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If the 2015 varsity season in Class A on Long Island was like an episode of the reality TV series, the Syosset Braves were the sole “Survivor.”
It’s a scenario not many would have expected as the postseason started, with fellow Nassau power Massapequa and Smithtown East in Suffolk regarded as the two main contenders to represent Long Island in the state playoffs.
But Syosset not only beat both Massapequa and Smithtown East in the postseason, but did so decisively, downing ‘Pequa 17-8 in the Nassau final before defeating the Bulls of Smithtown 14-8 in the Long Island championship.
The Braves’ postseason run ended with a 14-11 loss to Niskayuna in the state title game. Syosset’s only other loss in 2015 was a one-goal setback to Massapequa in the regular season.
For a look at the 2016 Braves, we turn to Mac O’Keefe.
One of the top seniors in the nation, O’Keefe, a skilled attackman, committed to Penn State in the summer of 2013.
O’Keefe finished the 2015 season with a Nassau County-leading 63 goals and 87 points.
Now, here are Mac’s perspectives on the season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Our team has been playing regularly together in fall league and a few tournaments. We now go four days a week alternating with practices and team workouts. I play a lot of box lacrosse over the winter also to work on my game.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Our schedule just came out and it looks great. We always have a very challenging out of conference schedule. Starting early with Garden City and Cold Spring Harbor, and new this year, Bronxville, St. Anthony’s and Shoreham-Wading River.
We have a tough road to prepare for.
If you play for Syosset, you always look forward to Massapequa and our other conference opponents as well.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I think players like our goalie Brandon Feit and defenseman Jared Locke will surprise people this season.
We had a very senior heavy defense last year. They have waited their turn and both had a great summer and fall to be ready for this spring. We should see some new faces on both sides of the field.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think the strength of our team will be possession of the ball and having experienced returning offensive players. Alex Giovinco does a great job on faceoffs, and we have starters in Lucas Cotler, Matt Benus, Mike Elardo and JP Lannig all back as well.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
In our league, Massapequa is always in contention. They are tough every year, and this year will be no different. Farmingdale is also coming on strong, and has a real talented senior class. Port Washington is always a rivalry game for us to be prepared for as well. We have a very strong league.
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