, trying to make himself better. Some kids just enjoy it. They are putting in work, and it is hard work, but I don’t think some kids see it that way.”

Testani set a school single-season scoring record with 45 goals and 50 assists. As good as he is at lacrosse, it’s not the sport where he plans to make his collegiate future. He missed his senior season with OFA’s boys hockey team in order to play junior hockey in Canada last winter.

“He is one of those kids that has that (scoring) knack,” Morley said. “If you watch someone play hockey, you always have that kid who can put the puck in the back of the net. He puts himself in the right spots. He has that feel for the game and sees the game. It’s the same thing in lacrosse. He gets it and he puts himself in good positions and he is patient. He can slow the game down to try and get other people involved and move to the right spot to get a pass.”

Testani scored 31 goals with 27 assists in his final hockey season at OFA, as a junior.

This season, he played in 14 games for the Cornwall Colts and 13 games with the Char-Lan Rebels in junior hockey, totaling nine goals with five assists. He plans to play for the Colts again this season and hopes to one day make it to the NCAA Division I level.

“The game was a lot faster than what I was used too,” Testani said of junior hockey. “I liked that it was a totally different style of hockey.”

Testani said missing his senior year, and playing with his friends, was a difficult choice, which made this lacrosse season more special.

“There was a lot of good stuff this year, it flew by fast,” Testani said. “(The seniors) all worked together since we were freshman. We all worked hard to get where we are at. I think we all really bonded together. We never really fought each other.”

OFA won one game in Testani’s freshman lacrosse season and was 0-12 in the NAC.

“When we first started all those other schools just killed us,” Testani said. “You have to work hard if you want to get what you want then things will just come to you easily. I think (OFA) is going to stay a good program. I’d probably say the Canton (win) at home was one of the bigger games. It’s a great feeling to beat those teams. It was a big accomplishment.”

There were 11 seniors on the OFA roster who all played key roles in the growth of the program, but as the top scorer, Testani had a leadership role that was clearly visible.

“The kids look up to him,” Morley said. “They know that he provides that punch. He took faceoffs for us, was a great assist guy, a great goal guy, was good on the man-up. The kids looked to him to provide that spark and he didn’t shy away from that. He knew it was his role to provide that. He’s one of those kids that leads by example, works hard, and tries to do the right thing.

“I think he’ll be successful whatever (sport) he picks. Right now he will give hockey a chance, will play in Canada and see how it works out. I know the local (college) lacrosse coaches were interested in him. He could definitely go and play lacrosse if hockey doesn’t work out. Some kids just have that knack for the game.”

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