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St. Anthony’s (NY) wants to reestablish its title-winning ways in 2015.
The Friars have fallen to archrival Chaminade each of the last two years in the CHSAA Nassau-Suffolk AAA title game after winning four straight titles from 2009-12.
That goal is especially urgent for the Friars’ seniors.
Among them is Danny Jones.
The midfielder recently was formally accepted to Johns Hopkins University after giving a verbal commitment to the Blue Jays midway through his sophomore year, in January 2013, a decision first reported by LaxLessons.com.
Now, here are Danny’s perspectives on the season?
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
After a football season filled with a lot of trials and tribulations this past fall, I’ve really been focusing on getting mentally prepared for this upcoming spring.
Being that it’s my final season as a high school player, I want to make sure that I take it slow and really soak in all the great moments that lie ahead not only for myself, but for my teammates.
Personally, I’ve been in the gym trying to get back in lacrosse shape and been working with my trainer to sharpen up parts of my game even more.
Sophomore year, I decided to make my childhood dream a reality and ever since then I’ve been trying to do whatever I can to get that edge over my competition. As a team, during the winter, we have had weekly practices run by our captains so that once the season gets kicked off we have the opportunity to hit the ground running.
Whether it’s actually playing lacrosse on the field or bonding as a group off the field, we all have the vision in mind that we have the ability to do something special this year.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Our schedule looks as difficult as it has any other year.
Being a perennial powerhouse not only on the Island, but also in the country, we realize that every team that we play is going to give us their best shot.
As a team, we haven’t proved a single thing and this season is the year we make a name for ourselves.
We always look forward to the games against Chaminade not only because they’re our rival, but because of the friendships we share with the players on the team.
We have Delbarton and Darien this year, which in their own right are powerhouses in New Jersey and Connecticut respectively. Both teams bring back a lot of speed and athleticism and we expect excellent games against them.
This year we add Niskayuna, which also returns a lot of talent, and with a great coaching staff like they have, we anticipate another top-tier game.
This season won’t be easy to say the least, but we’re confident in the athletes that we have.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I honestly feel like there isn’t a player on our team that will surprise anyone. We know what kind of talent and what kind of young men we have, so whatever happens this season won’t shock any of us. (St. Anthony’s Head) Coach (Keith) Wieczorek has always said that national rankings and people’s opinions mean a thing to him and us.
If we stay the course, stay humble, and do our ultimate job, then I don’t see why we can’t reach success by seasons end.
Our coaching staff is second to none and we as a team have full faith in them that they will have us fully prepared for each and every game.
Analysts, newspapers, etc., can have all the opinions that they want, but as a collective unit, we know what we are.
If there is any hype going into this season, we have to find a way to block out the noise and focus on the task at hand.
What do you think the strengths of your team will be this year?
What’s special about our team this year is how close we are.
Some of us have been playing with or against each other since the PAL days, but most of has have had this bond since freshman year.
One strength will be our senior leadership. Almost all of the senior class will be playing at the next level, so there is no doubt in our ability.
Now it’s time to put all the pieces to the puzzle together.
It helps when you have no ego guys and have players who just want to win.
Our athleticism will be another strength to our team. We feel like there will be few teams who will have the ability to run up and down the field with us.
Each positional group brings back a couple starters who have serious game experience, which will help us when we get into those high-pressure moments.
In the goal, we will have a first-year starter in either Joe McGuigan or Billy Senicola. Both these guys are great talents so whoever wins the competition will have full confidence from the team.
Our offense includes a lot of great shooters who also share the rock very well.
The defensive unit controlled by a great goalie have the ability to cause chaos for the opponent and create turnovers.
The strengths of our team are visible, but like with any great team execution is key.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
The Catholic league is filled with great teams and coaching staffs like Kellenberg, Holy Trinity, St. John’s the Baptist and Iona Prep.
The way the league is set up, the final game usually comes down to St. Anthony’s and Chaminade. It’s a three-game series every year between us and them. The last couple years the final game has gone their way.
As a senior class, there still is a sour taste in our mouth after last year’s championship game.
What makes it sting a little more is that (Chaminade) Coach (Jack) Moran’s 500th win came against us during that game as well.
I have a championship ring in football, but we want and need a lacrosse title.
Four years of ups and downs, lows and highs, and a great deal of hard work all comes down to this season.
Seize the opportunity will be one of our team mottos because that’s what it all comes down to.
We’re all great friends with the guys over in Mineola, but it would be nice to say 10 years from now “Remember what happened in May of senior year?” and knowing that we came out on top.
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