Coming in at No. 6 in our top 20 rankings are the Mt. Sinai Mustangs as they enter this season after appearing the last two Long Island Championships. Although the 2022 season did not end the way they would have liked, they are aiming to put themselves in a position where they will have a chance to take home the LIC and possibly a state championship this season. They may have graduated a generational talent in Joey Spallina, but they still return a supremely talented cast of players that have an opportunity to write their own script.
Next up in our top 20 teams are the Ward Melville Patriots at No. 7. This is another one of Long Island’s long standing programs with a rich history of success, and this season won’t be any different as they will be right in the thick of things in Suffolk Class A. They aim to rebound after last season’s narrow defeat in the semifinals. Head Coach Jay Negus who has been leading this team since 2013 says that they lost a lot of seniors from last year, and he will be waiting to see which players step up this year.
Checking in at No. 8 in the LILJ top 20 rankings are the Phantoms of Bayport Blue Point. This Suffolk Class C team has made plenty of noise in recent years under Head Coach Doug Meehan who has been at the position for five seasons. This year the Phantoms will be right back in the thick of things as they strive to get over last year’s hump of the semis and contend for a county title, Long Island Championship, and beyond. Coach Meehan shared with the LILJ the things that excite him about the 2023 season. “Stellar goal tending with a two headed monster. Total team offense with threats everywhere. Under the radar defense that is showing an aggressive physicality. Nice compliment of older and younger players. No egos, coachable group, working hard.”
Climbing inside the top 10 of our preseason rankings we highlight the two-time reigning Class A Long Island Champions and 2022 NYS runner-ups the Northport Tigers. After coming so close to winning the 2022 state championship, they will aim to make another run at it this season, but will have to go through some very stiff competition. Third year Head Coach Larry Cerasi says that he’s excited to compete in Suffolk Class A against some of the most talented lacrosse programs in the country.
Coming down to the top 10 teams remaining in our top 20 rankings, it’s the South Side Cyclones landing at No.10. This Nassau County contender is back in Class B after spending the 2022 season in Class C where they appeared in the county final. Head Coach Steve DiPietro has been the head man in charge since 2008, and says his team is embracing the high expectations. “Iron sharpens Iron…Tremendous schedule that will get us battle tested for the challenges ahead. Good amount of returning players and embracing high expectations.”
As we are now inside the top 10 of our preseason rankings we get to No. 9 the Mustangs of Mt. Sinai. This year they will look to rebound after a disappointing exit in the Suffolk Class C Quarterfinals last year after suffering some significant injuries to multiple key players. They are back with a healthy team and have a new voice in the locker room with Shayna Pirecca taking over as the head coach. With supreme talent returning for the 2023 season, the Mustangs will look to capitalize on the opportunity they have this year.
As we now jump into the 10 remaining teams in our top 20 ahead of next week’s season openers, we get to No. 10 in our rankings the Rocky Point Eagles. This Suffolk Class C contender will be a serious threat to appear in the LIC in what is the deepest conference on the island. Last year they made a push to the semifinals where they were defeated by Bayport Blue Point, but come back after gaining that playoff experience under their belt. For Head Coach Mike Sanchez and his team the goal is simple. It’s to be playing in the last game of the season.
One of Long Island’s most successful high school programs the Farmingdale Dalers land at No. 11 in our top 20 rankings. Every year since 1974 they have found themselves in the playoffs and this season looks to be no different. After being defeated in the Nassau Class A Semifinals a year ago the Dalers have high hopes of getting over the hump and competing for a county title, LIC, and state championship. Head Coach Mike Hungerford will rely on large group of returning seniors and upperclassmen to bring this team to championship level status.
Coming in at No. 12 in our top 20 rankings are the Connetquot Thunderbirds who have a lot to be excited about in 2023! They went 9-7 overall and appeared in the Class A playoffs last season as a five seed before being narrowly defeated by Huntington in the quarter finals. This year they will be fighting in a wide open conference for both a County and Long Island Championship and have the bulk of their team returning to do so.
Continuing with our top 20 rankings ahead of next week’s season openers for Long Island high school lacrosse, we get to 13th ranked Comsewogue of Suffolk Class B. The Warriors have a rich history as they have made the playoffs for 33 consecutive years. Leading the way is longtime Head Coach Pete Mitchell who has guided them to back-to-back appearances in the Long Island Championship. Coach Mitchell describes his 2023 team as a hard working group with a lot of competition that has big game experience.