It’s early. Very early. And there are plenty of contenders. Among them:

* Five-time Class M Connecticut state champion Darien, which returns attackman Case Matheis, arguably the No. 1 rising junior in the nation.

* Two-time Class C New York state champ Manhasset.

* West Islip, which has won four Class A New York state titles the last five years and which ended the season with the No. 1 national ranking.

* Nationally ranked John Jay, which won a sectional title for the fifth time in the last six years.

And then there are plenty of private school powerhouses, including  St. Anthony’s, Chaminade, Brunswick and Salisbury.

Who will be the No. 1 team in the Hudson Valley/Long Island/Connecticut region in 2011? Let’s take a first look now, and then see how thoughts/opinions evolve as we get closer to the season.

So be sure to weigh in with your thoughts here — and explain why you feel the way you do. And also don’t forget to exercise your right to vote by casting your ballot in our latest poll question.

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Posted In: You make the call

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37 Responses to “You make the call: A first look at who will be the best team in the Hudson Valley/Long Island/Connecticut region in 2011”

  1. Bigeasy says:

    I think there is no easy choice here at all. In CT, Darien graduated a ton but will reload. Can they replace an AA goalie, key D, etc?
    JJ returns alot but will be breaking in a new goalie, Branca is real good though. New Defense will have to step up. I think Town will be right there with them in the B finals. Town has tons of young talent I saw play this summer. I dont favor them over JJ yet, but am watching closely.
    GC will be the best team on paper returning. Tons of talent there.
    Set has some great young talent on their squad. Their feeder system is getting ridiculous.
    WM also should be excellent. I would not sleep on Smithtown next year either.
    As to WI, I am just going to consider them the Class A favorite till seen otherwise. I know their JV team was excellent so replacing some studs seems logical.
    St Anthonys and Chaminade lose alot. No Schreiber is monstrous for the Friars. He was incredible. Will be a stud right away for Coach Bates. The Flyers D is gone. Big athletes are not easy to replace, even for Coach Moran.

    Will be a great spring. I am pumped about it for there is no heavy, heavy favorite.
    Class A WI is favorite for now
    Class B GC could be a “heavy” favorite but will have to battle Set to get out of section……JJ and Town will be real good too….
    Class C As wide open as it gets…CSH would be my favorite as of now….
    CT Darien and Wilton …..Warriors have done good job the last couple of years rising back into national prominence….

  2. 101000101101011101 says:

    Darien because they have Case Matheis. How can you win without Case?

  3. JJ alum 99 says:

    JJ no team speed! they will be good but cant get over the hump to beat the big boys………………….

  4. woodenstick says:

    “Class B GC could be a “heavy” favorite but will have to battle Set to get out of section.”

    Isn’t Manhasset still “C”?

    Other than that, no arguments here.

  5. Sgt Hulka says:


    Word has it the both Set and Town will be in Class B this coming year.

    I’m not sure if that is official or simply a rumor.

  6. laxingonli says:

    Because of High School enrollment numbers Manhasset will be moving up to Class B next season.

  7. slacrosse says:

    Sett has moved up to B.

  8. Lax Man says:

    Already?? Anyway here are my top teams by region for 2011.

    Suffolk county – Ward Mellville
    Nassau county – Cold Spring Harbor
    AAA Catholic – Chaminade
    Westchester – John Jay
    Ct. – Darien

  9. Laxr says:

    I think some people are overestimating Darien’s losses. Darien doesn’t really graduate that much. West is the biggest loss, but the backup is going D1 so the drop off shouldnt be too bad. The defense returns 4 D1 commits, the midfield has 2 D1 commits plus plenty of capable players who were waiting in the wings. On attack you return the youngsters Case and West (will they move him back to midfield?). Sounds like a lot of returning guys and not too much reloading.

  10. slacrosse says:

    Best: (Not inc. private schools)
    Class A: West Islip (key chasers-Ward Mellville, Connetquot, Massapequa )
    Class B: Garden City (key chasers-Sett, Wantagh, Comsewogue)
    Class C: Cold Spring Harbor (key chasers-Friends, John Glenn)
    Class A: Lakeland Panas (key chasers- Mahopac, Suffern, Ossining)
    Class B: John Jay (key chasers-Town, Rye, Somers)
    Class C: Bronxville (key chasers- Putnam Valley, Pleasantville, Byram Hills)
    Best: Darien (key chasers-Greenwich,Ridgefield, New Caanan, Wilton, Staples)

    BEST in LI/CT/Westchester:


  11. slacrosse says:

    Does anyone know where the Palesek brothers who were at Hopkins ended up (believe they were transferring)?

  12. westchesterlax says:

    why isnt anyone giving the fox lane foxes any love?

    this is a team with 21 seniors… a goalie headed to ohio state and several midfielders who have been recruited by both d3 and d1 schools. they also have a very good defense filled with varsity experience and 2/3 attackmen are 4 year varsity players.

    once more foxes start committing i bet they get more love in the section.

  13. westchesterlaxx says:

    the foxes should not get any love!! If you were a fan would would have seen that the game after their senior captain, Noah Hammer got hurt their defense fell apart against Suffern. Now coming into this season they are losing Noah Hammer (the anchor) to that D, and their also losing the only person that might have been able to fill his shoes, Julian Maestro, to boarding school.

    So lets just see how great the FOXES will b

  14. Just sayin says:

    Fox Lane!?!? I mean did they loose to Greeley in the first round of sections???

  15. Lax Man says:

    Are you kidding?? Do you think you guys could compete with the likes of West Islip, Garden City, Darien and Chaminade?? Really! slacrosse, West Islip’s run is over 4 state tittles in 5 years. The Gallasso hangover will set in. Ward Mellville is fast, fast and really fast, should be #1 in USA at the end of the year??

  16. laxin says:

    jj alum 99,

    How can you say jj has no team speed? I did not know that was determined 9 months before the season started…

  17. T.B. Toad says:


    Good observation regarding Foxes. Julian Mastro did have a solid season and will be missed as he goes off to Deerfield. The rumor has it that the D will be adding a transfer from Deerfield, Colin Proctor, who has talent.

    Great goaltending plus good coaching may overcome the weaknesses that the returning Dmen have with footwork, positioning etc. Overall, D doesn’t have the “anchor” of a Hammer or Mastro.

  18. JJ alum 99 says:

    Laxin that is because jj has most of the team back

  19. Toad the Wet Sprocket says:

    Deerfield Taketh, Deerfield Giveth – and there may be another “fox” in the bag for FL that will be an instant impact player. Hopefully the sting of the early exit last season will inspire some fire in the lads w/ the senior leadership they have returning.

  20. John says:

    no offense intended to returning Foxes but one of the best young players is headed to Deerfield Academy and the best player around from FL may . be Lindsey (sp?) Toppe. I dont care what rules you play 100+ goals in a season is impressive.

    On to football

  21. rock on says:

    Hey, Toad the Wet Sprocket….I don’t have anything to add, I’m just wondering how many people know Toad the Wet Sprocket. lol.

    Best regards,
    August West

  22. westchesterlax says:

    im not saying the foxes will be the best in the whole area… im just saying they deserve some respect. they will have a lot of commits and will certainly replace both hammer and mastro with transfers and kids coming back from injury last year

  23. Ginger Baker says:

    The Foxes are a sleeper and will surprise – rock on!
    R U Ready for some Football!!!! Eli 11 stitches – J-E-T-S – u know the drill.

  24. Lax n stuff says:

    I do agree with the voters so far that GC is probably best in the region next year if not the country. Darien should be good as well but have not been ranked nationally for years. Let’s keep that in mind.

  25. BlueWhite says:

    Darien was ranked 11th in the country last year in laxpower

  26. laxr says:

    Yeah, and they were in the top 20 the year before on laxpower. Also, 3 seasons ago they finished #4 in the country. Plus they have a ton of D1 recruits and more will be committed D1 before next season.

  27. westchesterlax says:

    Also, fox lane supporters should not worry about the defensive back bone of the team with St. Lawrence bound defensemen matt harris brining organization to the defense and serving as a shut down guy for the foxes.

  28. IslandLaxpert says:

    From top to bottom, Garden City should be the best by far with Gordon (Hopkins) and Fischer (Harvard) and Jahelka (Harvard) leading a deep and talented team.

  29. dee-up says:

    westchesterlax ….come on really relax with fox lane in the lax world ….stay on the mat … they had one decent ….decent year… let the game come and stop blowing them up . they r not there yet

  30. Ian Curtis says:

    Dee-up must be that P’ville fan still stinging from that 4OT loss to FL early last spring.

  31. Laxtime says:

    I think Darien will be good but who on offence do they have besides Mathies (sp)?

  32. reLAX says:

    Let’s not forget Set going for the 3-peat.

  33. laxr says:

    to laxtime

    They have Henry West (IL #40 rising junior), Graham Maybell (Villanova), and JP Walsh (Lehigh). Still, this is definitely a defensive team, w/ 4 D1 poles and a junior (Britton) who will most likely go D1 as well.

  34. 495er says:

    Who will be the leaders on offence for Manhasset?

  35. Trojan Horse says:

    Wonder which defense will be more dominating – GC football or GC lax??? A few key players are on both units for each of the sports.

  36. Laxn all says:

    Gotta give credit to Scott Craig for coming back as coach at West Islip. They will be among the top teams bc of the growth of the youth lax program in town for the foreseeable future. But they are probably the third or fourth best team in Suffolk now – let alone the country.

  37. Laxtime says:

    It will be very interesting to see how Class C shakes out both in Section 1 and Sections 8, 11. Seems pretty wide open in both places.

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