Two fresh faces making a strong impact on the defense may be new to Bayhawks fans, but they are definitely familiar to each other. While Brian Spallina and Nicky Polanco are recent additions to the roster, they have a long history as teammates.
Spallina was traded to the Bayhawks in December 2011. After graduating from Hofstra University in 2000, Spallina racked up four MLL championships during stints with the Long Island Lizards and Philadelphia Barrage. Known for his record-breaking number of penalty minutes, Spallina is a tough and aggressive player.
Polanco came to the Bayhawks in May 2012 after a trade with the Lizards. He was drafted to the Barrage after graduating from Hofstra University in 2002. Polanco went on to play for the Long Island Lizards from 2005 to 2012, where he was named Warrior Defensive Player of the year for the second time in his career.
After manning the Lizards defense together from 2009 to 2011, the duo’s skills and camaraderie will be an asset to the Bayhawks team.
“For both of us, its not about US. It’s about being the best teammates we can to the rest of our team,” Spallina explains. “There is comfort in knowing that there is a familiar face on your side, but ultimately being part of a new team we have to find our place. Nicky and I have a history together and we both know when push comes to shove we will both be there for each other. But that being said, we want our teammates to share that feeling … this has been their team and they have welcomed us in like brothers on the defense.”
The defense has contributed greatly to the Bayhawks’ success this season. Both Spallina and Polanco played for the Old School team in the MLL All-Star game.
The positive energy between these teammates continues off the field. Spallina describes his relationship with Polanco as “best friends. My children call him Uncle Nicky … We train together, work together, and live four houses away from each other. Nick is like a brother to me and my family.”
This friendship is sure to contribute to the Bayhawks’ strong team spirit. As teammates yet again, Spallina and Polanco will help make the Bayhawks defense a powerful force this season.