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The crowded field of Division I contenders in Suffolk County has expanded even farther the last couple of years with the emergence of Sachem East as a force to be reckoned with in Section 11.
Sachem East is coming off a 10-5 season that included one-goal losses to traditional powers West Islip and Northport.
For a look at how Sachem East looks this coming spring we turn to a pair of the team’s leading players: midfielder Cody Solmosy, who is headed to defending Division II national champ Limestone (pictured below at left), and Stony Brook University-bound goaltender Mike Bollinger (above).
Now, here are their perspectives on the upcoming season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Cody: We have been practice Monday through Friday since we came back from break.
Mike: We’ve been working out everyday after school. We have been doing strength and conditioning along with stick skills
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Cody: Our schedule this year is pretty tough. The games I’m looking forward to most is Sachem North for our crosstown rivalry and Smithtown West.
We start the season with a scrimmage against Rocky Point, followed by two non-league games with Bayport-Blue Point and Eastport-South Manor.
Mike: There are a lot of good teams this year in our league, but I’m looking forward to Sachem North, West Islip and the Smithtowns.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Cody: I think junior midfielder Jake Kelleher and sophomore midfielder Pete Engelken and senior midfielder Stephen Turnbull, who hasn’t played since ninth grade, will surprise a lot of people this season.
Mike: The players that I think will surprise us this year are junior defenseman John Gillis, junior attackman Chris Higgins and midfielder Stephen Turnbull, who just picked his stick back up this year. Justin Napolitano who is our LSM is also a very athletic defender who is a dual-threat player.
I also think our three-year starters Cody Solmosy and Brian Williams will have a huge impact on the offensive side, and will be a huge threat to other teams.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Cody: I think our midfield and defense are very skilled. Our defense hasn’t changed much from last year. Our defense consists of senior Jjustin Napolitano, Kyle Shanahan, Kyle Smith,and a junior who will play a big role, John Gillis, and with Bollinger in net, we don’t have to worry much.
Our midfield consists of sophomore Pete Engelken, junior Jake Kellehe, and myself. The defense works great together. Our middies have built great chemistry and have been working great together.
Mike: The strengths of our team this year are on both sides. On the defensive side, we have a lot of senior leadership who have been together since kindergarten. On the O side we have a lot of young talent and with the help of our seniors our offensive is going to be very hard to stop.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
Cody: I think the race in our league will be very competitive like it is every year. I also think Smithtown East and Ward Melville will be tough teams to take down
Mike: I think this year it is going to be like every other, it’s going to be competitive with every team, you can’t take anyone lightly here on Long Island.
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