West Islip has dominated Section 11 Class A the last five years.
There are no two ways about it.
The Class A race in Suffolk is up for grabs.
There’s also Sachem North, which handed West Islip its only loss last season, as well as a stacked Ward Melville team, and other contenders like Connetquot and East Islip.
But if you’re looking for a sleeper team that could surprise everyone by winning a title, look no further than Smithtown West.
After all, the Bulls are coming off a 13-5 season in which they lost to West Islip, Ward Melville twice, Garden City and East Islip.
West has an impressive assemblage of major Division I talent: Duke-bound senior attackman Kyle Keenan, Cornell-bound senior defenseman Jordan Stevens, Army-bound senior Brendan Madarasz (defenseman) and Virginia-bound attackman James Pannell, who is one of the nation’s top-ranked juniors.
We got the perspectives of Keenan, the son of Bulls head coach Sean Keenan, when we launched our “Player’s perspectives” for this season a couple months back.
Now, let’s we’ll be getting the thoughts of Stevens, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound, left-handed defenseman who was a member of the Long Island team that won a fifth straight gold medal at the Empire State Games.
Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts in our poll question, “Who do you think should be the favorite to win the Section 11 Class A title?”
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.
Now, here are Jordan’s perspectives on the season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Preparing for this year was different than any other. I had shoulder surgery during the offseason after the Empire Games, so I had to go through physical therapy while training hard to get in shape. Along with that, our team worked together during the fall and winter in intramurals and an indoor box lacrosse league.
How does your schedule look, including scrimmages, and what games are you looking forward to?
This year we have a tough non-league schedule as well as the always strong Suffolk Class A schedule. Our non-league games include trips to Garden City and Yorktown which will both be challenging games. In our division, there is no easy game and any team can be beat but as always there are a few games we always look forward to. West Islip and Ward Melville are always intense games as well as our crosstown rival Smithtown East.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
We are confident in all of our guys this year. One player that will surprise people this year is Ryan Joseph, a senior midfielder. So far in practice, he’s been working hard and playing great. Evan Schlict is a senior defender who returns for us this year who will also step up. We have a lot of young talent as well, including Ryan Adler, Alex Dodge, Dylan Gruder and Logan Greco, among others.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Our strength this year will be our attack. We return three very good players at attack who have loads of talent and chemistry with each other. Kyle Keenan, James Pannell and Matt Schultz will be a huge part of our team this year. As a defense it makes us better everyday playing against them. Another strength this year will be our experience, we return many guys who have gotten quality minutes in big games which always pays off.
How do you view the race in Suffolk Class A and who do you think the contending teams will be?
Every year in Suffolk there are many teams that could win it all. Every game is a battle no matter who the opponent is. Anyone who has played in Suffolk will say it is one of the toughest conferences in the country, if not the toughest. Teams that are expected to do well this year are West Islip, Ward Melville and Sachem North but any team is capable of making a playoff run. We are confident this year that with some hard work we will end up successful and with a county championship.
Smithtown West 2011 schedule
3-26 at Garden City
4-6 EAST ISLIP
4-9 at Sachem East
4-12 WARD MELVILLE
4-14 BAY SHORE
4-18 at Half Hollow Hills West
4-23 at Yorktown
4-27 at Sachem North
4-29 WALT WHITMAN
5-4 at Lindenhurst
5-6 at West Islip
5-10 WEST BABYLON
5-12 at Connetquot
5-14 SMITHTOWN EAST
5-16 at Northport
* For schedules for high school 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 finalized schedules.