High school leagues don’t get much more competitive than New York’s Section 11 Division 1.
The list of power-packed Suffolk County strongholds in the league includes defending consensus national champion Ward Melville as well as West Islip, Smithtown West, Smithtown East and Sachem North.
Joe Licata knows full well how tough the league is. The junior at Sachem East is also one of the league’s top midfielders.
A 5-foot-8 speedster, Licata is a strong dodger and an excellent time-and-room shooter who can use both hands equally well. Licata has committed to Binghamton University.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Besides gym work, we take every opportunity to put a stick in our hands to hone our skills and synchronized as a unit. When we return from Holiday break we go right into a winter workout schedule.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Being in Suffolk D-1 it’s a challenge every year. We look forward to playing all the top teams that consistently stand out: Ward Melville, both Smithtown teams and West Islip to name a few.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
It’s hard to single out a player when the team has grown as an overall unit. But, Michael Bollinger has become a tremendous goalie and is getting better every time he steps in the cage. Also both of our LSMs in Anthony Horvath and Justin Napolitano could raise a few brows this year.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Although Sachem East is relatively young this year, our team is more balanced.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
More programs have developed contending teams, so it should be interesting to see how the playoffs schedule develops. The top Suffolk D-1 teams as usual will be in the mix. Our program hopes to be there this year as well.
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