Jake Weil and John Jay, who fell to Somers 14-9 in last year’s Class B sectional final, hope to pick up their second straight win against the Tuskers today at 6 p.m. at Somers’ Tusker Turf Field No. 1. (Photo by Jim Stout/MaxPreps.com)
In years past, sectional title contenders would have a regular-season showdown with the possibility of playing again in the postseason.
No more — at least in Class B.
And at least in the Hudson Valley.
With geographically based realigned leagues, last year’s Class B finalists — Somers and John Jay — will be meeting not once, but twice, during the regular season.
Round 1 was April 15 and John Jay pulled out a 9-7 win.
Tonight, is Round 2. Starting time is 6 p.m. at Somers.
It shapes up as a toss-up. So to get some idea of what could happen, I turned to a neutral observer.
After coach Vin DeGregorio’s Horace Greeley Quakers fell to Somers 14-7 last Thursday, I asked him, having coached against both the defending Class B sectional champion Tuskers and John Jay this year, what team he would give the edge to entering tonight’s showdown.
“Im definitely a middle of the road guy when it comes to that,” DeGregorio said. “Having played both of these teams, theyre both excellent teams. They both have their strengths.”
Since their first meeting, John Jay has solidified its preseason Top 25 national ranking, climbing to first the No. 7 spot, and now No. 13.
Somers, meanwhile, has had its share of ups and downs, beating Lakeland/Panas and leading Horace Greeley 13-3 after three quarters in a 14-7 win, but losing to Mahopac and Iona Prep.
Untimely defensive penalties (not that there are ever timely penalties, mind you), leading to crucial man-up goals, have plagued the Tuskers, including in their Round 1 loss to John Jay.
On paper, defense was a question mark for John Jay entering the season. But so far, those questions have been answered in a positive way. That, along with balanced scoring and lacrosse IQ (which I will get to in a minute) have been the keys to the Indians strong start.
Another key has been the experience the returning players gained last year. Weve talked a lot about the fact that John Jay had 12 sophomore on the team last year, with all of them except Mike Daniello being first-year varsity players.
That year of experience has been a big benefit now. They are mentally and physically tougher. Last year, I thought Somers had a big advantage in terms of athleticism and physicality and that was one of the main reasons it beat John Jay twice – 10-7 in the regular season and 14-9 in the sectional final.
That was not the case in Round 1 in Cross River. John Jay dished out as many hits as it received, and, most importantly, was only called for two penalties, none of which Somers capitalized on. John Jay, meanwhile, cashed in on three of its six EMOs. In a two-goal game, you could argue that was the difference.
I have always felt that teams that are disciplined enough to effectively thread the fine line of playing physically while not taking many penalties have a big advantage. Bottom line in highly contested games, good teams will pounce on man-up opportunities, so you just cant give them. But at the same time, you have to play physically and with intensity. It’s a fine line.
Can Somers reverse that trend in Round 2? Stay tuned.
In another intriguing battle, Roy Colsey, a former Yorktown star who went on to become a four-time all-American at Syracuse University, returns to Charlie Murphy Field as head coach of the defending champion Ridgefield Tigers.
Colsey has coached against his alma mater before (as Horace Greeley head coach). But tonight’s 7 p.m. matchup is especially appealing since Ridgefield has won eight straight since starting the season with an overtime loss at Staples.
In other Hudson Valley games today, Albertus Magnus plays at Horace Mann, Pleasantville visits Briarcliff, Brewster hosts Tappan Zee, Haldane visits Croton, Peekskill is at Ossining, Pearl River hosts Westlake, Putnam Valley is at John F. Kennedy Catholic and Fox Lane visits Suffern in 4:30 p.m. games. At 5 p.m., Clarkstown North hosts Harrison and Byram Hills visits Rye.
In Nassau, unbeaten Manhasset hosts Floral Park, Friends Academy visits Island Trees, Mineola is at Clark,e, Syosset hosts Valley Stream Central, Baldwin plays at Plainview JFK, East Meadow hosts Herricks and Bethpage plays at Wheatley at 4:30 p.m. Port Washington hosts Oceanside at 5 p.m. and Locust Valley visits North Shore at 4:45 p.m.
Shoreham-Wading River, which is off to an 8-3 start but coming off consecutive losses to Sayville and Farmingdale, plays at unbeaten Comsewogue (11-0) at 7 p.m.. Rocky Point (8-3), which advanced to the state finals in 2008, plays at Sayville at 4 p.m. Also at 4 p.m., Half Hollow Hills West visits Elwood/John Glenn and Harborfields hosts Huntington. At 4:30 p.m., Bayport-Blue Point visits John Glenn and Southampton is at Bellport. At 5:30 p.m., Mount Sinai hosts Babylon.
In Connecticut action, unbeaten Staples, fresh off a big 10-5 win over previously undefeated Weston, plays at Bridgeport Central at 4 p.m. Wilton hosts Norwalk at 4:30 p.m. , Fairfield Prep visits Branfield and Cheshire is at Guilford at 7 p.m.
Be sure to post your thoughts and predictions on these matchups, and while you’re at your game or games today, be sure to check in here with info on the scores and game details early and often.
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Posted In: Scoreboard Central