For the last five years, the West Islip Lions have been the dominant force in Suffolk County lacrosse.
But next season, the Lions will be minus two of the top 10 graduating seniors in the nation in Nicky Galasso and Andrew Hodgson.
So how will Suffolk look next season. Yes, it’s early, but that hasn’t stopped Chris Kieser from taking a look.
Listed below are the 12 Suffolk teams Chris projects to make the playoffs.
Please note: statistics are regular season only
1. West Islip
A lot of talent gone, but still have some very good players and I learned my lesson picking against them last season.
What they lose: The Lions lose two of Inside Lacrosses top ten seniors in attackman Nicky Galasso (46 G 49 A, North Carolina) and midfielder Andrew Hodgson (33 G 34 A, Towson). These two players accounted for 37.98% of the teams total scoring production as well as approximately 60% of their total assists. Also gone is athletic midfielder Rob Moore (21 G 6 A, Jacksonville) and attackmen Matt Gebhardt (19 G 12 A, Quinnipiac) and Conor Tenety (5 G 2 A, college?), meaning the Lions will be replacing about 59% of their scoring overall from an offense which was #1 in the division with 14.19 goals per game. The defense loses two seniors, Eddie Ryan (Ithaca) and Kyle Kerrigan (Geneseo) from a unit that allowed the second fewest goals in the league at 5.88 per game.
What returns: West Islip will still have some talented players returning on the offensive side, led by rising senior attackman Drew Federico (27 G 11 A, committed to Penn State) and his classmates midfielders Mike Sagl (22 G 4 A, committed to Quinnipiac) and Connor Braddish (13 G 14 A, committed to Colgate). Braddish should handle much of the face-off duties in 2011, while Federico must grow into being the focal point of the Lions attack unit. The defense should be a strength of the team, as WI returns rising senior Kyle Carrick at close defense and rising junior LSM Anthony Santo along with improving rising senior goalie Kyle Turri. Overall, while the offense cannot possibly be as dynamic as the 2010 version, it will still be among the top units in the league. Braddish must mature into a consistent first line midfielder and offensive threat, while Sagl will be counted on for more and given more attention by opposing defenses with the graduation of his two midfield mates. WI also had one of the top JV teams in the league, and quite a bit of depth on the varsity team that did not get an opportunity to play in 2010, so this should help to replenish the midfield corps.
2. Smithtown West
Came on strong after mid-season struggles, returns the best attack in the league and a good defense
What they lose: On offense, the Bulls must replace their top scoring midfielder, Brett Madarasz (36 G 7 A, Manhattan) who was their most athletic player on that side of the field and best outside shooter. Also gone are two midfielders who took faceoffs at times during the season in Pat Shannon (2 G, Air Force) and Craig Matturo (3 G 3 A, Carnegie Mellon), so they will have to find a replacement in this area to gain more possession for what is sure to be a talented offense in 2011. Smithtown West also loses their fourth attackman, John Lambrecht (11 G 2 A). On the defensive side, they lose two Adelphi-bound poles, Wayne Marx and Vinny Alestra, from a unit which allowed opponents to score 8 goals per game, seventh in the league. Starting goalie for a majority of the games, Dominic Gianino, is also gone.
What returns: This should be the best attack unit in Suffolk next season, with all three players returning for their third consecutive season of starting together. Rising senior Kyle Keenan (33 G 54 A, committed to Duke) is the best playmaker of the three, while rising junior James Pannell (35 G 34 A) is almost an equally adept passer and finisher, and is used to inverting and dodging from up top as a midfielder. Crease-man Matt Schultz (26 G 10 A), a rising junior, is also a dangerous finisher and rounds off this elite unit. Wests attack trio scored nearly 54% of the teams goals last season as underclassmen. The top midfielder returning is Mike Perettine (13 G 2 A, committed to Army), who will need to be supplemented by some incoming talent if that unit is to remain as much of a goal producer as it was in 2010. There is no question that West will be an attack-based offense, but it will still need a solid first line midfield to emerge. All in all, they return just over 60% of their total offense from last season. On defense, they return two very solid players including rising senior Jordan Stevens (committed to Cornell), who is likely to be one of the best close defenders in the league next season. Also, LSM Brendan Madarasz had a very good 2010 season and the rising senior should improve on that even more in 2011. The other two poles remain a question mark, but West has the foundations of a solid defense for next season. Goaltending was a big question mark for this squad last year, and they will need rising junior Ryan Adler, who started a few games in the middle of the season, to step up big time in 2011 to anchor the defensive unit.
A lot of losses on both sides of the field, but a lot of young talent coming up as well. There won’t be as big of a gap between them and the top as in 2010, that’s for sure
What they lose: The Patriots 2010 senior class was one of the strongest in Suffolk, and as such they must deal with the effects of heavy graduation. Top goal-scoring attackman Kevin McElhone (32 G 5 A, Dowling) is gone along with three of the top four midfielders. Replacing Jimmy Ryan (14 G 15 A, Colgate), one of the best two-way midfielders on Long Island, will be especially difficult and compounded by the losses of Nick Giampaulo (23 G 9 A, Bryant) and Al Destefano (14 G 9 A, Army). McElhone and Giampaulo alone accounted for 28.95% of the teams goals, and when the losses of other seniors are accounted for, including secondary scorers attackmen Greg Smith (5 G 2 A, Siena) and Rich Hurley (6 G 7 A, Manhattan), the Patriots will lose about half of their goal scoring from 2010 off of an offense which was the fourth most productive in the league, scoring 11.875 goals per game. On the defensive side, they must replace one of the better defenders in Suffolk in Matt Kunkel (Duke), who took on many of the top attackmen in the county over the past two seasons. They also will graduate another Division I pole in Brian Slevin (Vermont) from their extremely stingy 2010 defense which allowed just 5.5 goals per game, tops in the division.
What returns: The cupboard is never bare at Ward Melville, where the Three Village Lacrosse youth program continues to supply the high school with quality players year after year. IL top 50 rising senior Will Mazzone (15 G 16 A, committed to Army) and rising junior John Edmonds (18 G 15 A) will lead the Patriots attack unit in 2011. The attack should be one of the teams strengths, as we can expect one of the younger players to step in to the third attack spot as the season goes on. In the midfield, the Patriots wont be nearly as deep as they were in 2010 but they will have a solid senior leader in Sean Cleary (12 G 11 A, committed to UMass). Rising senior Tyler Hegarty (8 G 2 A, committed to Penn State) will also have to grow into a larger role as part of the first midfield unit. Because coach Hoppey plays so many players during the season, there are always capable replacements especially in the midfield, but it is doubtful that the 2011 edition will be as productive as they were in 2010. Despite losing Kunkel and Slevin, Ward Melvilles defense will still be solid in 2011 with the return of Zach Zanone and rising senior goalie Brian Droesch, who was tested quite a bit against good competition during the suspensions. Again, look for some new faces to step in as they always have for this storied program, which had their JV team defeat both Chaminade and St. Anthonys in 2010.
4. Walt Whitman
Disappointing season in 2010 by some standards, but they are loaded in 2011 and anything less than a semifinal appearance would be a letdown
What they lose: On offense- not much. Midfielder Greg Harris (18 G 18 A, Geneseo) will be missed, but the Cats appear to have more than enough offensive pieces returning to overcome that loss. Whitman averaged 10.875 goals per game in 2010, sixth in the league, and Harris is the only double-digit goal scorer that graduates. Defense, however, was more of an issue in 2010 and must be addressed if the Wildcats are going to realize their enormous potential next season. They allowed over 10 goals per game last year, by far the most of any of the quarterfinalists and second worst among all playoff teams. From that unit, Whitman loses Dan Remstein (Marist) and goalie Matt Gierl (?). Both are replaceable, but the replacements will have to play at a high level to improve Whitmans defense to a point where they will be competitive against the top teams more consistently. Still, this is a team that loses only three starters from last year and did defeat Ward Melville in the regular season, so the potential is there.
What returns: An offense that should be able to score on everyone if they learn to share the ball better and cut down on unforced turnovers. Leading goal scorer Kevin Teretsky (44 G 11 A), one of the top uncommitted players left in the rising senior class on LI, saw his play tail off a bit towards the end of last year but is nevertheless a top returning attackman in the division. Leading the midfield will be Myles Jones (33 G 40 A, committed to Duke), who had sort of a breakout year in 2010 but is still only scratching the surface of his potential. Sniper Matt Finn (31 G 6 A) is another uncommitted rising senior who has division 1 potential, and rising junior Evan Zakow (30 G 16 A) will look to follow up his excellent sophomore season with a better one. This is the only team in the division that returns four 30 goal scorers and that should make them extremely dangerous next season, as a whopping 84% of their offense is coming back in 2011. The entire close defense will be seniors next year, with rising senior PJ White leading the pack and receiving some D1 interest, so that unit does have the potential for improvement. If this team can put it together, watch out, as they are talented enough to beat nearly anyone and will be looking to make up for their disappointing season in 2010.
5. East Islip
Lots of firepower on offense, but can they tighten up the suspect defense
What they lose: The biggest loss for the Redmen is clearly attackman Mike Rooney (48 G 39 A, Stony Brook), one of the top goal scorers and playmakers in the county who will be extremely difficult to replace. He simply made everyone else better on the field and was one of the major reasons EI had the second-highest scoring offense in the league at a little over 13 goals per game. Another big loss is one of the better FOGOs in Suffolk, Bobby Hutchinson (8 G 5 A, St. Leo), who allowed EI to hide their weakness on defense for most of the season by giving them a huge advantage with extra possessions. They will also lose their fifth leading scorer, midfielder Anthony Pafundi (18 G 8 A, Plattsburgh), and fourth attackman John Gluekert (7 G 2 A, ?), meaning that they combine to lose about 39% of their goal scoring from 2010. On defense, the Redmen were not very good in 2010 but lose just one close defender, Corey Lecce (?), from the past years squad. The weak point of the squad last season, the defense allowed opposing teams to score just over 8.8 goals per game.
What returns: What the Redmen return is a lot of offensive firepower, even without the graduating Rooney. Two 30-goal scorers lead the offense, rising senior midfielder Kevin Wendel (34 G 13 A, committed to Navy), and rising senior attackman Tyler Begley (33 G 27 A, committed to Hofstra). Wendel is an athletic midfielder, dangerous in transition with a hard outside shot, while Begley will take over the spot as top playmaker that Rooney vacates, though he can also run some midfield. Other weapons include rising senior midfielder Chris Joyce (17 G 6 A, committed to Drexel) and rising junior midfielder Tyler Rigo (19 G 13 A) along with another Hutchinson, Bobbys brother rising senior Kevin (17 G 25 A). Needless to say, the Redmen should score enough goals to win once again in 2011, returning over 60% of their offense. The question mark once again will be the defense. If it can mature in time for the season next year, watch out, these guys can win it all. If it remains the way it has been, its going to be tough for the Redmen to compete with the top of this league by simply having to outscore teams every game.
6. Sachem North
One of the best players in the league leads a solid offense. Will have to retool on defense, however
What they lose: The Arrows will have to deal with the loss of their top two scoring true attackmen in Phil Schaefer (24 G 20 A, Hartwick) and Cody Ciolino (14 G 13 A, Hartwick) from an offense which was seventh in the league in 2010 with 10.75 goals per game. Schaefer scored the game winning goal against West Islip in the season opening stunner and was the main compliment to Michael Andreassi on offense. The defense will be in for quite a transition period, losing not only their best overall defender in Evan Bloom (Dartmouth), but the rest of the starters on the close defense as well as their starting goalie Teddy Matos (college?) from what was the fifth best unit in the league, allowing less than 7.5 goals per game. North is going to need to find a few suitable replacements or what could be one of the top offenses in the league could go wasted next season.
What returns: One of the top rising seniors in Suffolk, Michael Andreassi (37 G 16 A, committed to Massachusetts) returns to lead what could be a very potent Flaming Arrow offense next season. Andreassi is a better than average faceoff man and can play both midfield and attack. The Arrows bring back about 63% of their total offense, including a very good midfield core in rising senior Jake Cabble (18 G 7 A), rising junior Cody Petillo (16 G 10 A), and rising junior Jack Gannon (12 G 9 A) which could enable Andreassi and rising senior Tim Lang (20 G 14 A) to run mostly attack with the exception of Andreassi facing off. Overall, the offense will have five players returning who were at least somewhat productive last season and should expect some help from up and comers as well as its solid JV squad. Where they will really need help, however, is on the defensive end, where only LSM Alex Harris, a rising senior who scored six goals last season, returns. Some new faces will have to step up on this end to give the Arrows a good enough defense to compete against some of the leagues top offenses. They could be involved in a lot of shootouts next season.
7. Smithtown East
Always seem to have enough players to compete despite graduation losses. Freshour will be one of the toughest losses to overcome for anyone
What they lose: Seventy-point scorer at attack Adam Hull (39 G 31 A, Dartmouth) will be difficult to replace for an offense that was just ninth in the division, scoring just over 9.8 goals per game in the regular season. Top midfield threat Kevin Dondero (23 G 14 A, Marist) also departs from the Bulls on this side of the field, along with midfielder Sean Dwyer (10 G, Cortland). However significant the losses on the offensive end are for Smithtown East, which has certainly struggled to score in recent seasons, the defensive losses will make it difficult for them to contend for a league championship next season. The loss of Tom Freshour (Cornell), arguably the team MVP and a top three defenseman in the league, who was a groundball machine and a dangerous pole in transition, will be extremely difficult to overcome. To make matters worse, two other defensive starters are also gone in Michael Kenney (Manhattan) and Joe Weller (CW Post), as well as a goalie in Brian Martin (college?) who started more than half of their games including all of them down the stretch. The Bulls defense was a strength of the team, averaging under 8 goals allowed per game, and it must be completely revamped in 2011.
What returns: Ryan Desimone (29 G 17 A, committed to Villanova), an IL top 50 rising senior, returns to lead the Bulls offense in 2011 along with rising senior attackman Garry Watson (20 G 4 A), giving East a solid attack unit which should be comparable to some of the top tier teams in the league. They may lack some depth in the midfield however, as rising senior Cole Anderson (10 G 9 A) is the leading scorer returning on that unit. Rising sophomore Jimmy Tenbrink (9 G) had a solid freshman season and could be an up and coming player for the Bulls in the midfield. To compete with some of the top teams, however, the Bulls will need some new players to step in both here and on defense, where they dont have any returnees who got significant playing time. While the coaching staff at East always manages to turn out a decent defense, 2011 could be quite a challenge.
A young team in 2010, it must take the next step with most of its top players returning. Should be another playoff season, but will it be a quarterfinal season?
What they lose: The Tigers squeaked into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year in 2010 and lose two key players from the offense, midfielder Mike Strebel (17 G 6 A, Manhattan) and attackman Brian Finnegan (17 G 1 A, Hartwick). They were two of five players who scored between 15 and 17 goals for Northport last season, and though they will be missed the Tigers appear to be able to replace them while continuing a similar or slightly better level of production from last season, when the offense was a very mediocre 15th in the league, scoring 8.4 goals per game. On defense, the only loss is Pat Jacobitti, who was the Tigers best pole and will be hard to replace for a defense which was very pedestrian, averaging nearly 11 goals against per game. This will be a key area for Northport in 2011
What returns: Northports offense will basically be in tact next season, as they will be able to plug rising sophomore Sean Gilroy (16 G 5 A) in at the third attack spot alongside rising seniors Matt Carroll (17 G 9 A) and Matt Sarcona (18 G 6 A) for what should be a solid attack unit. In the midfield, rising sophomore John Trainor (10 G 3 A) will need a breakout year for a unit that wont have too much depth, but could get some help from the Tigers JV squad, which was second best in the division last season, as well as a few very talented rising freshmen. Faceoff man Donovan Devaney, a rising senior, is one of the best in the league. On defense, three of four players return in front of two-time all-county goalie Tom Cordts, now a rising senior. If Northport tightens up its defense, it has a chance to land a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
Just not sure how they are going to recover after losing two guys who created nearly all of their offense. Could surprise, however, as they return the best pole and best goalie in the league
What they lose: Like West Islip, the Thunderbirds must deal with the loss of two big-time scorers. For Connetquot, however, those two players accounted for a whopping 50.78% of their scoring production in 2010, by far the most of any tandem in the county. Attackman Kieran McArdle (53 G 48 A, St. Johns), who led Long Island in points, is gone along with fellow attackman Matt McQuade (45 G 29 A, Limestone). The duo led the third highest scoring offense in the league at 12.06 goals per game and ran nearly all (16 G 8 A, NYIT) and Mike Ponzio (8 G 8 A, Limestone), as well as one of the top face-off specialists in the county in Brandon Bertone. On the defensive side, Connetquot loses only close defender Ryan Lanigan (?) from a unit which allowed the fourth fewest goals in the division at just under 7.2 per game.
What returns: On the offensive side, Connetquot is going to have to find someone to replace their two dynamic scorers. Their top returning attackman is Craig Kiernan (30 G 10 A), a rising senior who will have to adapt to life as the top attackman in the lineup for the Thunderbirds. Many of his goals in 2010 were set up by either McArdle or McQuade, which will make his job much more difficult in 2011. Other offensive contributors next season will be rising seniors John Zullo (12 G 1 A), Steve Compitello (8 G), and Nick Mawn (8 G 4 A). All four of these 2011 seniors must step into increased roles if Connetquots offense is to approach its 2010 levels. On defense, however, the TBirds should be extremely good. They have two standout rising seniors returning on this side of the field, starting with LSM/D Mike Pellegrino (committed to Johns Hopkins), a great all around defender who can cover midfielders and attackmen, is great on the wings of faceoffs and even taking faceoffs when necessary, and one of the top groundball specialists in the county. Zach Oliveri (committed to Massachusetts) is perhaps the top returning goalie in the league and will anchor a defense that returns the rest of its core, including rising seniors Nike Struble and Kevin Jadick. This senior laden unit is sure to be among the best defenses in Suffolk next season.
10. Bay Shore
Super young offense should mature in 2011, but how much? Enough to make the playoffs again, this time with room to spare
What they lose: One of the youngest teams in the league in 2010, the Marauders dont lose too much to graduation and should easily make the playoffs next season. In fact, the only double digit goal scorer that Bay Shore loses is Kyle Gordon (14 G 10 A, college?), only its fourth leading scorer from an offense that was admittedly pedestrian in 2010, scoring just under 8.2 goals per game, good for 17th in the league. On defense, they dont seem to lose too much from the unit which was 12th in the division averaging 9.125 goals allowed per game, though I dont have that much information about that unit.
What returns: On offense, this could be a dangerous team next season with the return of five of the teams top six scorers. Rising junior Griffin Rock (35 G 5 A) is a solid finisher and teams up with rising senior Max Sheets (27 G 7 A) to form a very good attack duo. In the midfield, rising senior Brandon Gaine (20 G 9 A, committed to Navy) teams up with the teams leading assist man, classmate Kevin Cox (13 G 24 A). Another double digit scorer in Lucas Rock (11 G 14 A) supplements the offense, which should be in the top ten at least next season. Watch out for rising freshman Jake Sheets (4 G 4 A) who played in most games as an eighth grader last season. Bay Shore returns to their defense at least one solid pole in Charlie Gargano and a very good goalie, rising senior Jon Flood.
11. Half Hollow Hills East
Senior laden team should recover from near miss at playoffs and get in this season, though Meyer is a huge loss
What they lose: The biggest loss for the Thunderbirds is without a doubt Maxx Meyer (Penn), who was the teams best defender and also a threat to score at LSM any time he got the ball, as evidenced by his 14 goals and 7 assists, the most points by a long pole in the league. On offense, they lose two double digit scorers in Shane Feldman (13 G 6 A, college?) and Paul Tesoriero (11 G 1 A, college?) from a very balanced offense in 2010 that was a mediocre 13th in the division with an average of 8.5 goals scored per game. In addition to Meyer, the TBirds also lose Dakota Smith (college?) off of a unit which allowed the third fewest goals in the league at just over 7 per game, behind just Ward Melville and West Islip. Though their easier schedule certainly contributed to this stat, this was also a very good unit that should take a step back in 2011.
What returns: The offense, however, should take a step forward next year with the teams top four scorers all coming back as seniors. Top point getter Rob Merckling (23 G 12 A) can run either attack or midfield, while double digit scorers Chris Stupore (13 G 10 A) and Sam Birnbaum (17 G 4 A) will make for a solid attack unit. Midfielder Matt Garziono (15 G 14 A) will be the teams best true middie and could team with Merckling to make a very good first midfield line. Luke Birnbaum (10 G 14 A), yet another rising senior, could fill in the final attack spot. Though the defense overall will suffer next year, the TBirds do bring back rising senior goalie Gary Engelthaler to lead the new unit. Overall, this will be one of the most experienced teams in the league next year.
12. William Floyd
Lose their two senior leaders, can Miller lead them back to the playoffs? Has become a very consistent program.
What they lose: The Colonials program has evolved into a very good one in the last decade and has consistently made the playoffs despite losing very good players. They did it after Andrew Miller graduated and again after Steve Murphy, but now they will have to recover from the loss of two senior leaders in attackman Ryan Payton (44 G 9 A, Manhattan) and midfielder Andrew Incantalupo (31 G 14 A, NYIT), who accounted for 44% of Floyds scoring this season. They also must cope with the loss of their faceoff man Nicky Sidaras (1 G 6 A, NYIT) and another double digit scorer Kyle Zahradka (14 G 5 A), which should leave their offense in a much worse state in 2011 than this year. On defense, they graduate their best pole in Marc Williams (Methodist), and I dont know that much about the rest of the unit, which was a pedestrian 13th in the league allowing about 9.3 goals per game.
What returns: The key to their offense will be sixth year varsity player Luke Miller (21 G 24 A), who arrived on the scene as a seventh grader in 2006 a year after his brother graduated and moved on to Hopkins. He will be counted on for even more production in 2011 as the focal point of their offense. As for the rest of their offense, they return DJ Allen (24 G 14 A) as the only other double digit scorer from this past season. It is safe to say that both units will need to step up due to these large personnel losses if Floyd is to make the playoffs again, but the Colonials have been able to do it in the past.
Best by position
1. Smithtown West
2. Ward Melville
1. West Islip
2. East Islip
1. West Islip
3. Ward Melville
2. West Islip
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