Bayport-Blue Point was one of the surprise teams in the high school lacrosse universe in 2011, making an unlikely trip to the New York State Class C championship game.
Last year, the Phantoms finished 12-6, and again ended the season by losing to the eventual state champion — this time it was against Shoreham-Wading River in the Section 11 championship game.
How does BBP look heading into the spring?
For more info on that, we turn to Brian Ward.
The lefty attackman/midfielder is eyeing a big final varsity season before heading off to Ohio State.
Ward is an effective dodger is also a vocal leader with a high lacrosse IQ.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Toward the end of August, I sprained my ankle pretty badly and I spent almost a month going to physical therapy to get it back to full strength.
At the beginning of October, I started training at Revolution Athletics five days a week doing strength and speed workouts.
Lacrosse wise, our team has been practicing at ISA every Wednesday, and we play indoor games every Sunday at Coastal Sports Complex.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Our schedule isn’t as tough as it was last year, but we still play some very talented programs. Our two biggest games of the year will be against Mount Sinai and SWR, not only because they are good teams, but they are playoff contenders for Class C.
Other than those games, one game I have circled on my calendar is Sayville on April 26. We haven’t had a home game against them since my first year on varsity in eighth grade. I know a lot of our guys, including myself, still have a bitter taste in our mouth from the overtime loss to them last year.
I know Eeastport-South Manor and Comsewogue will be tough games as well.
What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I think our team in general will surprise a lot of people this year. Although we lost a lot of talented players due to graduation last year, we have a good amount of younger players who are capable of stepping up and making an impact for us.
One player who I think will have a strong season and surprise many, is my brother, Kevin Ward.
We also have a solid group of freshmen who I think will get a good amount of playing time this year. Both freshman attackmen, Seth Valestrand and Jake Weinman, have really improved there game in the offseason and impressed many during our fall tournaments.
I also believe that Ryan Hake will surprise a lot of people this year. He had a very strong season for us last year and I know he is capable of much more.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think our offense will be extremely successful this year. Between Ryan Hake, Austin Belz, Kevin Ward, Jake Weinman, Seth Valestrand and myself, we have many offensive weapons.
We also have a solid amount of senior leadership and experience on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, Billy Baker and Kyle Hughes, offensively, Austin Belz, Ryan Hake, and I are seniors who all together combine for 15 years of varsity lacrosse experience.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
I think our league will be very competitive this year. Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River, John Glenn and Babylon are all talented teams.
Although many people do not believe so, I know our team has what it takes to make some noise in the playoffs and get back to the county championship.
If you’re a player from the NY/NJ/CT region and would like to share your perspectives on the 2012 season, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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