For Putnam Valley, last year was the exception.
The Tigers, who had advanced to the Section 1 Class C finals five times in the last six seasons, did not advance past the opening round of the playoffs.
So 2012 shapes up as potentially a big bounce-back season for one of the most successful programs in Section 1 the last decade.
A junior bound for Georgetown University, van de Veerdonk is an adept dodger with good speed and strong stick skills.
Now, here are John’s perspectives on the season:
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Our team has been very focused on getting bigger, faster and stronger. We hit the weight room everyday working on all of these categories to help make our team better. Also, we do an indoor winter clinic over in Connecticut.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Our schedule looks very difficult like every other year. We play the big teams like Yorktown, John Jay, Somers and more. I am mostly looking forward to the Yorktown game because I always love competing against them because they are usually the team to beat.
What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
There are many players that are going to turn heads this year. We still have a young team this year but the players are very talented.
We have a very strong defense this year. Including a new player who switched to defense this summer sophomore Alex Bronzo. He is a strong, fast and athletic kid. He picked up a long pole and was a natural. He will definitely contribute greatly to our team this year.
Also at midfield, we have some very big guys. Seniors Stephen Gair and Rob Pasquale are returners from last year and have been working every day on all aspects of their game to become better players which is going to show on the field.
In goal, we have a returner Kyle Christopher. He has also been going to the turf as much as he can to get shot on and work on his outlets. He will definitely come up big this year.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think the strength of our team this year will be in our offense. We have some very talented players on that side of the field. Mike Adamski and Mike Benvenutti on attack will be able to rack up points. Also Gair and Pasquale will contribute, along with many young players coming up such as Chris Bruno and Anthony Muratore on offense and also on faceoffs.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
I think that our team has a very good chance of winning our league this year. But we can’t look past teams like Hen Hud and Arlington.
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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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