Manhasset won a state championship for the third time in program history last year.
But the Indians lost a strong senior nucleus from that team, including attackman Connor English, who is now a freshman at Virginia. English had nine count ’em, nine goals in a 16-11 win over LaFayette in the state title game.
So if the Indians hope to contend for another title, they will have to get big contributions from several first-year starters and underclassmen.
Among them is sophomore defenseman Bobby Duvnjak, who shares his thoughts as the Indians prepare for the official start of preseason practice.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
I have been working with a trainer every week to improve our footwork and speed. Our team has been playing in a winter league and we play together every Sunday at a winter workout to work on individual skills. We also have a fitness test that we are all trying to do well on.
Can you talk about some of the key players you lost from last year and how you think you will be able to replace them?
Some of the key players we lost from last years team are goalie Jack Meyer, defenseman Brad Cappellini, LSM John Duvnjak, middie Jeff Molinari and attackman Connor English. While we lose those players, they taught our current team certain skills and leadership qualities that will help us a lot this season. Some of those older guys pointed out to us that “Tradition Never Graduates”
How does your scrimmage schedule look and which ones are you looking forward to most?
We play our first scrimmage against Port Washington to start the season and that is a really good test. We then play against Rocky Point, Ward Melville, and Wantagh. All of these scrimmages provide great competition, but the opportunity to go against a storied program in Ward Melville is always fun.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?In Manhasset, our coaches are always taking extra time to help individuals regardless of what their role on the team is. As a result of this, we have players who are always getting better. This year in particular we have a strong group of sophomores and juniors who are ready to break out and follow the lead of a tremendous senior class. In addition, we have two new seniors in Chris Cook (attack) and Ryan Lawler (defense) who have been playing great.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
The strength of our team will be how we play as a team both offensively and defensively. The coaches implement team-oriented systems that involve communication, unselfishness, and unity. The togetherness of our team on offense and defense can be our biggest strength this season.