Nike/US Lacrosse Northeast Region Report
by Tom Peace | LaxMagazine.com
Players to watch
Brian Cannon, Northport (N.Y.)
Austin Sims, Fairfield Prep (Conn.)
Chris Keating, Philips Exeter (N.H.)
Games to watch
Fairfield Prep (Conn.) vs. Chaminade (N.Y.) –
Timon St. Jude (N.Y.) vs. St. Andrews (Fla.) –
Yorktown (N.Y.) vs. Columbine (Colo.) – March
1. Chaminade (N.Y.)
Fifteen Division I players, including nine in the senior class, return from a team that finished 16-2. It's two losses were by a combined three goals. Goalie Dan Fowler (Duke) and Virginia-bound attackman Ryan Lukacovic (62 points) are top players.
2. St. Anthony's (N.Y.)
Nineteen Division I players, including 14 in the senior class, return from a team that won the CHSAA championship last season. The Friars lost two games to Chaminade in the regular season, but toppled the Flyers in the championship.
3. West Islip (N.Y.)
Senior Nick Aponte (Penn State) returns fresh off a three-goal, four-assist performance in a state championship win over Ithaca. Ryan Wieczorek (Delaware), who also played well in the final, gives the Lions an awesome 1-2 punch at midfield.
4. Garden City (N.Y.) 1-0
Following a remarkable 22-0 cruise to the Class B crown, Garden City lost All-Americans Devin Dwyer, Dan Marino (goalie) and Patric Berkery. An underrated factor in Garden City's favor: Faceoff master James Sullivan returns. The Trojans opened the season with a win over Syosset.
5. Ithaca (N.Y.)
The Little Red came up a little bit short against West Islip but lost just one other game. Ithaca boasts the Hartford-bound duo of Doug Biondi (three goals in the state final) and Jaedon Henderson, but needs to solve faceoff woes in big games.
6. Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.)
The Red Rams went 16-4 despite a new-look defense. Their final three losses came by a combined six goals. Griffin Feiner (Hartford) will spark the offense. Syracuse-bound All-American Jordan Evans also packs a punch.
7. Smithtown West (N.Y.)
The Bulls return 13 Division I-bound players from a team that finished 16-2 last season. A playoff loss to Ward Melville ended their season. Look for junior Ryan Keenan (Penn State) to lead the offense along with junior midfielder Christian Zawadzki.
8. Niskayuna (N.Y.)
The Silver Warriors lost just two games last season, both to state champions, and allowed just five goals per game. North Carolina-bound Luke Goldstock (144 points), Lucas Maloney (Penn State) and goalie Evan Quinn (Hartford) return.
9. Darien (Conn.)
The Blue Wave reasserted itself in Connecticut with its seventh state title in eight years. Darien lost a ton, including consensus No. 1 recruit Case Matheis, but Peter Lindley (UMass) will be back to help cushion the blow.
10. Duxbury (Mass.)
Led by CJ Loconte (Army) and Jay Walsh (Fairfield), the Dragons could again run the table in Massachusetts. Garden City was the only team to reach double figures against Duxbury.
News and Notes
Greenwich's Youth Now Experienced
A year older and a year wiser, Greenwich (Conn.) is ready to fly.
The Greenwich Cardinals had a fairly young team last year and the squad learned a lot during its 9-9 season. Head coach Scott Bulkley is optimistic as the Cardinals begin their first practices this week.
"We started a lot of sophomores and freshman. That experience will be very important for this year's team and how we prepare for each game," Bulkley said. "The offseason was spent working on the little things that make you better. I am very happy with all of the work my guys did this offseason."
Those little things included watching game tape, working out in the weight room and stick work.
The Cardinals have a deep midfield unit led by two of the strongest players in the state in Alex Moeser (Hofstra) and Kyle Foote (Loyola). Ryan Flippin, Kelly Jay, Sam Saleeby will be key contributors on midfield. Decker Curran (Michigan) and Will Gibian lead the attack unit.
The Greenwich defense should have the two qualities every coach wants -- youth and experience. Three out of the four have started since their freshman year. Starting at close defense is 6-foot-3, 208 pound Jack Harrington (Duke), followed by Jack Nail, Cole Perry, and Griffin Tiedy.
Graham Savio who many believe is one of the top-3 faceoff men in the Tri-State area.
The 2013 schedule includes the usual slate of Connecticut Class L opponents, but also Darien and Wilton from Class M. Two teams from the Empire State also highlight the schedule — Lakeland-Panas and Chaminade.
"The only way to take your game to the next level is to go out and play the best possible competition. We respect all of our opponents but we fear no one," Bulkley said. "We are going to use the regular season to get ourselves ready for the playoffs. We have a lot of work to do and my guys are ready to do what it takes to take that next step."
Putting Maine on the Map
Lacrosse keeps growing and one high school program in a little town on southern coast of Maine is doing just that.
The Scarborough (Maine) lacrosse team is coming off its third-straight state championship and expects to have between 65-75 students playing, including 60-plus playing lacrosse in the middle school.
Maine currently has 42 high school lacrosse programs in the state, according to Laxpower.com.
Joe Hezlep is entering his sixth year as head coach of the Red Storm. He is the president of the Maine Chapter for US Lacrosse and is pleased with the growth of the sport in Maine.
"Lacrosse has traditionally been in the prep schools and in the greater Portland area," Hezlep said. "Next year Waterville, two hours north of Portland, will field a varsity team and Bangor has a club program started. Lacrosse in Maine is growing very rapidly."
Hezlep is trying to branch out with his team and Maine lacrosse to the rest of the country and in doing so he is starting to schedule tough out of state teams.
Last season the Red Storm opened against Gould Academy from New England. This year Scarborough opens against Mercer Island (Wash.).
"This will be a very big test for us, they are already 2-0 and will have played six more games by the time we see them," Hezlep said. "For us, it will come down to making plays and being able to execute simple concepts very effectively. Mercer Island is used to playing very big out of state games and have even played a Maine team before (Cape Elizabeth)."
The Red Storm lost 14 seniors, including six of the eight top scorers and three-time All Conference LSM Andrew Jones, from last year's team that went 14-1.
This year's team will need to fill those roles very quickly. Scarborough only returns four starters from last season's squad.
The Red Storm does return US Lacrosse All-American John Wheeler (Bentley). Wheeler is a two-time First Team All-Conference attackman that lead the team in scoring for the third year in a row with 84 points (51 goals, 33 assists).
Also returning is Second Team All-Conference senior Dalton Finley. Finley has started at defensive midfield for Scarborough since his sophomore season. Senior Goalie David Pearson returns for his third season between the pipes after posting a 77 percent save percentage and 3.27 GAA in 2012.
Junior Brendon Smith anchors the defense with fellow junior Cam Loiselle, who is the leading returning scorer on the midfield.
This year's focus for the Red Storm is to build on the foundation that has been laid by the previous teams at Scarborough.
Hezlep and the Red Storm begin practice on March 25 and are eager to get the season started.
"We will work relentlessly to get better everyday," Hezlep said.
Check back to LaxMagazine.com every other Wednesday throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Boys' Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Boys' Top 25.