The Northeast Region preview, presented by LaxRecords.com features a four-part series. Part three looks at states and teams in the region.
Brunswick School (Conn.) returns 13 players committed to Division I programs from a team that went 16-3 last season. Colin Mulshine is the No. 20 defender in the Class of 2021, according to Inside Lacrosse. The Bruins boast several players among the Top 100 in both the classes of 2020 and 2021. The talent will be put to the test with their conference schedule, which includes Deerfield Academy (Mass.) along with road games at St. Paul’s (Md.) and Darien (Conn.) along with games against Haverford School (Pa.) and Hill Academy (Canada).
Darien (Conn.) is the defending Class L champion and returns eight players from last year’s team, including goalie Andy Demopoulos (Johns Hopkins) and senior captain Michael Minicus (Colgate) at attack. The Blue Wave will once again participate in the GEICO Showcase in April and take on Manhasset (N.Y.) and Chaminade (N.Y.).
Foran (Conn.) returns 30 players from a team that finished 10-8 last season and reached the second round of the Class M playoffs. Most of the offense returns for head coach Brian Adkins who also has 13 seniors to help lead the team.
New Canaan (Conn.) has a stellar face-off specialist in Justin Wietfeldt (Michigan) coming back from a team that scored 230 goals last season. Senior goalie Bennett Ong (Army) will help lead the defense. The Rams have early-season tests against Avon Old Farms (Conn.) and a road game against Wilton (Conn.), which gives them a shot at revenge against the team that ended their season last year.
Norwich Free Academy (Conn.) has a strong defense and face-off guy returning this season. Dylan Chapel (Assumption College) leads the face-off with defenders Mason McMahon, Jonathan Daniewicz, and Micah Tarlton. Sophomore midfielder Nolan Brown 'along with freshman Anthony Ballestrini (attack) and Thomas Brunelli (midfield) will provide offensive depth.
Ridgefield (Conn.) went 16-4 and returns its top three scorers from last season, including sophomore Ryan Colsey who led the team as a freshman with 91 points. John Mathes and Ray Dearth round out the offense. The Tigers should be deep on defense with Kees Van Wees (Michigan) and Jack Down (Lafayette) as anchors and a strong core of sophomores.
Bridgton Academy (Maine) is a unique program in that it is exclusively a one-year college-prep experience, so everyone on the roster is a newcomer, except for Drew Stafford. The defense features Teigue Norman and Dawson Center (SNHU). The Wolverine’s will play Navy Prep, New Hampton and Brewster Academy, among others this season.
Tom Dalicandro guides a Concord Carlisle (Mass.) team that went 18-3 last season and returns 20 players. CC reached the Division 2 Central East Section Final. Senior Defenseman Mason Dorr is returning from back-to-back, season-ending injuries. In 2018 he broke his ankle in early May and in 2019 he tore his ACL in late April. Among the other returnees are goalie Ben Anastos, Jack Bowen and Devin Smith at attack, Welles Hatch (LSM), Mason Dorr (defense) and midfielder Alexi Hunt.
Dracut (Mass.) returns 18 players from the team that reached the Division III state semifinals and went 17-7.
Duxbury (Mass.) graduated three defenseman from last year’s team that allowed 142 goals. But Head Coach Chris Sweet also brings back three players on the defensive end that area also committed to college programs - goalie Liam Dillon (Wheaton) along with defenders Seamus Johnston (Trinity) and Will Leese (Utah). Sam Heppenstall (UMass-Lowell) and Kyle Savery (Ithaca) return to the midfield.
Franklin (Mass.) only lost three games last season by a combined three goals. They return four attackmen, including Jake Davis, Ben Greco, Connor Eck and Matt Lazzaro from a team that scored 315 goals last season.
Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.) won its fourth state championship in five years last year and returns 10 players committed to play in college. The defense should be Head Coach Brian Vona’s strength this season with Wilson Sneath (Vermont), Kyle Manherz (Hamilton), Jack Malon (LSM) and Andrew Vona (Hobart) all returning. Brian Vona has 320 career wins since 2000 and leads an experienced squad this season.
Medfield (Mass.) was the Division II runner-up last season and brings back four college commits, including three defenders: John Schofield (Lehigh), Derek Gemski (Endicott) and Sam Joline (Hartwick). Defense is generally the Warriors strong suit and last year it allowed only 127 goals. Former defensive coordinator Daggett Morse took the head coaching job at Xaverian Brothers (Mass.), so it remains to be seen how his loss will impact the defense. Medfield meets their former assistant on April 22 when they travel to Xaverian Brothers.
Winchester (Mass.) brings back three college commits from the team that went 22-1 and won the Division II state title last year. Charlie Ward (Furman) leads the attack with midfielder Ryan McCarthy (Union) and defenseman Andrew Murray (Union) also returning.
Xaverian Brothers (Mass.) gets a new head coach in Morse who was a big factor in Medfield’s defensive success. He inherits a team that has three college commits on the defensive end of the field, including brothers Tanner Alexander (defense) and Teagan Alexander (goalie) who are both committed to Bryant. LSM James Munn (Utica) also returns. Midfielders Shaun Padden (Quinnipiac), Jack Daoust (Bates) and Pete Canning (St. Michael’s) gives Morse a host of players with experience from last year’s 16-4 team.
Bishop Guertin (N.H.) has been part of the state championship game for the past 15 years. The last time they did not make the title game was 2004. The Cardinals bring a host of college commits to the table this season, including Sean Cameron (Princeton), (Army), Aidan Ahearn (Villanova), Michael Kiely (Colgate) and Bennett Abladian (Bryant)
Pinkerton Academy (N.H.) has won back-to-back Division I championships and already is the program with the most titles to its name with 12. Among the players returning to the lineup this season are face-off specialist Nathan Laliberte (Bryant) and midfielder Mason Drouin (Bryant). The Astros take on Massachusetts defending champion Lincoln-Sudbury on April 14. They also take on Medfield and play a road game against Bishop Guertin.
Byram Hills (N.Y.) was the Class C, Section 1 runner-up last season and brings back 16 players. Seniors Will Mykytiuk (midfield) and Jack Varsames (defense) will be counted on to lead a young team that lost a few key players to graduation. Juniors Hayden Fruhling (attack) and Ben Weinhoff (midfield) will be key performers.
Chaminade (N.Y.) has 17 players already committed to college and returning for Head Coach Jack Moran. The Flyers won 12 straight to start last year, but back-to-back losses ended their season. That final loss was to rival St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) in the CHSAA-AA championship. Chaminade and St. Anthony’s go back-and-forth winning the conference championship. The last time St. Anthony’s won back-to-back titles was the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Chaminde returns Cornell commit Alex Zepf in goal along with defenders Brendan McCabe (Michigan), Robbie Booth (Navy), Michael Guerriere (High Point) and Patrick Noonan (Denver). Yale commit James Ball returns to lead the face-off.
Garden City (N.Y.) should return a strong unit with face-off specialist Justin Coppola (Villanova) kicking off an offense that boasts James Basile (Vermont) and Holden Overbeck (Washington and Lee). Defenders Colin Hart (Brown), and Billy Kephart (Cornell) also return. The Trojans play Smithtown West early and have mid-season games against Shoreham-Wading River, St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) and Manhasset. The finish out the regular season with three-straight road games, including against Mt. Sinai.
Iona Prep (N.Y.) went 18-4 and won the New York Catholic AA title and should have a balanced attack and defense. Head coach Rick Trizano returns eight players from last year’s team, including five players already committed to play lacrosse in college.
Jamesville-DeWitt (N.Y.) brings back an attack unit with Connor Durkin (Hobart) and Tanner Burns (Brown) that scored 357 goals last season and reached the Class C title game. Goalie Jamison MacLachlan (Stony Brook) is a junior and helped lead the team to the state final.
John Jay-Cross River (N.Y.) reached the Class B championship last season and boasts a midfield unit with Dean Ford (Fairfield), Bryce Ford (Fairfield), Max Kesicki (Bryant), and Luke Mercer (Penn State).
Manhasset (N.Y.) brings back seven players from last year’s 17-3 season. The Indians’ season ended with a one-goal loss to John Jay-Cross River. The defense should be strong with Ed Arnold (Penn), Timothy Barrett (Boston), and Jake Tolentino (Georgetown) returning. The attack unit boasts Peter Lapina (Dartmouth) and Matt McAree (Scranton). Aidan Mulholland (Michigan) is one of the best midfielders in the Class of 2021. Head Coach Keith Cromwell plays Garden City on the road this season in addition to taking on Darien and Chaminade during the regular season.
Massapequa (N.Y.) is the defending Class A champion, but graduated leading scorers Colin Gleason (Siena) and Sam Lutfi (Hofstra). Returning are Jack Lutfi (St. John’s) at attack and Logan Tucker (Albany) at midfield. Defensemen AJ Pilate (Army) and Jake McNally (Tampa) also return.
Mt. Sinai (N.Y.) has a young squad with sophomore Joey Spallina (attack) leading the way. Spallina scored 131 points as a freshman and helped lead the Mustangs to the Suffolk Class C boys lacrosse title game. Spallina played on the varsity program as an 8th grader and comes into the year with 215 career points. Russell Maher (Virginia) will provide senior leadership at attack and midfield is anchored by Tyler Gatz (Utah) and Brandon Ventarola (Colgate). Jack Schirtzer (Maryland) and Michael Sabella (Stony Brook) lead the defense.
Pleasantville (N.Y.) moves up a classification this year - up to Class C after being the Section 1, Class D runner-up last season. The experience from last year will be key for head coach Chris Kear this season with 10 players returning. Jake Coleman (2020) Matt May (2021), Ray Raefksi (2020), Jack Collins (202) and Ryan Challice (2022) highlight the players returning.
Rye (N.Y.) won the Section 1 and Region Championship in Class C last year before falling to eventual state champion Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.) in the state semifinal. The Garnets return 19 players including All-American goalie Emmet Carroll and defender Brendan Lavelle. All but two of Rye’s starting offensive players also return.
Defending Class C champion Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.) brings back Xavier Arline and Johnny Schwarz (UNC) who accounted for seven of the Wildcats 12 goals in the state championship game last season. Arline enters the season with 359 points after scoring 137 points last season. The attackman should become the 29th player in New York history to reach 400 points with a shot at reaching 500.
Smithtown West (N.Y.) lost three games by a combined three goals last season - two of those in overtime. The Bulls bring back 11 college commits, including Conor Calderone (Maryland) at face-off and Danny Caddigan (Colgate) at attack. The offense scored 268 goals last season while the defense only allowed two teams to score more than nine goals against them. Ten goals was the max the defense allowed and both those goals occurred in the overtime losses to Garden City and Ward Melville.
St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) boasts a lineup with 19 players committed to college, including the No. 1 player in the nation, Brennan O’Neill (Duke). The Friars also have the No. 1 junior in Andrew McAdorey (Duke). Head Coach Keith Wieczorek led St. Anthony’s to a 15-1 record and posted wins over Darien, Loyola Academy, St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.), Manhasset, Delbarton (N.J.) and McDonogh (Md.).
Victor (N.Y.) has a trio of Albany commits to kickstart the offense this season. The Blue Devils offense scored 252 goals last year and return Camden Hay (Albany) and Joey Pezzimenti (Albany) at attack and Regan Endres (Albany) at face-off. Defensemen Cam Germain (St. Bonaventure) and Ethan Roberts (Seton HIll) also return. Head Coach Jim Andre has led Victor to four state titles and 127 wins since taking over the program in 2013. They won Class B titles in 2019, 2017 and 2015. They won a Class A title in 2016. No team has won back-to-back Class B championships since Garden City won in 2013 and 2012.
Ward Melville (N.Y.) went 15-5 and reached the Long Island Class A title game last year. Head Coach Jay Negus has led the Patriots to 103 wins and three state championships since taking over the program in 2014. Five Division I commits return to the lineup, with Penn commit Matthew Wang getting the offense started at the face-off.
La Salle Academy (R.I.) has won the last eight Division I championships and has reached the state title game every year since 2010. The Rams and Head Coach Steve O’Donnell return midfielders Brandon Young (Salisbury) and Antonio Topouzis (Cornell) along with attackman Brayden Edwards (Sacred Heart).
Champlain Valley (Vt.) has won the last five Division I championships and enter the season on an eight-game winning streak.