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Change is in the air on Long Island.
If you were with us during the week on our Lacrosse Insider premium coverage section, you know that teams in Suffolk County will no longer be power-ranked and that leagues will be determined strictly by student enrollment.
As a result, we won’t be seeing matchups like Ward Melville vs. Smithtown West or West Islip vs. Northport.
And there are a lot of questions many have about the change.
So today, we spent some time with Northport head coach George Searing and have formulated a Q&A based on the information he provided. It follows here, following a pdf with the new league structure.
Suffolk County leagues can no longer be power-ranked if there are more than 24 schools. Suffolk Class A is comprised of 26 schools. This rule went into effect for all sports before last school year (2013-14), but because realignments are done every two years, no change was made until 2014-15.
What are the leagues?
Class A was split into two leagues right down the middle by enrollment with League 1 the largest 13 and League 2 the next largest 13. League C is made up of the 13 Class B teams. Class D is the seven Class C teams.
What about intra-district rivalries?
The games between Half Hollow Hills East and West, Sachem East and North and Smithtown East and West are all league games and will be played as they have been in the past.
How does this impact non-league games?
Class A teams that were split into different leagues who had been in the previous “power league” are free to schedule matchups as non-league games, and, for instance Northport and Smithtown East have done just that. Teams play a maximum 16-game regular-season schedule.
Because each team in the Class A 13-team leagues plays each team once, it now has four non-league games instead of two from the previous years.
It’s already led to some interesting non-section matchups being scheduled like defending Connecticut Class L champ Greenwich vs. defending Suffolk County Class A champ Smithtown East. It also looks like defending state Class C champ Bronxville will play both Northport and Sachem North. Sachem North will also play Mamaroneck, which won Section 1 Class A titles in 2012 and ’13.
Will any teams play one another twice in the regular season?
Yes, in Class C only, where there are just seven teams in the league.
How do teams qualify for the playoffs?
By having a .500 record. Seedings are done by a committee.
Won’t there be a lot more non-competitive games now?
Since teams are not power-ranked, there should be more lopsided games. On the plus side, more players who work just as hard in practice during the week will have an opportunity to get minutes in more games. Also, by playing higher-level programs, teams that are developing their programs will get first-hand experience in what it takes to have a winning program. It should be noted, teams had the option of forming a developmental league outside of the aligned Class A leagues and opted not to do that.
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