The pain after breaking his left collarbone was severe; it limited mobility in his shoulder, yet Seaford's Danny Speicher said the real agony was watching the boys' lacrosse team's first-round playoff exit last season.
"I was crushed," said Speicher, who was injured during a practice last April but still led the team in points. "I broke down and I was really upset. Mentally, I was thinking I could play but after the X-ray, they said I was done. It hurt a lot emotionally but it motivated me for this season."
Seaford was 1-3 after the attackman was sidelined, including a 9-4 loss to North Shore in a Class C quarterfinal playoff game at Hofstra. After ending the 2012 season at 7-9, contributions by a healthy Speicher in 2013 have made quite a difference.
With four games remaining, Seaford is 10-1 overall and 4-0 in Conference IV. Playing in every game this season, Speicher, a senior, is one of 11 high school players on Long Island with more than 25 goals and 25 assists, according to statistics reported to Newsday.
"We aim high and our goal is to hopefully win every conference game," coach Mike Corcoran said.
Despite not playing in the winter for the first time in seven years, according to Corcoran, Seaford is more athletic this season and plays at a fast pace. The team averages 13 points per game, with Matt Murphy's 30 goals leading the way.
"We have confidence playing with each other and a lot of guys on both sides have stepped up," Murphy said.
After defeating several struggling teams this season, Seaford has a chance to prove it's a serious contender when it takes on two Conference IV powerhouses this week. Seaford will play a road game against Friends Academy (8-1, 3-0) Wednesday and will host Cold Spring Harbor (8-3, 4-0) on Saturday.
Speicher, in a healthier mood than he was a year ago, is relishing the opportunity.
"I'm looking forward to those matchups a lot," Speicher said.
"I think we're on a whole other level of improvement. We can definitely compete with them."