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LILJ Boy’s HSSE Mid-Season Review – 10 Team Recap, Player Stand-outs, and Playoff Predictions

Photo by Michaela Carroll Photography

Happy Easter and Holiday to everyone! I hope you all stayed happy and healthy during this holiday weekend. Since there were no games this past weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to check out each team’s record, stand-out players, and their upcoming match-ups as each team makes their push towards the playoffs. Be sure to click below to learn more about all the awesome teams in our HSSE.

Montauk Green (4-0)

To start off the team review, we will look at the free agent team of Montauk Green. A collection of lacrosse talent that is tough for any team to keep up with. Their closest game was against Syosset in an 8-7 win. Montauk’s offense presents a challenge to any defense, and their tough defense will disrupt any offensive scheme. The real story of this team is their defense because seven goals was the most goals scored by any team against Montauk.

Montauk’s offense runs through their star attack/midfielder Joseph Ottomanelli who has scored nine goals on the season. Their offense is riddled with talent including Matthew Perfetto, Christopher Maichin, and Liam Lennon. All these guys can score from any position on the field. On defense,  Montauk’s goalie, Owen Connolly has proven to be one of the best goalies in this league. This team is going to be hard to stop going into the playoffs as they continue to improve their chemistry.

In the last week of the season, Montauk will face off against the Saints. This match-up could potentially be for the number one seed in the playoffs so a lot will be on the line. I am extremely excited to see these teams go at it because the Saints defense has a chance to slow down the Montauk offense. But, it will come down to Montauk’s ability on offense to get everyone involved forcing the Saints to play perfect defense.

I think Montauk will squeak by the Saints to secure the one seed in the playoffs and finish the season 6-0. Once again, the more time this team plays together, the greater chemistry each player will have with each other.

Smithtown East (4-0)

A team that has gone under radar, but is extremely talented is Smithtown East. Taking care of business in their four games during the HSSE season, Smithtown East has shown how tough they are. Smithtown East beat Commack 7-5 in their last game with a heroic goal by Owen Carroll to seal the game. This team’s offense can also score at will. The difference between Smithtown East and Montauk Green is chemistry. Many of these boys have played with each other for years and this will be important during the playoffs. They also have such a large team that can pump up the boys after a great play.

Chris Cappelmann leads the team with eight goals on the season. Him, Carroll, and Joe Hobot find ways to score on any defense. Hobot is especially valuable because of the face-offs. He can win and score off a face-off which can swing momentum drastically. Matt Mangels on defense is a big body that plays amazing defense. He checks well and finds ways to jar the ball loose from offensive players then clears the ball quickly and safely.

Smithtown East expects to be the one seed by the end of the season. In their last game of the season, they will be playing Syosset. If Montauk or the Saints win out, it will take a huge win for Smithtown to overcome the goal differential and take over the number one seed. Expect Smithtown to come out firing on all cylinders to obtain the one seed that week.

I do think that Smithtown East will defeat Syosset in the last game, but I don’t think they will catch Montauk in goal differential. Smithtown East will finish 6-0 and be the second seed for the playoffs. They will be confident and hungry to prove they really are the best team in this league so I would watch out for them in the playoffs!

The Saints (3-0)

One of the loudest in the league, the Saints come to every game ready to win. We only got to see one game from them this weekend, but they beat Syosset 12-5. The Saints have a large goal differential from winning their games by so many points. This has to do with their formidable defense. They like to talk on defense and get physical with their opponents throwing strong checks any time they can. Then, their offense has enough talent to complement their strong defense.

Their leader on the defense, Luke Martin is the spark for this team. He cheers when his teammates make a great play, but will let a teammate know when they made a mistake. Patrick Carragher leads the team with 11 goals. He was featured in our GLE Performance top 5 plays of the week last week with an incredible scoop and score goal. Check Instagram for that highlight! Colin Gols (a fitting name) also contributes to the Saints offense scoring five goals on the season.

The biggest game of the season for the Saints will be against Montauk Green in the last week of the season. The number one seed will be on the line for both teams and also for Smithtown East. If the Saints can pull together a win, they virtually can secure the number one seed even with one less game played. But, the last week of the season for the boy’s league will be an exciting one that you don’t want to miss.

I expect the Montauk Green vs. The Saints game will be the game of the season. Two undefeated titans going at it for the one seed, what more could you ask for. But, I think Montauk will edge by the Saints pulling the Saints all the way to the 3rd seed with a record of 4-1.

Cold Spring Harbor (2-0)

After missing both days of games last weekend, Cold Spring Harbor will look come back next week ready to prove themselves to the league. CSH handedly beat Ward Melville and Commack in their first two games. CSH scored at will against those opponents, but will have to show us how strong  their offense is against better defenses.

Leading the team in goals, CJ Reilly has scored eight goals and assisted on two goals. As a sophomore, Reilly came into this league as just an underclassman, but now he has shown how important he is to this team. This team is led by three Seniors: Ben Bruno, Will Spehr and Max Hawkinson. Bruno and Spehr are stud football players so their presence may be sporadic in this league. Max Hawkinson has been an animal so far in league. He is responsible for the face-offs for this team and he has won 27 out of 35 face-offs thus far. I hope to see more of this team in the upcoming weeks!

Next week, CSH will take on Smithtown East in CSH’s first game in three weeks. This game will be a tough test for CSH, but if they can get back into their flow during this game, they could gain a lot of confidence going into the playoffs. To defeat Smithtown, CSH will have to play at their own pace and not allow Smithtown’s defense to dictate the pace of the game.

It will be tough for CSH to come back and beat Smithtown, but they can beat North Babylon on the last week of the season giving them 3-1 record. This could sneak them into the 4th seed of the playoffs and create a scary matchup for any team.

Ward Melville (2-2)

Probably the shock of the season, Ward Melville’s season started slow losing their first two games, but came back last weekend and won both games last weekend. In an thriller against Commack, Ward Melville won 9-8 with two incredible saves by Davon DiFede to seal the game. Then, they dominated North Babylon 14-2. Ward Melville found the spark they needed to compete with any team in this league as one of the younger teams. This team is firing on all cylinders and is playing a very unselfish, high-energy, team style of lacrosse.

Leading his team with 18 points, Nikolas Barbero has scored nine goals and assisted on nine. The offense runs through Barbero and he has the unique ability to score when he wants, but also understands when to get his teammates involved. One of his favorite teammates to find is Nick Bruckner who has scored five goals. But, Ward Melville has three stud goalies that are able to split time and still be effective. DiFede, Charlie Giachetti, and Benjamin Thayer all share time on the field and there is no drop off from one goalie to the next.

Next week, Ward Melville will go to war against the Saints. This game will be a gauge for Ward Melville on how good this team can be. If Ward Melville can compete with one of the top teams in the league, then their confidence will only grow and they will think they can beat any team in this league. It will take a strong performance from Barbero and Ward Melville’s goalies to shock the HSSE world. It can happen though!

I think this Easter weekend break may hurt Ward Melville more than help. They were catching fire last weekend and a break may halt the momentum that they would ride until the end of the season. I think they will start slow against the Saints and never recover, but winning their last game against Montauk Pink ending the season a 3-3 record. They will be fighting with Syosset for the 5th seed and it depends on the goal differential by both teams, but I think Ward Melville will finish 5th.

Syosset (2-2)

Syosset started the season with a nail-biting win against North Babylon which would be a theme for this season. Then, Syosset lost to Montauk Green by one goal, but beat Montauk Pink by one goal with a buzzer beating shot by AJ Alexander. I’ve noticed that Syosset starts a game strong, but lets their foot off the gas in the second half creating close games that are hard to win. Syosset knows that they will have to play better second halves in the playoffs or they risk losing another close game.

Nicholas Accardo and AJ Alexander run the offense for Syosset. Both players have scored big goals in big moments for their teams. Then, they also play tough defense against some of the better offensive players on the other team. Their star FOGO Luca Accardo has had some troubles this season winning face-offs. But, this season is going to be good practice for the real season in April and Luca may be trying new strategies.

In their last game of the season, Syosset will take on Smithtown East. This may be a great match-up for Syosset because Smithtown will be more worried about scoring a lot of goals to secure the one seed. So, Syosset could take advantage of their aggressiveness and slow down the game and play at their own pace. Watch out for a low-scoring game that may end with a win for Syosset.

I think Syosset will finish 3-3 and will battle with Ward Melville for the 5th seed in the playoffs. I believe Syosset will fall to the 6th seed though thanks to the close games they have been in.

Calhoun (1-2)

Calhoun plays a fast-paced game that involves a lot of goals by a couple of brothers. They have lost to the Saints and Smithtown this season, so those two losses were against tough opponents. Their schedule  includes the top three seeds in the league, so even if they finish towards the bottom, they still are a tough team to play. So, don’t just look at their record when evaluating this team.

The Vieni brothers headline Calhoun’s offensive scheme. Alex Vieni leads the team with six points including five goals. Both these brothers run pick and rolls to free up the other for a goal. We saw that in overtime against Ward Melville when Alex found his brother Braeden for the game-winning goal after running a pick and roll. Peter Thoman leads the defense for Calhoun by providing strong defense and a garage gym known as Thoman Gym.

Next week, Calhoun will face Montauk Green. This game will be another tough match-up for Calhoun, but a good game to see how strong their team is. The Vieni brothers will be the focus point for Montauk’s defense, so players like Jonathan Lewis or Peter Thoman will have to pick up the scoring load for Calhoun.

Calhoun might lose against Montauk, but come back the last week and beat Commack making their record 2-3. They will finish as the 7th seed, but I would be nervous to run into Calhoun during the playoffs.

North Babylon (0-4), Commack (0-4), Montauk Pink (0-4)

For our last three teams, we will look at them together because they will probably run into each other in the play-in game. North Babylon is an exciting team to watch, but it takes them about a half to get into the flow of the game. Their weakness has come on the defensive end. They’ve been great with Timmy Vine in net, but struggle without his presence. Amir Slaughter sparks momentum for the team by his presence between the lines. Jack Cornell has been the leader on defense and will need to take control of the defense in later weeks. I’d like to see Mike Hardiman and Ian Votta take the reigns on the offensive end to get more production for this squad.

Commack started the season slow, but has heated up of late. Their last two games came down to the wire, but they lost both of them. Jason LeMay missed the first week of the season, but has played very well for Commack in the past weeks. He can carry a team in the playoffs so never count this team out when LeMay is playing. Richie Yopp has also played well for Commack as their goalie. A team with an unstoppable offensive player like LeMay and an immovable goalie like Yopp is a good recipe for upset city! Also, don’t sleep on Tristan McMahon, who has been a terror at the LSM position all season long.

Our second free agent team, Montauk Pink hasn’t clicked yet this season. A team of young talented players may take a little longer to mesh. As expected, Montauk starts their games slowly but starts to get in the flow of the game closer towards the second half. Their attack, made up of Chris Bergersen, Alex Siegel and Hayden Calabretta have been the stars on the offense. Calabretta is the point guard of this team that runs the offense and doesn’t need to score in order to contribute on offense. Their defense is very solid as well. If they can continue to hold things down with defensive guys like Aidan Carello, Matt Pantorno, and Joe Bleck, they can make some noise and punch a ticket to the elite 8. They will also need continued production from face-off standout Shaun Hill.

All tree of these teams will struggle to be a top 6 team going into the playoffs, meaning they will all be ‘playing their way into’ the Elite 8. With a lot of lacrosse to be played, it will be exciting to see which team rises up come playoff weekend, which goes down on April 17th & 18th.

Thank you for reading my mid-season recap. This is how I have evaluated all the teams in this league and if you think I missed something or disagree with me, please comment below what you think! Also comment who the best team in this league is and what your favorite moment of the Boy’s High School Spring Experience has been so far!

 

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