Yorktown and Smithtown West played one of the most entertaining games of the regular season last year as Smithtown West pulled out a 9-8 win at Charlie Murphy Field.
Yorktown’s Austin Fusco and Smithtown West’s Ryan Keenan, who are now two of the top sophomores in the nation, are likely to play prominent roles when the teams meet this season at Smithtown West.
Both players also decided where their college futures will be.
As we told you earlier this week, Fusco, a longstick midfielder/defenseman, committed to Syracuse
Keenan, an attackman, has given a verbal commitment to Penn State.
We’ve gotten Ryan’s reaction to his choice in a story posted yesterday.
Now, let’s check in with Austin to get his thoughts on selecting Syracuse.
What were the main factors in your decision?
The main factors were a good education, strong alumni base, great lacrosse and tradition.
I found myself liking a bigger school atmosphere and felt Syracuse could provide me with all of that. I felt that the coaches there would help me to become the best player I can be and I had a great connection with both (Head) Coach (John) Desko and (Assistant) Coach (Lelan) Rogers.
There was no pressure and I felt very at home there. I did an overnight (on an unofficial visit) and was able to spend time with JoJo Marasco and I met some of the guys from the team. The team has a very tight bond.
All of that made me realize Syracuse was the place for me.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I visited the University of North Carolina, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. I was seriously considering Johns Hopkins and Maryland. I narrowed it down to just Maryland and, of course, Syracuse.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I feel I am very athletic and can play at a fast pace. I am very good when the ball is on the ground and once the ball is in my stick, I look to either clear the ball or dump it off to an open man. In transition, I am an offensive threat and I help in aiding a lot of clears. I am a sound defensive player with good feet and good lacrosse IQ.
What areas of your game do you think you need to improve on?
I can always improve my game but a certain area that I work on is physical strength. I work hard on my stick skills and I have worked with (former Husker and current Marist College standout) Ethan Fox on body position defense which will help me become a more sound player.
Who have been some of the biggest influences on you during your development as a player?
A lot of people have helped me become the player I am today and continue to help me. My coaches (at Yorktown), Dave Marr and Sean Carney, have helped me improve on my game. They are awesome coaches to play for. They are the kind of people that have done all of this before and know exactly what to say and do.
Rob Doerr and Adam Lodewick have helped me with everything. Both of them have impacted my life and I know I can count on them for anything. They are just great to be around.
Paul Carcaterra is a person who I look up to and respect. He has helped me and my family greatly throughout the years.
My uncle, Brendan, has been a huge part of my life and he consistently helps me with building my strength.
Recent players in the past years from Yorktown such as Jake Thorp, Ethan Fox, Justin Mabus, Ty Schuldt, Eric Cooley, Gzim and Fitim Lajqi, Trevor Koelsch, Joey Raniolo, Nick Mariano, Tyler Fahey, and my brother, Frankie, to name a few, have all helped me with my game.
I would like to thank my mom and dad who always supported me through everything I do. My dad was the first person to introduce me to lacrosse. Being a High School All-American defenseman from Yorktown, he has always helped me when I had questions regarding my game or just there to give me some advice before or after I have had a tough game.
I want to thank my sister Rilea and grandparents who has always been at every game.
I look forward to the upcoming season to share the field for the last time with my brother Frankie who has worked with me for countless hours over the years. He has been one of my biggest supporters and we are always there for each other.
What travel team did you play on and what were some of the big showcase events you participated in last summer?
I played on the Yorktown Ballers over the summer. Also I went to Top 205, Bluechip and Showtime, which were all recruiting camps.
Have a recruiting commitment to report? Be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. You can check out the more than 100 stories by clicking here.
* 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.