It’s become the annual lid lifter to the boys lacrosse season in the nation’s No. 1 lacrosse hotbed, the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tristate region.
Nassau County rivals Garden City and Syosset are keeping the tradition intact as they will meet in opening week for the fourth straight year when they square off on March 20 at 4:30 p.m. at Garden City in both teams’ season opener.
We got a rundown on how Garden City looks for 2012 from Duke University-bound attackman Justin Guterding.
Now, for a look at Syosset, we turn to another star attackman, Ryan Hunter, who is headed to Ohio State University, which is hot off a big win over Denver this past weekend.
As you’ll learn, the GC game comes after Syosset completes a challenging stretch of scrimmages against some high-powered opponents.
Syosset has seen its season end in the Section 8 semifinals each of the last three years. The Braves will once again be competing in Class A this season.
Here are Ryan’s perspectives on how the Braves shape up for the new season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
I’ve been lifting weights and because of the good weather this winter, I am out shooting most days. The team started our 6 a.m. practices two days a week before school where we practice in the school gym for an hour. We also are doing an indoor speed training program at a facility and play in an indoor winter league in Suffolk.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
(Syosset) Coach (John) Calabria has the philosophy of always starting things off with tough scrimmages and early non-conference games to test us and prepare the team for league games and the Nassau County playoffs. This year we will scrimmage West Islip, Don Bosco and Chaminade, and will be playing in the Daniel Hand tournament.
My favorite games are always the conference rivalries with Massapequa, Farmingdale, Hicksville, Baldwin and Port Washington. The Port game should be interesting because Coach (Tom) Rooney is now working the sidelines as the head coach for them.
Last season, we lost to Massapequa in the semifinal playoff game and I think that team will be our biggest challenge this year.
All the top teams in our conference, especially Farmingdale and Massapequa, have lost a lot of top All-American and all-county players.
My last three seasons we have lost in the semis, but this year I want to help my teammates win the county championship and I think we have the players to do it.
What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
We have a decent amount of experience returning this year and midfield looks strong with (Cornell recruit) Andrew Keith, John Diaz and Frank Buffalino, but I think the player that will surprise everyone is attackman Jon Camposa who didn’t play last year. I’ve played with Jon since third grade and he will really help our offensive chemistry this year.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Our strength this year will be on offense and in goal. We have multiple attackmen and middies that can both shoot and spread the field. Diaz is strong at faceoffs and on the wing is LSM soph Liam Blohm, who came up for the playoffs last year and is definitely going to have a big impact. (Blohm will join Hunter at Ohio State.) Our defense is not set and will have a couple of new faces and Coach Calabria is focused and working with them closely, but backing them up will be our goalie Ryan Feit, who I think is one of the best in the country. (Feit, a junior, committed to Johns Hopkins prior to his sophomore season.)
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
They gave us the No. 1 seed this year, but I know all the top teams in our conference feel that they can win the counties. Last year the team motto on our shirts was ‘Actions not Words,’ and I would rather prove things on the field this season. We haven’t won the Nassau Championship since 2008 and I want to get our program back to where it belongs in 2012.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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