Much of the preseason buzz surrounding the 2011 season centered on the fact that longtime Woodstick Classic rivals Manhasset and Garden City would be competed in the same class – B.

That meant that either Manhasset or Garden City would not get out of Nassau County in the postseason – let alone make it to the state finals.

Manhasset entered last season having won two straight state titles in Class C. Garden City had advanced to the 2010 state final.

The Trojans made it two state title-game appearances in a row as they beat Manhasset not only in the Woodstick Classic (by a score of 10-6), but in the Section 8 title game (in dramatic fashion, 6-5, for GC’s sixth straight Nassau County crown).

Though GC completed the sweep of its archrival, it wound up falling to another nemesis, Jamesville-DeWitt, losing to the Red Rams 8-7 in overtime in the state title game.

Now, we’re getting ready for 2012.

So while Job 1 for the Trojans will be to once again make it out of Nassau, JD has to be in the back of their minds, too.

But for Garden City, there is never any shortage of high-powered opponents.

That’s among the topics we discuss with one of the Trojans’ top returning players, Justin Guterding.

Guterding, a 6-foot, 175-pound left-handed feeding attackman, became the first Trojan rising junior to commit back in July when he gave a verbal commitment to Duke after also considering Penn, Notre Dame, Harvard, Princeton and North Carolina.

Now, here’s Justin’s perspective on the 2012 season:

What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
What we do as a team, I think, is very important to our success and Coach (Steve) Finnell does a great job keeping the team together.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday we have a running and lifting program at a great facility which we all love, and then Tuesday and Thursday we have something we call “box lax” and we basically just do some drills and scrimmage.

It’s all about what you do extra on your own that will make you better than the next guy.

I enjoy just going out to the turf and working on my off-hand and doing extra running.

How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Our schedule this coming season looks pretty challenging, but that’s what makes us better and no one likes blowout games.

There are going to be some electric games this year but one that we always look forward to is when we play St. Paul’s, which is one of the best teams in Maryland. We always have some crazy games against them.

Of course, everybody in Long Island who plays lacrosse has heard of the Woodstick Classic. That game used to not really mean anything big except bragging rights, but now that the (Manhasset) Indians have moved to our division and we’re competing for first place, it makes the game that much more exciting. We scrimmage St. Anthony’s, Delbarton and Bridgewater-Raritan from New Jersey.

What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I think Eugene Berkery has been underrated by some people and I guarantee you he will lead the defense this year. This kid may not be the “beast, takeaway defenseman” but he plays such good position (defense), it’s tough to get around him.

Another defenseman that people will be asking, “Who’s that kid?” is Elias Georgas. His nickname is “The Duster,” but hopefully he proves people wrong this year with a great season.

A fellow attackman, Liam Kennedy, will not really shock or surprise people, but I kind of feel that he has been overlooked and he will do some stellar things this year and I am looking forward to playing with him.

What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
No doubt our offense will be fun to watch this year if we play with a fast pace.

We have a great transition game all starting with our goalie Dan Marino with his crazy outlet passes.

The offense will be run with Devin Dwyer, who sees the field like no other but it will be fun to see what he can do off ball if I carry the ball as well and I’m the one feeding him. We won’t have to rely on our defense to sometimes keep us in the game because we should be one of the top scoring teams in the country this spring.

How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
Although we have won six Nassau County championships in a row, Manhasset and Wantagh will be great contenders as we face them both during the regular season and should be fun to see how some other underdog teams shock Nassau County.

Everyone loves good competition and all of us can’t wait to be back on the field.

* For more info on Justin, check out his player profile by clicking here.

Follow Joe Lombardi on Twitter @joe_lombardi or by clicking here. Follow LaxLessons @LaxLessons or by clicking here.


Player’s perspective archive

* If you’re a player from the region and would like to share your perspectives on the 2012 season, send an email to You can check out the more than 90 stories by clicking here.

Schedules scanner

* For a look at how schedules for teams from throughout the region for the 2012 season are shaping up, be sure to check out the “Schedules galore” thread.

Recruiting coverage

* Updated recruiting review and commitment rundown (for classes of 2012, ’13 and ’14)

* 2011 NLI Fall Early Signing Period commitment rundown

* Class of 2011 commitment rundown

* Recruit profile archive

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Posted In: Player's perspective, Section 8

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