The Clarkstown South Vikings will be keeping it closer to home this season.

The Vikings have been placed in a four-team league that also includes rivals Clarkstown North as well as North Rockland and Suffern.

While those teams are all familiar, being minus Luke Haggerty isn’t. The goaltender, who was an all-American last season, has graduated.

Those are among the topics that South’s Union College-bound senior midfielder Sean Day discusses.

* Section 1 league alignments

* For background info on Sean, click here.

What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
I have been working hard and getting ready for the season since the end of last season.  The three most important things are running, lifting and stick skills.  I’ve been working hard in the gym and going to the wall and shooting as much as possible.  Now that the season is getting closer I am increasing my running to get in shape.

Can you talk about some of the key players you lost from last year and how you think you will be able to replace them?
The biggest loss from last year is definitely our goalie, Luke Haggerty.  He was an all-American and he kept us in every game we played last year.  Luckily we have two goalies this year who are fighting for the starting position, and either one will be capable of being the backbone of our defense just like Luke was.  Our other three senior captains from last year, Eric Jellen, John Buechli and Justin Palmquist were important parts of our offense last year.  We have a young team this year but we are confident we have players who will step up and fill these spots.

How does your schedule look and which ones are you looking forward to most?
This year we will be playing more Rockland teams than ever before which is exciting because there is always rivalry within the county. Nyack is always a big game for us.  We have had intense games with them the past few years and a lot of us know each other so that game will be a lot of fun.  We are expecting Nanuet and North Rockland to be challenges as always.  Suffern is a huge game in my mind because I’ve never beaten them and its come down to the final seconds the past two years. I’m looking forward to all these games, and our goal this year is to be county champions.

What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I think most of the players on my team this year are relatively unknown, but I don’t think that will last long.  We have a great core group of upperclassmen and some talented underclassmen as well.  Everyone is expecting our goalie to be weak this year now that Luke is gone, but we have two goalies ready to go, and whichever one ends up being the starter will surprise people.  On attack, Tyler Ardent will make himself known and our LSM Jake Monaco will give other teams a lot of trouble.  James Burke is probably the best known on our defense, but we have two other poles ready to prove what they can do.

What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
This year I think we will have a strong defense because we have a solid goalie, three talented close defense-men, and tough middies who can play defense.  That is not to say that our offense should be taken lightly.  I believe we have players who can put in goals against the toughest teams.  I hope our team will be known by the end of the season as a tough team that plays good defense, makes few mistakes, and is effective in transition.

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