Ossining will be playing this season in a newly aligned league that is made up of eight teams from Northern Westchester and Putnam, including Hen Hud.
How does Ossining look as we get set for the official start of varsity practice?
We got the perspectives of junior defenseman Michael Zavarella, who is coming off a productive summer and fall playing for WestRock.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
I’ve been working out a lot, trying to get a little bit bigger for the season, and I’ve been running like crazy on the track team. The entire team was working as hard as they could to be as good as possible, and it really pushed me to work extra hard. All the hard work also paid off when our 4×200 relay team won gold at the league meet which was really cool.
Can you talk about some of the key players you lost from last year’s team and how you think you will be able to replace them?
Ryan Schuster was our biggest loss. He was a senior captain and made a huge difference playing close defense and LSM. Ryan Nestor was also a senior defense man that we’re going to miss, he’s a solid defenseman who was great at communicating. Those two working together really solidified the close defense and losing them along with Kennith Freitag almost all of our defense is gone. That means we’re going to have to start almost from scratch to rebuild it. As for replacing them, we have a bunch of defensemen coming up from the JV team. Although they are young they all have the potential to become solid defensmen.
I’m looking forward to playing Arlington the most. They have a new head coach (Don Connolly) and are a building program, but most of all my good friend from WestRock, Connor Lindsey, is one of their starting attackmen and playing against him is also a blast. He’s very fast, a great dodger and always keeps me on my toes.
Another game I’m looking forward to is Hackley. Another good friend of mine from WestRock is on the team, Mike D’Alessio. He’s a great goalie who makes some outstanding saves, and I’ve been playing with him for the past two years, I think it’s going to be fun having a chance to play against him and maybe try to find the cage once or twice with him in goal.
I think our entire starting attack line will surprise people: Donny Hooley, Jeff Belitz and Rob Dorgan. Donny and Jeff both played HV Express this summer and improved a lot. Donny is a great feeder, has a good shot, can finish up close, and has a mind for lacrosse. Jeff also has a great shot with his left, is a solid passer, and has improved a lot since last season. Rob is a really quick, nifty attackman from the left side. He is a great finisher and a very strong dodger and isn’t afraid to bang around in close to the goal, he is also the best off-ball attackman I’ve seen. He moves beautifully off the ball to get open. And of course there’s Jamie McCulloch. He’s already committed to F&M and is completely stress free this season. Every time Jamie steps on the field he seems to get better and better and I think that he’s going to do some big things this season.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think the team has potential to be very good. As I said before, the loss of our starting defense really hurts us and we’re going to have to start almost completely from scratch on the defensive end. But I think the defense will really come along well, I know the new guys coming in and they are all great guys and really easy to talk to and play alongside. Also our starting offense is very strong, and I believe they will be able to score a lot of goals this season, which will help to take some pressure off of the defense.
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Posted In: Player's perspective