Change is in the air at Ward Melville.

The 2013 consensus national champion and New York Class A state champion Patriots will welcome a new coach, Jay Negus, and six new starters.

We got Negus’ thoughts on his upcoming inaugural season as head coach. Now, let’s check in with one of the Patriots’ leading players, Jake McCulloch.

McCulloch earned a starting spot as a sophomore on a midfield line that included two of the tristate region’s top Class of 2013 standouts: Jack Bruckner and Christian Mazzone. Bruckner is now a freshman at Duke. Mazzone is playing at Rutgers. McCulloch has committed to the admission process at Cornell.

Now, here are Jake’s perspectives on the upcoming season.playerperspective

What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
As a team, we have been practicing once or twice a week and playing in a winter league on the weekends. Also, we have been doing speed and agility training with Jon Matzelle, who trained us last year. We have been putting an emphasis on conditioning because of the new high school rules.

How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
We are scrimmaging miller place, comsewogue, and are playing in a multiteam scrimmage at Smithtown West. I am looking forward most to renewing our rivalry with Yorktown. Our schedule is always strong with our league games.

What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I think Young Hur, Mike Cirrone, Matt O’Rourk, Mike Troy and Pat Roarty will surprise a lot of people. Young is a freshman who is very quick and has great vision.  O’Rourk is a sophomore who is a great shooter. Cirrone and Troy are both defenseman who are very physical and athletic and can play both LSM and close. Roarty is a senior midfielder who is very versatile and athletic.

What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think our strength of our team this year will be our defense. Although we only return one starter, there are plenty of capable defenseman who can fill those gaps. John Grauwiler, John Day, Tyler Blansfield and Tom Kellerman all have the potential to have big impacts.

How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
I think Suffolk A will be very competitive this year. Us, both Smithtowns, Northport and Sachem North all have potential to win the county championship.

* Preseason player perspective archive

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

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