Syosset is on top of the heap again in Class A boys lacrosse
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Defending county Class A champ Syosset returns nearly every key contributor and was picked as the No. 1 seed in the preseason coaches poll.
"The first midfield line will be the strength of our team," coach John Calabria said. That midfield consists of five-year starter John Diaz and three-year starters Andrew Keith and Alex Hatzopoulos.
"Diaz is the do-it-all dirty-work midfielder that every team hopes for and you try to develop that kid," Calabria said. "Having that experience in high school lacrosse -- plus all three have college commitments locked up -- these guys are like coaches on the field. They've been around a long time and we're just looking to figure out as coaches how to get them playing their best lacrosse in May."
"He bailed those kids out and won that game for us," Calabria said. "That went a long way for his confidence. He's that kind of kid -- he doesn't get rattled."
Massapequa, led by explosive attack Ian Kirby and Georgetown-bound midfielder Craig Berge, dealt Syosset its only regular season loss down the stretch and was just a goal short of winning the Nassau crown. The Chiefs are second in the preseason coach's poll.
Farmingdale, two years removed from a state championship, returns a lineup that lacks explosiveness but will be a contender for a top-four playoff seed. Port Washington will be in the mix for a home game in the quarterfinals as well.
Led by returning All-Long Island attack and Duke bound Justin Guterding, the Trojans' offense will look different this season but the potential for explosiveness remains.
The biggest loss may be Newsday's 2012 Long Island Player of the Year Devin Dwyer and the onus will be on Guterding (52 goals, 40 assists) to lead a young offensive unit.
"Justin has played at a very high level," Garden City coach Steve Finnell said. "He's very good at distributing the ball -- he can feed as well as he can shoot. I don't know if people realize that he's such a complete attackman."
Defensively, the Trojans will return the steady duo of Ed Blatz and Scott D'Antonio but will need to replace All-American goalkeeper Dan Marino.
Expect a big season out of sophomore James Sullivan, who was instrumental as a faceoff specialist last year.
"James could have played for us last year full-time," Finnell said. "We thought with the group that we had it was best for him to be a faceoff specialist and he won over 70 percent and it proved to be invaluable. James is a two-way midfielder -- he's going to do it all."
Wantagh will rely on the offensive abilities of Brandon Watson and Kyle Cain and has an experienced goalkeeper in Will Fitzpatrick. The Warriors still feel the sting of last year's 14-1 loss to Garden City in the county title game and will be looking for revenge when the teams meet on April 17.
Perennial contender Manhasset is the preseason favorite in Conference III and will be a factor in the playoffs.
Cold Spring Harbor returns dynamic junior Jordan Walter and senior Allen Winkoff in the midfield and four-year starter Jake Gennosa as a shutdown long stick midfielder. A young but experienced and athletic team is the favorite to repeat as county champions.
Friends Academy, led by junior attack man Will Sands, looks to get back to the county championship game for the third straight year.