The 2011 season promises to be one of the most interesting — and challenging — in the long and storied history of Manhasset’s boys lacrosse statement.
That’s a bold statement, to be sure. But consider this.
The Indians, who have won back-to-back Class C state titles, have moved up to Class B. So winning a Nassau County title — let alone another state crown — will be a monumental challenge for Manhasset.
That’s because 2010 Class B state finalist and Woodstick Classic rival Garden City, of course, resides in Class B. The Trojans are ranked No. 2 nationally in the preseason by both Inside Lacrosse and ESPN Rise.
It’s a big challenge to be sure.
But the Indians, with 13 college committed players, are up for taking it on.
One of those college-bound players is 6-foot-3 junior midfielder Ryan Matthews, who has committed to Johns Hopkins.
Matthews, who has been on varsity since his freshman year, not only has good size, but outstanding speed and stick skills. If you haven’t seen him in action, you can check out his highlight film by clicking here.
Now, here are Ryan’s perspectives on the season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Since I had ACL reconstruction surgery in June, I have had a strenuous offseason of physical therapy. I had to miss football and basketball, and spent most of my time in the weight room, but I feel much stronger this year.
After a few months of rehab, I spent time working on my stick skills, shooting, dodging and running with a brace. Just recently my doctor cleared me to start playing in some winter lacrosse games with the team. I feel stronger excited and ready to go.
How does your schedule look, including scrimmages, and what games are you looking forward to?
This year we’ve been moved into Class B and play a tough schedule. Being in Class B for the first time will be a new challenge for us. Garden City is now a league game and we could also meet them in the county final, too.
The Garden City game (the Woodstick Classic) is full of tradition and we always look forward to playing them. They have a bunch of good players and are well-coached. Our out-of-conference games are tough: Darien, John Jay, Chaminade and Cold Spring Harbor. We are also taking a spring trip playing Severna Park, Md., and Annapolis High School in Maryland , which should be a great experience for our team.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
This season we have a number of guys stepping up to replace the seniors from last year. In the midfield Joe Mancini, John Thomas, Jon Tompkins, Christian Zanetis, Kevin Katzman, Bill Davis and Alessandro Troia may surprise people this year. Defensively, John Maimonie-Medwick, Stefan Pate and David Cappellini could play major roles. But all of our players have improved during the off-season and I think any one of them has the potential to shock people.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
We have a strong group of talented players coming back. Our goalie, Frank Morelli, midfielder Harry Kucharczyk, long-stick middie Tom Gavin, close defenseman Bobby Duvnjak, attackmen Quinn Moroney and Matt Tompkins, should all be very strong.
I think that the transition game will be a key factor. We are fast and can get up and down the field quickly. If we finish, we will be very successful.
How do you view the race in Section 8 Class B and who do you think the contending teams will be?
Section 8 Class B is new for us and should be more competitive. Our schedule has changed a lot since last year, now we play much larger schools. Schools like Wantagh, Hewlett, and Lynbrook are traditionally very tough. Garden City won counties last year and is loaded with talent.
Manhasset 2011 schedule
3-30 at Bethpage
4-1 at Cold Spring Harbor
4-8 at Great Neck North
4-16 at John Jay
4-21 at Severna Park
4-23 vs. Annapolis
4-26 at Plainedge
4-30 GARDEN CITY
5-5 at Darien
5-13 at Sewanhaka
5-16 GLEN COVE