The 2023 high school graduating class are now in the beginning of the next chapter in their lacrosse careers, taking their game to that next level at various collegiate programs across the country. Many of them spent a lot of time throughout their high school playing days as “the guy” or a primary focal point in their team’s success. Now, that will change for most as freshmen in college often times have to wait until their time comes, playing behind upperclassmen. However, sometimes there are those that don’t have to spend much time waiting and can step onto the field right away and be a difference maker in that first year. Whether that’s because of a large graduating class the previous year positionally, a new coaching staff, injuries, or they just have a high level of talent that gets them on the field immediately, it’s without question that Long Island has some now college freshmen in men’s lacrosse that could quite possibly make some noise in their first year at the collegiate level.
Owen Duffy (UNC)- The attackman out of St. Anthony’s had an unbelievable three year run with the Friars and now suits up for the Tar Heels taking his uber competitive drive, supreme athleticism and dynamic scoring and feeding abilities to one of the top teams in the ACC.
Jake Spallina (Syracuse)- Whether it’s at the face-off X or as a natural midfielder, Spallina has excelled at both aspects of the game for Mt. Sinai and now brings his versatility up to Cuse where his skills could prove to be a valuable asset for the Orangemen this upcoming season as they continue to climb the ladder in the ACC and nationally.
Andrew Miller (Army West Point)- One of the most gifted pure athletes to come off the island in the 2023 class was Miller out of Northport, and his offensive game as a long pole could bring a different element to West Point who were the Patriot League Champions last season.
Stevie Finnell (Duke)- As Duke aims to go from really good to the best in the nation, Finnell is certainly equipped to help take the Blue Devil’s to an even higher status. Finnell is another one of the supreme athletes in the 2023 class, he has the intangibles of a high lax IQ, and brings that willingness to do whatever it takes to win which is something the island saw plenty of from him with the Garden City Trojans.
Gavin Creo (Richmond)- Creo represents exactly what coaches want first and foremost from an attackman which is a natural goal scorer. He’s an explosive dodger from X and sets up defensemen with his deceptiveness and is a great finisher around the crease which will only enhance this Spiders team that was just outside the top 20 last season.
Cole Webber (UVA)- The Cavaliers welcome a different animal on the defensive side in Webber who’s been the anchor of the back-to-back state champion Garden City Trojans. Webber’s combination of speed, and brute strength have made him a matchup nightmare for offensive opponents and that will surely be the case at the next level for a Virginia team that concluded last year as the third ranked team in the country.
Jack Archer (LeHigh)- Although LeHigh does see a lot of returning midfielders, Archer’s game as a complete middie could still see him take the field in year one making impact plays on either end of the field as the Mountain Hawks once again contend to be one of the top teams in the Patriot League.
Tyler Guiliano (LIU)- Guiliano has the power to match up against against different type of offensive players which is what will make him extremely valuable for the Sharks. He also has a wide range of ground that he can cover on the field whether it’s on the wings, up top or behind the cage.
Brett Spallina (Syracuse)- At LSM Spallina actually makes his living in coverage as opposed to on the offensive end and brings that element of toughness that a defense now led by Defensive Coordinator John Odierna is looking for. He’s also another long pole that provides the ability to cover offensive players that have many different styles of play.
Christian Colantonio (Marist)- The lefty Colantonio is on the heels of a huge senior season for Mt. Sinai. He can play both attack and middie and is a pure scorer on the offensive end with a burst in his game that can bolster the offense of the 2023 MAAC Champions.
Cole Marsala (Quinnipiac)- Marsala finds the back of the net at ease especially around the crease which made him one the top scorers on the island in the ’23 class. In addition his catch and shoot scoring Marsala also presents the field vision to be a very good facilitator and now will be a big part of the future of Bobcats.
Tyler Moore (St. Joseph’s)- With a large group of midfielders graduating after last season, this could present an opportunity for those in that freshman class like Moore to potentially see the field. Moore is a big, physical lefty that can find the back of the net from distance, and also dish the rock leading to the success of teammates. This year St. Joseph’s looks to take that next step after appearing in the Atlantic 10 semifinals last season.
Cole Aasheim (UNC)- The last couple years Aasheim has been tasked with covering opposing teams top attackmen. The Tar Heels welcome one of the top recruits who is an absolute clamp on defense that has a great knack for creating turnovers and clears the ball at an extremely high rate. UNC does have a lot of returning defensemen but with Aasheim’s skills he can surely be a difference maker in year one.
Joseph Valenza (Siena)- The Saints are getting a player in Valenza that wreaks havoc all over the field as an LSM. He’s more than capable of letting it rip from distance on offense, can lead a transition break, and on the defensive end he hunts down the opposition looking for turnovers.
James Lapina (Boston University)- At defensive middie Lapina is all about doing the dirty work and is the definition of wanting it more, as he makes those big plays between the lines. Anytime there is a scrum of players fighting for a ground ball, Lapina always appears to be right there in the thick of things and is often times the one that comes away with it.
Justin Bonacci (Stony Brook)- Bonacci is a dual threat midfielder that can make defenses pay with his ability to get off his shot in a hurry, and his field vision and decisiveness with pinpoint accuracy leading to a bevy of assisted goals. The now Comsewogue alumn travels not too far up the road to the join the Seawolves who were only a few goals short of winning the CAA Championship last season.