We’re a week away from the unofficial opening day in the nation’s No. 1 hotbed for lacrosse, the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tristate region.
Next Tuesday, March 20, Syosset, seeded first in Nassau County Class A by coaches in the preseason, takes on two-time Class B state finalists Garden City, at Garden City.
With the season about to start, here are five things to keep an eye on:
* Class alignments: The big news last year was that Manhasset was moving up from Class C to Class B. The result was Manhasset, which had won two straight state Class C titles, losing to Garden City in the Nassau County Class B title game. Of note this season, Hendrick Hudson has moved down from Class B and to Class C. With a pair of major Division I recruits – junior midfielder Matt Ledwin (Johns Hopkins) and sophomore goaltender Eddie Gilman (North Carolina) – the Sailors could challenge defending Section 1 Class C champ Bronxville for the title.
* Big Saturday for scrimmages: March 24 is a big day for preseason action. The fourth annual Red/Gray Tournament at Somers features a strong eight-team field that includes St. Anthony’s. Also that day is the Darien Jamboree and a three-team event at Yorktown. Check the rundown here.
* March will go out like a lion: The weather is unusually mild, but March will go out like a lion in the region when it comes to lax. Here are some big games set prior to month’s end, in addition to the aforementioned Syosset-Garden City matchup: Ward Melville at Garden City (March 24), West Islip at Chaminade (March 31) and John Jay at Yorktown (March 31).
* New coaches: Smithtown West, which fell to West Islip in overtime in last year’s Suffolk Class A finals, has a new head coach in Tom Moltisanti Jr. … Former Syosset assistant Tom Rooney is the new head coach at Port Washington. … In Section 1, former Croton-Harmon coach Kevin Flynn is the new head coach at North Salem. … Jeff Fritz, a longtime coach in Armonk from the youth levels to the high school ranks and a former Team USA player, is the new head coach at Byram Hills.
* Regional powers rank high nationally: As usual, the region is well-represented in the first Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national power rankings of the season, with Salisbury (Conn.), St. Anthony’s and Garden City all in the Top 10. You can check out the complete rankings here.
* Revising the rulebook: New rules are in effect starting this season designed to speed up offensive play and simplify counting requirements for officials; expand non-releasable fouls for checks in the head and neck areas; require butt ends for sticks; new faceoff rules; and more. Check our overview from earlier this year for all the details.
* Sophomore surge: One of the main stories we’ve followed in the offseason is the surge in sophomores making verbal commitments. The count from the region is now 15 – and counting. Cold Spring Harbor midfielder Jordan Walter (Notre Dame) became the latest. Check the complete rundown here.
* Schedules, schedules, schedules: Here are links to LaxPower’s high school schedule pages for the region:
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 scanner” thread.
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