“It gets late early out there.”
When major-league baseball Hall-of-Famer used that phrase, he was describing the conditions for left fielders in Yankee Stadium, faced with having to contend with the setting sun.
But the same thing can be said about the 2011 varsity season in the nation’s No. 1 hotbed for boys lax, the Hudson Valley/Long Island/Connecticut region.
I mean, just look at all the big matchups on or before April 9. Among them:
* Smithtown West at Garden City (March 26)
* Syosset at Sachem North (April 1)
* Manhasset at Cold Spring Harbor (April 1)
* Ward Melville vs. Garden City at Stony Brook (April 2)
* Mahopac at East Islip (April 2)
* Yorktown at John Jay (April 2)
* New Canaan at Somers (April 9)
* Suffern at Lakeland/Panas (April 9)
* Darien at Greenwich (April 9)
Which one of those games are you looking forward to the most? Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts, and don’t forget to make your voice heard in our latest poll question. (On the right panel of this page, just scroll past the “New Comments” and “Popular” tabs and click on “Poll,” and then cast your vote from the choices available, or write in your choice if it’s not listed.)
We know what Mike Daniello’s answer is to that question.
For the second straight year, the attackman’s John Jay team will meet Yorktown in the opening week of the season.
Daniello, who is the eighth-ranked senior in the nation by Inside Lacrosse, hopes to lead the Indians to their second straight early season triumph against the Huskers.
A quick note on the game. Since 2006, proceeds from the game have benefited a worthy charity. This year, the game will be a fundraiser for a local ALS group. There is a committee working together that is made of up both Yorktown and John Jay people in hopes of making it a special event.
The John Jay-Yorktown rivalry reached its peak in 2006 when the Indians became what is believed to be the first team to ever win at Yorktown twice in the same season. The second win, a dramatic overtime victory in the sectional final, snapped a string of eight straight sectional championships by the Huskers and marked just the second time Yorktown has not won a sectional title since 1979. (Yorktown’s loss to Lakeland/Panas in the Class A final last spring was the third sectional-final loss for the Huskers during that span.)
Daniello, an attackman and top-rated senior recruit in the nation, will, of course, be taking his talents to Johns Hopkins University.
But before that, he has plenty of big games — and even a couple of big scrimmages (including the much anticipated preseason contest against six-time Class M Connecticut state champ Darien) at John Jay.
So now, here’s Mike’s perspective on the 2011 season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
I’ve been hitting the weight room everyday focusing on building my strength, speed and flexibility. A wise man once told me that 20 minutes of wall ball a day keeps the unforced turnovers away, so I try to keep my stick in my hands as much as possible.
My brother and I joined an adult soccer league and we play once a week. It helps keep me in shape and work on my footwork even though some of the guys I play against are twice my age. I’ve also been playing a lot of basketball with some of my teammates.
As a team, we have practice once a week in the high school gym. We practice hard and get after each other. It’s great because it helps us build a chemistry with some new faces and get the younger guys introduced to the varsity speed.
How does your schedule look, including scrimmages, and what games are you looking forward to?
This year we’ll be scrimmaging Delbarton and Darien. Our strength of schedule is always what we pride ourselves in. This season,we play some great programs and were all real excited about it.
We have a bunch of new additions to the schedule such as San Ramon Valley from California, New Canaan, Massapequa and Iona Prep. We’re glad we get to play these respected teams and get better from the experience. The rest of our out-of-league games are always great games playing teams like Ridgefield, Manhasset, Rye and Greeley. The leagues games I am most looking forward to are Yorktown, Somers and Lakeland/Panas. The one out-of-league game I’m most excited for is Manhasset at home.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Jack Lambert and Tom Beck will be stepping into bigger rolls this year after being freshmen last year. They don’t play like underclassmen and will definitely turn some heads this year.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Our chemistry. Our senior class has been playing together since the third grade and we are all great friends. Our comfort on the field with each other definitely gives us an advantage. The team this year is like a family. We have common goals and are focused on making sure that we achieve them.
How do you view the race in Section 1 Class B and who do you think the contending teams will be?
Section 1 Class B will be very competitive this year, with teams like Yorktown, Somer, and Rye in our class and it will be a great fight for the sectional championship in May.
John Jay 2011 tentative schedule
3-26 @ Delbarton
4-5 Rye location TBA
4-9 San Ramon Valley @ Garden City
4-14 @ Brewster
4-23 @ New Canaan (Not finalized)
4-26 @ Lakeland/Panas
4-28 Greeley location TBA
4-30 @ Ridgefield
5-5 PUTNAM VALLEY
5-7 @ Massapequa
5-10 @ Hen Hud
5-12 @ Somers
5-14 IONA PREP
* For schedules for teams from throughout the region, be sure to check out the “Schedules galore” thread, and scroll down to the comments portion for the most recently released schedules.
John Jay-Yorktown results since 2005
John Jay, 8-7
John Jay, 12-6
John Jay, 11-7
John Jay, 10-9 (OT), Class B sectional final
Yorktown, 10-9 (OT)
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