Continuing our top 20 preseason rankings, we put the spotlight on the 16th ranked Huntington Blue Devils. They won a total of 12 games and obtained the fourth overall seed in Suffolk Class A. After winning their first playoff game since 2013 and appearing in the semifinals last season, they come back as team that is once again ready to contend and make another deep playoff run. Julian Watts enters his sixth season as head coach and gave his thoughts about what he feels will be important to their success. “Enthusiasm and discipline is something we mentioned a lot this off-season. Maximizing our effort in practice and approaching everyday with a good attitude will be keys to our success.”
The Blue Devils have a core group of seniors that return who will be the driving force of the team. Leading the way will be Yale commit Anthony Annunziata. Entering this season as a team captain, Annunziata is one of the leaders on this team along with being one of the premiere players on the island with his versatility as a great face-off specialist/two-way midfielder. In 2022 he had a face-off winning percentage of 75% and provided a burst of offense with 21 goals and 10 assists.
Another one of their senior midfielders returning is team captain Mikey Kline the RPI commit. Kline gives them toughness and heart that every contending team needs and he contributed with seven goals and nine assists last year for 16 points.
Some of their midfielders who will see enhanced minutes this season include juniors Dan McNulty, and Thomas Girimonti as well as sophomore Colin Lennon. They will be replacing 2022 graduates Chris Maichin and Aidan McNulty. Dan McNulty and Girimonti both saw plenty of minutes in the LILJ HSWL going against teams who they will be seeing a lot of this spring. Unfortunately one big piece that will be absent due to injury is sophomore midfielder Timmy McDonald who was projected to have a breakout season.
Huntington’s attack will look different this season without Robbie Smith and Liam Lennon who were part of the class of 2022, but with the play of current senior Tyler Johnson who saw action in the winter league, he’ll be a key component of their attack unit this season.
As for Huntington’s defense, this was a strength for them last season, allowing only six goals per game. They will once again be backed by captain SammyMac Arner in the net who returns for his second season as the starting goalie in his senior year. He tallied 102 saves last season. The biggest key on this end will be the play of defenseman/LSM Aidan Carrello who’s committed to Georgetown. Carrello is one of their captains, and brings elite on-ball defense matching up against the opposing team’s top offensive players. He also does the dirty work that’s necessary to win games like hunting down every ground ball, and can carry the ball up the field to ignite transition. He provided Huntington with three pole goals last season.
The 2023 schedule opens up with an annual non-league game against neighboring Cold Spring Harbor on March 24th. Looking at their opponents in conference, some of their notable league matchups include at Connetquot (4/4), at Hills (4/20), at Ward Melville (4/27), and home against Northport (5/3).