Previewing the Big 16 High School Invitational

Sunday November 19th marks the annual Big 16 High School Invitational at Cantiague Park in Hicksville, presented by Igloo. This high level tournament includes 16 varsity teams from across Nassau and Suffolk County as well as one team from Westchester. The 16 teams are broken up into groups of four with each playing against each other in their group in 40 minute games. Throughout the day there will be a number of college coaches in attendance for recruiting across a total of 33 different programs between divisions one, two, and three. Let’s preview the 16 teams competing this Sunday!

Group 1

Garden City- The Trojans are the reigning Class B State Champions and bring a team filled with all sophomores and juniors. As a team that always hangs their hat on the defensive end, players including Luke LeSueur, and Will Mattice, will be among the ones locking down opponents top offensive threats. At the face-off X Navy commit Luke Cascadden will be looked upon to get the ball to this offense, where players including Owen Wuchte (Bucknell), Dan Medjid, and Michael Berkery will provide the offense.

Shoreham-Wading River- The high powered offense of the wildcats will be on display, and expect the Duke bound senior Liam Kershis to be at the forefront as the X attackman. The midfield engineered by Hopkins commit Liam Gregorek just adds to the threat of this offense that will cause a lot of problems for teams especially when out in transition. As for the defense, goaltender Jaden Galfano (Fairfield) has been a stabilizer in the cage and is sure to compile a high volume of saves throughout the day.

Connetquot- The T-Birds who were the top seed in Class A last season, have a roster primarily filled with 24s and 25s. They have an attack combo between Carson Turissini and Jake Gallose (Quinnipiac) that each had breakout 2023 seasons and will look to provide a scoring a punch especially against stout defenses like Garden City and Farmingdale. From the midfield it will be players like Aydan Deliso and the speedy AJ Jeffares (St. Johns) to elevate this offense. Connetquot has two strong goaltenders in Connor FitzGibbon (Lincoln Memorial) and Colton Stellwagon that will be able to keep this team in a number of games.

Farmingdale- For the Dalers, they come in with a mixture of veteran upperclassmen along with young guns. At attack it begins with the seniors Caden Lennon (Bryant) and Brendan O’Keefe (Albany). This tandem has shown to be a lethal combination between Lennon being a pure sniper and O’Keefe as a dodger and being able to facilitate. The senior goalie Jimmy Caputo takes the reigns as the Dalers starting goalie, bringing sneaky athleticism and can develop the hot hand in a second.

Group 2

Manhasset- The defending Class C State Champions come into the Big 16 having graduated a lot last year, but some of their familiar faces who could be in for a big day are Daniel Kolin (Navy), and Patrick Arnold (Amherst). Kolin the X attackman stepped up on the big stage last spring and will use his combination of speed and athleticism to navigate to his spots. Look for the midfield of Manhasset to be sparked by the senior Mikey Mondiello, with the defense anchored by the pole Jack Mulholland (Dartmouth), and Matt Im in the cage.

Bronxville- The Broncos make the trip down to the island to see how they stack up against Long Island competition. They bring with them an elite goaltender in Luke Arrighi who’s heading to UNC next year. Arrighi has racked up over 600 saves throughout high school and his game will be pivotal for this Bronxville team in the group 2 bracket.

Lynbrook- An Owls team that will need production from the trio of Anthony Capitali, Luke Dantona, and Michael Hendrickson, who were among their top scorers last season that return for their senior year. Possibly the biggest key for the success of Lynbrook in this tournament will be the play of senior goalie Caiden Lung who’s likely to see a heavy dose of high quality shots from the oppositions in their group.

Hauppague- Two of the most productive offensive players for the Eagles will be seen in this tournament, and that would be the senior attackman Nick Uzakewicz (LIU), and the senior midfielder Kole Lemke. This duo filled it up last spring between the 59 assists from Uzakewicz, and the 41 goals from Lemke, which could be the primary recipe for their success this Sunday.

Group 3

Calhoun- Another team that may have graduated plenty of talent in 2023, but they have a junior attackman by the name of Harley Finkelstein who had a coming out party as a sophomore. Playing from X Finkelstein has great vision to set up others, along with a quick first step to beat his man one-on-one.

Half Hollow Hills- A team with high aspirations next spring, Hills gets to show why they have a lot to look forward to. It starts with UNC bound midfielder Anthony Raio who’s a five tool player, bringing it all on both offense and defense and will easily draw opponents top defensive pole. But Hills will also be dangerous between Nico Ghicas (Air Force) at the face-off X, the electrifying LSM Joe Filardi (Syracuse), and James Bruno leading the attack squad. A couple of potential X factors for this team will be the play between the lines and in the ground ball department by Ryan Chung, and the goalie play of Sal Santoro who has a near 60% save percentage.

Port Washington- As of the final four teams in Nassau Class A last season, one of the standouts on this team is their young gun in the net in freshman Max Eynon who saw plenty of action and played well in some of Port Washington’s biggest games. As for the Vikings offense, the Braunshweiger brothers of Steve and Joe will aim to ignite them over the course of their three games.

South Side- This Cyclones team has a number of threats across all areas of the field. One of the best face-off specialists in the ’24 class is Cornell commit Michael Melkonian who will look to get the ball to this offense that’s quarterbacked by Bryant bound Owen West. In addition to West, South Side will get production from both Cole DiPietro (Hobart) and Michael Aiello (Skidmore) which make this a tough group to stop. The defense will be anchored by defenseman Patrick Mullin (Providence), and in the net is the Middlebury commit Mike Muscarella.

Group 4

Syosset- When previewing the Braves, it has to start with their 2026 attackman Brody Waxer who put on a show in his freshman campaign. He plays the game beyond his years and will be force over the weekend as he can score from virtually anywhere on the field, and will also be a force on the ride where he can create turnovers leading to some breakaway opportunities. From the midfield look for Hopkins commit David Disque and Owen Azevedo to be key two-way components. Syosset also brings a defense that can change the tied of games between Will Cawley (Lehigh) and Evan Ostranger.

West Islip- A huge key to the play of the Lions on Sunday will be the sniper Quinn Reilly who was a real scoring threat last spring and will be finding the back of the net from distance with his cannon of a shot. They also have the attackman Derek Busking who can navigate his way around the crease and finish at ease. Defensively one of the biggest difference makers is the defensive midfielder Brendan Obloj (Flagler) who brings intangibles and is always in the mix for the 50/50 ground balls.

West Babylon- For this West Babylon team, the key will be seniors Liam Henshaw and Antosh Borawski, as this duo combined to put up 80 points during the 2023 season. In the net it will be the junior Brandon Ovaitte who saw plenty of action as a sophomore and totaled 81 saves last spring.

Nassau- This Nassau team will be a combined team featuring players from across the programs of Bethpage, Carey, and Cold Spring Harbor.


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