loftus21Eddie Loftus in action in Syosset’s 6-3 season-opening win over visiting Garden City. The Duke-bound senior attackman scored four goals. (Jim Stout/

• For a photo gallery from the game, click here.

It wouldn’t have been surprising at all if Syosset had stumbled a bit out of the gate this season.

The Braves, who beat Yorktown in the state semifinals before falling to West Genesee in the state championship game, were a senior-laden team.

In fact, eight of those seniors, including the all-time leading scorer in LI lax history — Jeff Cohen, who is now at Harvard — are currently playing at the college level.

So what would wind up happening in today’s season-opener against visiting Garden City was anybody’s guess. 

Question No. 1? Who would carry the offensive load with the departure of Cohen?

Eddie Loftus wound up delivering a decisive answer to that question — scoring four goals as Syosset pulled away for a 6-3 win.

Question No. 2? How would the team’s goaltending situation be with a new starter, Jonathan Cohen (no relation to Jeff), taking over?

Cohen answered that with a strong game, making 11 saves while demonstrating mobility and poise.

After the game, Syosset coach John Calabria smiled widely when talking about how two of his team’s smallest players came up big.

“Eddie’s been a three-year starter. Pound for pound, he’s one of the best attackmen on Long Island.

“Jonathan played a great game. Everyone knew he could do the job and he showed that today.”

After being held in check in the first quarter (which ended in a 1-1 tie) by the relentless defensive effort of Garden City’s Stephen Jakelka, Lucas scored back-to-back goals in the third quarter to give the Braves a 3-2 lead at halftime.

“I think my field vision and feeding ability are my biggest strengths,” said the 5-foot-9, 150-pound attackman. “I don’t have the fastest shot.”

When it came time to select a college, Loftus decided to take a shot at following his lifelong dream. He was recruited by Dartmouth, Brown, Lehigh and Navy, but decided to commit to Duke, where his brothers Dan and Chris both played, even though he was not offered a scholarship.

“It’s always been my dream to play at Duke,” he said.

Ryan Hunter and Jon Guzman, who also had three assists, also scored for Syosset.

Though Penn-bound goaltender Brendan Engelke and the Trojans’ defense played a solid game for the most part, lack of possession and inability to finish on offense when they did have the ball plagued Garden City, which is ranked No. 18 in the Inside Lacrosse national preseason poll. (Syosset is ranked sixth.)

In a game in which defense dominated, there were several players who stood out on defense in addition to the goalies:
• Cornell-bound Thomas Keith of Syosset showed his athletic ability and stick skills when he picked off a pass in mid-air, wheeled around and then cleared the ball almost effortlessly.
• Two Division I-bound Garden City players — Pierce Bradley (Sacred Heart) and Reid Rosello (Hobart) — both had strong efforts.
• Alierio Demeireles. Remember the name. The Syosset sophomore is a returning starter and has a huge upside.
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Posted In: Long Island lacrosse

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2 Responses to “Syosset makes early statement”

  1. Syracuse says:


    Was there the usual amount of rust by both teams? Or was it a fairly well played game? Sounds like the teams looked sharp, but, as expected, defenses were much more advanced than the offenses.

    Syosset-West Islip … I can see it already in June.

  2. Zinzi says:

    gotta cover more than the high schools, joe … gotta cover the colleges and the pros and the semipros and the recreational leagues … don’t limit yourself because the high schools have only limited appeal, believe me … very limited …

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