In the next few weeks public school state champions in both New York and Connecticut will be crowned. Along the way we’ll also learn who received all-America recognition and respective state, sectional and conference accolades.
But as far as naming who the best of the best is, that’s a debate that could rage on for weeks, regardless of what committees say. Here’s where party unity and loyalty to the colors are tested. Here’s where the objective lacrosse fan throws out his subjectivity. Here’s where the trash-talking stops and the true analysis begins.
At some point I plan on throwing out there my choices for Section 1, Long Island, FCIAC, SCC, SWC and overall player of the year. Some of the finalists, in my mind, are no brainers.
But you may think differently. So, here’s your chance to lay out there who you think is truly the best player in the region. Don’t be shy now. If you feel the prudent thing to do is to name your top players by section or conference, go right ahead, but also add in your pick for overall player of the year. I think naming a section or conference top dog is a lot easier than throwing out there for public scrutiny a player who, in your mind, has no equals anywhere in our region.
I’m not leaning in any one direction, but just to get the ball rolling here’s a quick look at some of the players on my personal list. Most are household names and each is someone you’d never forget if you saw them on a field with a stick. What do you think?
Nick Galasso: The junior attackman for West Islip, currently the No. 2 team in the LaxLessons Top 25 regional rankings, recently hit the century mark for points, including 56 goals. He’s largely considered to be the most talented offensive player on Long Island and a lock for all-American. Entire defenses are drawn up just to contain him — and they often fail.
Connor English: I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the University of Virginia-bound attackman twice and there aren’t many other Long Island players that mean more to his team than English does to Manhasset, the top-ranked team in our rankings. English has 56 goals and the best first step toward the ball on Long Island. He’s always in the right position to finish, whether it’s on the break or in a 6-on-6 set. On top of that, he’s class personified.
Matt White: He’ll be joining English at Virginia next season (and just imagine how good UVa’s already potent offense will be with these two on attack over the next few years). White does a lot more for Ridgefield, ranked No. 4 in our poll, than his 89 points would suggest. Sure, he can score and he can dish, but did you know he can also face-off and clear? If for no other reason, White simply being on the field should give Ridgefield the edge in the FCIAC race.
Joe Marasco: If there’s something the Syracuse-bound attackman cannot do on the lacrosse field, prove it and you’ll have made history. He hit the 200 career goal mark just last week. He’s a lot like English in that he has a tremendous first step to the ball and an uncanny ability to create a shooting lane, and has a lefty crank like no other at his position in Section 1. JoJo is a true scorer, always in the right place at the right time and if you double (or triple him) he’ll find someone and they will make you pay.
John Ranagan: Ranagan is hands down the best middie in Section 1 and arguably as good as any you’ll find in the state. This Hopkins-bound beast of a specimen of a high school athlete plays like a special teamer on an NFL squad, but at the same time is as skilled offensively as anyone at his position. Where there is a hit to be made, he makes it — usually in the open field no less. And oh yeah, he scores … a lot. Ranagan is the MVP of Yorktown, the No. 5 team in this week’s poll. That probably says more than his 45 goals ever could.
So there’s a quick look at five players who have had tremendous seasons. There are many, many others who deserve a ton of recognition, but I’ll leave that to each of you to debate. Is a defenseman or a goalie part of your top 5? There certainly are worthy candidates out there.
Time to put down the pom-poms and take a stand.
Speak up. Now’s your chance.
Reach Syracuse at firstname.lastname@example.org.