The high school lacrosse landscape is about to change in the northern tier of Section 1.
Add Don Connolly’s name to the ever-growing list of past Yorktown players taking the reins of a program in dire need of a fresh face and some new ideas.
Arlington is a massive school, one of the biggest in all of New York state. For years, it has been best known for its boys soccer prowess. But now, with Connolly taking over a lacrosse program that has taken baby steps in recent years, there’s a buzz that is both undeniable and unavoidable.
“I think coming to Arlington this season is just a huge opportunity,” said Connolly, a 1987 graduate of Yorktown who’s seen his fair share of success as both a player and as an assistant coach. “It’s the right time to come into a program thats ready to do something special.
“We have enough kids playing since the fifth grade. We have enough kids with talent, a huge enrollment and a lot of athletes. The recipe for success is pretty strong.
“I like to compare what we can be to Somers. When they started, they had mostly athletes and were able to grow the program quickly. This is a similar situation. We have big, strong athletes who want to do well and are like sponges. We can teach them that lacrosse IQ.
Former Syracuse star and Fox Lane varsity coach Paul Carcaterra, now one of the leading lacrosse analysts in America, said the sky’s the limit for both Connolly the coach and Arlington the program. He likened it to the right jockey mounting a raw racehorse.
“Arlington is a sleeping giant in high school lacrosse,” Carcaterra said. “Don is the right guy to tap into the athleticism and up-and-coming youth program. He will put his stamp on that program.
“His offensive mind is cutting edge. He has the ability to change games by adjusting to what the opposition’s tendencies are. He has had championship experience at every level. Couple that with his valuable coaching experience and he will bring excitement to the Arlington program.”
Maybe Connolly’s presence will mark the dawning of a new era, the first real chance Dutchess County has had to show it can put a blueprint in place to one day be in a position to rival its neighbors to the south. Or maybe it will be the culmination of one man’s quest to find his true calling. Regardless, it should be an interesting ride.
”It’s an exciting time. We cant wait to get started,” Connolly said. ”The excitement level is high. The future is bright for Arlington.”
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