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When Joe Licata first saw the news that Suffolk County’s power-packed super conference, Division 1, would be split in two leagues based on enrollment, he did a double take.
The senior midfielder at Sachem East, who has signed with Binghamton University (above), was disappointed to see Sachem East will no longer play some of the more recognized teams in Section 11 during the regular season.
But Sachem East, which went 9-8 last season, looks to once again be in playoff contention, which means it could face one or more of the teams absent from the regular-season schedule in the postseason.
Now, here are Joe’s perspectives on the upcoming season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Four times a week, the JV and varsity teams stay after school for an hour or so for strength and conditioning training and wall ball.
Wall ball is the key component this year we feel will help our athletes progress as players. The ability to go both ways is huge for our style of offense.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
The schedule this year took me by surprise and was quite shocking. Some of the weaker teams were added to our schedule because of the split of Division 1 into Leagues 1 and 2.
Although I do not agree with it, the split will give us somewhat of an edge come playoff time when we will see some of the better teams for the first time.
Games we look forward to during the season will be Ward Melville and of course our crosstown rival Sachem North.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Two players who continue to surprise me every time I see them on the field are Michael Bollinger and Justin Napolitano.
Mike was included in the LaxLessons Top 100 preseason players list which I was very proud of.
Justin continues to progress as our best LSM, hoping to see him commit soon.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Our strength this year would have to be our offense. Only losing two starting attackmen from the past season, many veterans are returning.
Losing Jason Debenidictis was huge for us, but I feel as a team we can handle the huge load he carried for us last year.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
The contenders in our league this year would have to be Ward Melville and Sachem North.
I’ve played them over the summer and some of the young guns they have, may put them over the top this year. I’m looking forward to playing both squads, hopefully to turn some heads and be victorious.
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