You never know what’s going to happen when East meets West.

As in Smithtown East and Smithtown West, that is.

We’ve been talking a lot about the race for the top spot in Suffolk County’s Division 1.

And even if Smithtown East and Smithtown West weren’t right in the thick of things — which they both are — it’s always interesting when the crosstown rivals collide.

This year’s meeting is set for May 10 at Smithtown East.

But there will be plenty of big games for both teams before that.

For more on that, and the East-West rivalry, we turn to one of Long Island’s leading goaltenders, Smithtown East senior Brian Balkam, who is bound for the University of North Carolina.

Now, here are Brian’s perspectives on the upcoming season.11-300x150

What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
We have been doing Sunday intramural practices outside on our turf field.  We’ve also gone into the gym at our school for positional training once a week. In addition, we do speed training and lift several times a week.

How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Our schedule is extremely challenging this year, just as it is every year. We play some of the top teams in the tristate, including West Islip, Ward Melville, Northport and Smithtown West.

For me personally, the game I’m looking most forward to is Smithtown West. Having a crosstown rivalry with them is the best part of the season and no matter what our records are going into the game, it’s always a battle.

Of course the games against Northport, West Islip, Ward Melville both Sachems and Bay Shore are challenging, as well as our non-league game against Port Washington.

What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Our midfield should surprise a lot of people this year. Led by seniors Scotty Scannel and Jimmy Tenbrink, two of the better middies in the county in my opinion, and our sophomore standout John Daniggelis will be sure to cause match-up problems from up top. Seniors Kyle Gerfo handles faceoffs and Matt O’Reilly can play midfield and attack.

On attack, I think that sophomore Brian Willetts and junior Tom Marino will work well together and cause problems down low.

Our defense once again will be solid. Seniors Peter Triolo, Mike Kavanagh, Myles Feeney and Peter Marino all have several years of experience.

What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think our strength should be our midfield and our defense. We have two solid lines if middies with each player already having a minimum of one year of experience and some seniors with four years of varsity experience. Our defense returns three three-year starters in Peter Triolo, Myles Feeney and myself.

How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
I think the top 6-8 teams will be more competitively balanced this year in Suffolk Class A.  There will be the tops dogs, consisting of Ward Melville, West Islip, Northport, Smithtown West and East with both Sachem’s and Bay Shore in the running.

I think this year will be the most competitive race for the championship in a while because of the depth of our league. We are working hard to be one of the last two teams playing in the division.

* story on Brian’s commitment to North Carolina

* For more info on Brian, check out his player profile by clicking here

If you’re a player from the NY/NJ/CT region and would like to share your perspectives on the 2012 season, send an email to

Player’s perspective archive

You can check out the more than 100 stories by clicking here.

Schedules scanner

Links to 2013 men’s and women’s collegiate and boys and girls high school schedules.

Have a recruiting commitment to report? Email us at


Recruiting coverage

* 2012 Fall Signing Week story/photo archive

* Updated tristate recruiting review and commitment rundown (for classes of 2013, ’14 and ’15)

* Class of 2012 commitment rundown

* Recruit profile archive

* For a list of committed players with their profiles up, click here.

* To get your profile up, click here.

Connect with us

* Follow LaxLessons on Twitter by clicking here.

* Become a Fan of LaxLessons on Facebook now by clicking here.

Get in the game

* You can subscribe to’s playbook, featuring animated drills and plays for your team, by clicking here. 

Cast your vote in our latest poll

To vote, go to the right panel of this page. Then, scroll past the “New Comments” and “Popular” tabs and click on “Poll.” You will then see the poll questions and can cast your vote from the multiples choices, or, write in your choice if it’s not one of the choices.

Posted In: Long Island lacrosse, Player's perspective, Section 11

If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page.

7 Responses to “Player’s perspective: Brian Balkam, Smithtown East (NY) goaltender”

  1. Wow says:

    Too bad east doesn’t get the same attention as west. East may not be a nationally known team but they still produce quality players every year.

    • Lions Den says:

      Really? Then name them.

      Look East may be a program at that level down the line, but not yet. It’s in the 6-7 range of the top teams in Suffolk D-1.

  2. wow says:

    I could be mistaken but don’t they have a defender headed to Penn State (triolo) and and a player headed to Army (tenbrink) – to go along with a goalie headed to UNC? Not a bad roster. That is just on this year’s team and I am sure there are other players that I am skipping.

  3. Sammy says:

    Well East has an average number of D-1 recruits for a contender LI program. They have some good talent but you can’t really say they are anything close to being overlooked until the beat WI, WM, West.

    • wow says:

      agreed – my only point is that they are a good program but they get overshadowed in a tough league/class. you put smithtown east in section 1 or section 9 and they are close to section champs every season.

  4. Gaze says:

    Nice analysis Brian and good job sizing up the squad!

Leave a Reply