In New York’s Section 1 (Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Dutchess counties), defending champions Yorktown (Class B) and Bronxville (Class C) are favorites to repeat.
But in Class A, there figures to be a heated race between last year’s titlist, Mahopac, 2010 champion Lakeland/Panas, and perennial contender Suffern — with other teams such as Mamaroneck and Arlington likely to be in the mix as well.
So get ready for what should be a wild ride.
To learn more about Lakeland/Panas, we turn to Tony Laguerre.
Laguerre, a senior midfielder, is a strong player in transition who has good stick skills and a competitive streak that makes him a tough matchup for opposing teams. He will be playing his college lax at Springfield College.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
So far this year, we’ve been lifting as a team during the week, and playing outside when the weather allows it. We’re doing a lot of teaching for the younger guys and playing in the gym as much as possible. We all know the work we put in here is what really keeps you going when the spring hits.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
This year’s schedule looks competitive again which is just what we need to succeed within our section. I always have to look forward to the (Charlie) Murphy Cup (against Yorktown), and games with the area’s best like John Jay and Somers.
In-Class A, annual matchups with Mahopac and Suffern are major, and aee a good glimpse into who we could see in the postseason.
As far as out-of-section competition, we are excited to play Greenwich and Shen (Shenendehowa) again to help prepare us for postseason competition.
For us seniors, we know we won’t get a second chance at almost all of these teams and that gives us all the more incentive to play every game hard.
We have a few scrimmages scheduled for the preseason but we are looking forward to attending?
The Red/Gray Scrimmages at Somers (on Saturday, March 24). It’s a great tune-up for the year, and gives us a chance to play against great competition.
What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
We have a bunch of guys on the team who have been waiting to have an impact. Defensively, senior poles Mike Kaplan and Ben Hylka are going to be huge again for us this year. On offense, junior attackman Ryan Bonifati will be a force for us and Brian Prunty will have an even bigger presence this year. Mikey Zingaro between the pipes will be even better as a sophomore, and a handful of other senior middies and attackmen will be sure to make their mark in games.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Our strength on both sides of the ball will be our team chemistry and gritty play. Growing up with this group of players has really helped us on the field and us seniors can’t wait to go out on a high note. Guys of all ages are willing to do the dirty work that wins games and are ready to get better as a team. Every one of us is selfless and focused only on the success of the team.
Our offensive chemistry will be big knowing how to play with each other, and trust everyone on the roster to be a threat and make the right plays. Defensively it is huge also, communication being the glue that holds a defense together in every game.
So far, we have a good balance of veteran seniors and young talent that wants to send our class out right. When everyone on the roster is working towards a common goal and trusts the people around him, good things are bound to happen.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
The race this year should be a good one between contending teams like ours, Mahopac and Suffern. The games between us are always close, hard-fought games. Can’t rule out other teams like Arlington and Mamaroneck as well. They are always not far behind in the hunt.
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* 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.
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