You never know what’s going to happen when East meets West.
As in Smithtown East and Smithtown West, that is.
We’ve been talking a lot about the race for the top spot in Suffolk County’s Division 1.
And even if Smithtown East and Smithtown West weren’t right in the thick of things — which they both are — it’s always interesting when the crosstown rivals collide.
This year’s meeting is set for May 10 at Smithtown East.
But there will be plenty of big games for both teams before that.
For more on that, and the East-West rivalry, we turn to one of Long Island’s leading goaltenders, Smithtown East senior Brian Balkam, who is bound for the University of North Carolina.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
We have been doing Sunday intramural practices outside on our turf field. We’ve also gone into the gym at our school for positional training once a week. In addition, we do speed training and lift several times a week.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Our schedule is extremely challenging this year, just as it is every year. We play some of the top teams in the tristate, including West Islip, Ward Melville, Northport and Smithtown West.
For me personally, the game I’m looking most forward to is Smithtown West. Having a crosstown rivalry with them is the best part of the season and no matter what our records are going into the game, it’s always a battle.
Of course the games against Northport, West Islip, Ward Melville both Sachems and Bay Shore are challenging, as well as our non-league game against Port Washington.
What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Our midfield should surprise a lot of people this year. Led by seniors Scotty Scannel and Jimmy Tenbrink, two of the better middies in the county in my opinion, and our sophomore standout John Daniggelis will be sure to cause match-up problems from up top. Seniors Kyle Gerfo handles faceoffs and Matt O’Reilly can play midfield and attack.
On attack, I think that sophomore Brian Willetts and junior Tom Marino will work well together and cause problems down low.
Our defense once again will be solid. Seniors Peter Triolo, Mike Kavanagh, Myles Feeney and Peter Marino all have several years of experience.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think our strength should be our midfield and our defense. We have two solid lines if middies with each player already having a minimum of one year of experience and some seniors with four years of varsity experience. Our defense returns three three-year starters in Peter Triolo, Myles Feeney and myself.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
I think the top 6-8 teams will be more competitively balanced this year in Suffolk Class A. There will be the tops dogs, consisting of Ward Melville, West Islip, Northport, Smithtown West and East with both Sachem’s and Bay Shore in the running.
I think this year will be the most competitive race for the championship in a while because of the depth of our league. We are working hard to be one of the last two teams playing in the division.
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