The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island boys lacrosse team. Front row,...

The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island boys lacrosse team. Front row, from left: Matthew Kephart of Garden City, Dante Vardaro of St. Anthony's, David Disque of Syosset, Michael Melkonian of South Side, Jimmy Caputo of Farmingdale, Anthony Raio of Half Hollow Hills, Quinn Ball of Chaminade and Luke Breslin of St. Anthony's. Back row, from left:: Coach Doug Meehan of Bayport-Blue Point, Jake Martini of Wantagh, Matt McIntee of East Islip, Jack Mulholland of Manhasset, Mike Luce of Bayport-Blue Point, Tommy Snyder of St. Anthony's, Giancarlo Valenti of Northport, Michael Aiello of South Side and Coach Steve DiPietro of South Side. Credit: James Escher

Newsday Player of the Year: Michael Melkonian, South Side, FO, Sr.

The faceoff X marked the spot where Michael Melkonian dominated, helping the Cyclones win games and helping this specialist win compliments from coaches and teammates along the route to the state Class B championship.

“They have a fantastic faceoff guy,” Yorktown coach Tim Schurr said after Melkonian went 19-3 in the state semifinal.

“Melkonian is definitely a special talent. He’s going to do great things in college,” Warwick coach Tom Kelly said after the Cornell commit went 19-1 in the Southeast Regional final, including one ball he scooped up and took all the way for a goal.

Michael Melkonian of South Side.

Michael Melkonian of South Side. Credit: James Escher

Fellow South Side senior Owen West called him “the best faceoff kid in the country.”

So the Cyclones had the ball a lot. They went 21-1 after Melkonian went 365-88 on faceoffs, including 130-20 across their seven postseason games. He also collected 266 ground balls and contributed 12 goals and six assists.

“I just think once I get a little bit of a groove on, I think I can just control the game,” Melkonian said when asked about his faceoff prowess, “and I can make sure I get the ball to my teammates or I can push it to myself and just help us get opportunities to score some goals.”

The four-year varsity player set program records with this skill. They were for faceoff wins in a career (847), faceoff win percentage in a season (80.6% in 2024) and faceoff win percentage in a career (75.1%).

“He’s been training and doing this since about third grade,” South Side coach Steve DiPietro said. “He goes to all the trainings. He learns different techniques. He learns from other guys. … He’s fast enough and athletic enough to run away from guys. He can win it to himself. He can win it forward, backward. So he’s got the full complement in his tool box.”

Suffolk Player of the Year: Anthony Raio, Half Hollow Hills, M, Jr.

A day before Half Hollow Hills faced Northport in the Class A Suffolk title game, coach Connor Hagans shared that Raio had shot 100 balls on his non-dominant left hand amid a shooting session. There’s no stopping Raio’s pursuit of perfection, and sure enough a day later the junior scored the game-winning goal off his left side.

“He’s the type of kid you always want to coach,” Hagans said. “And I’m spoiled, because I’ve had him for so long. He makes my job look very easy.”

Anthony Raio of Half Hollow Hills.

Anthony Raio of Half Hollow Hills. Credit: David Meisenholder

Raio joined Half Hollow Hills West as an eighth-grader in 2021 — before the program merged with Hills East in 2022 — and immediately scored the second-most goals (24) on the team. Even as a sophomore, when Raio jumped from 48 points to 90, Hagans said it wasn’t hard to foresee what the North Carolina commit would become once he grew and matured.

Hagans wasn’t wrong. The North Carolina commit led Long Island in both goals (75) and points (119), both serving as single-season records in the program. Raio also fed 44 assists while leading Hills to its first Suffolk title since Hills West won it in 1993. Yet it’s his mindset that Hagans appreciates, the willingness to put in the time while also remaining humble about his accomplishments.

“Every year he’s gotten better,” Hagans said. “Every year his work ethic and the things that he does gets taken to the next level.”

That may be the scariest part of the equation, at least for other Long Island schools. Raio has one more year of high school left, with one more year to grow and one more year to chase the few remaining accolades the star midfielder has left to earn. With one of those things being a Long Island title, Hagans said there will be even higher expectations for his star player in 2025.

And frankly, that’s exactly how Raio would want it.

“He’s going to be uncoverable next year,” Hagans said. “If he continues to be the humble player that he is and continues to put in the work, he’s going to have a phenomenal senior year that most kids won’t be able to replicate.”

Newsday's All-Long Island teams for the spring 2024 season came to Melville for a special photo shoot. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Anthony Florio


Mike Aiello, South Side, A, Sr.

Aiello played an extra-large role in the Cyclones’ state championship season, leading them in goals (59), assists (43) and points (102). He delivered three goals in the Class B final against Victor, including one to force overtime with eight-tenths of a second left in regulation. Coach Steve DiPietro praised the Skidmore commit’s riding, feeding and finishing ability, saying that he scores “big goals when you need them” and calling him “a complete attackman.”

Quinn Ball, Chaminade, FO, Jr.

Ball stood out at the faceoff X, winning 249 out of 313, good for 79.6%, and he had 163 ground balls. The Penn commit, who improved from a 64% win rate and 73 ground balls as a sophomore, also stayed on the field to play offense or defense, with coach Jack Moran calling him “a complete midfielder” and a “leader by effort.”

Luke Breslin, St. Anthony’s, A, Sr.

Breslin was the leading goal scorer and point producer for the Friars’ NSCHSAA Class AAA and CHSAA AAA state championship team, contributing 42 goals and 62 points as a second-year starter. Coach Keith Wieczorek described the Lehigh commit and captain as the “quarterback of our offense” and “our straw that stirred the drink down there and got things going.”

Jimmy Caputo, Farmingdale, G, Sr.

Caputo spent years learning from talented Farmingdale goalies like Syracuse’s Mike Ippoliti and St. John’s Danny Seaman, fitting for a player coach Eric Dunne described as “a student of the game.” Caputo must have taken impeccable notes as now a year later as the entrenched starter, the senior saved 226 shots to help Farmingdale reach the state championship game and won the James C. Metzger MVP award in the Class A Long Island championship game for his nine-save performance. In Dunne’s words, the Dalers “ride and die by Jimmy Caputo” for the value he brings on and off the field.

David Disque, Syosset, M, Sr.

Do-it-all Disque played as a midfielder and an attacker at times for Syosset, all contributing to his 93-point season within Class A and the Nassau Power League. The Johns Hopkins commit had 60 goals, 33 assists, 52 ground balls and 16 caused turnovers, with coach John Calabria praising Disque’s leadership and his “dominance on the field day after day.”

Matt Kephart, Garden City, D, Sr.

Kephart, in his fourth season starting, led the Trojans in caused turnovers with 29 and had 50 ground balls. Coach Steve Finnell labeled the Princeton commit, who also played some as a long stick midfielder, as the “defensive leader” on a team that allowed less than five goals per game on average.

Liam Kershis, Shoreham-Wading River, A, Sr.

Kershis leaves Shoreham-Wading River with 329 career points, with 86 of them coming during his senior season after scoring 39 goals and feeding 47 assists. Coach Mike Taylor praised Kershis’ in-game IQ and top-tier athleticism, which allows the Duke commit to “seamlessly combine the roles of feeder and dodger, making him like another coach on the field.” Taylor added that Kershis “measures up to the best” of past alumni.

Mike Luce, Bayport-Blue Point, D, Sr.

Luce contributed 16 goals and eight assists and much, much more for his state Class C championship team. Coach Doug Meehan said the Boston University commit “erases the best offensive player on the other team. He sparks our transition game in the clear. And he’s a human vacuum on faceoffs and wings, and also scores goals. Does everything.”

Jake Martini, Wantagh, M, Sr.

Martini produced 81 points for his Nassau Class C championship team, contributing 46 goals and 35 assists. Coach James Polo praised the Army commit and four-year starter, citing his leadership ability as well as “the speed, power and athleticism that makes him an elite player on the field.”

Matt McIntee, East Islip, M, Sr.

McIntee led East Islip to its first Suffolk Class B title in program history, completing a terrific high school career with an 84-point season. The Syracuse commit’s speed and vision plagued defenders all season as he scored 34 goals and fed 50 assists, the latter of which ranks second in Suffolk and fourth on Long Island. Coach Thomas Zummo called McIntee’s impact “unmeasurable” and stated that without McIntee, “we don’t have the success we had this season.”

East Islip High School boys lacrosse player Matt McIntee received the Ray Enners award as Suffolk's top boys lacrosse player Wednesday. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Jack Mulholland, Manhasset, D, Sr.

Mulholland’s efforts and leadership on the field helped Manhasset reach the Nassau Class B title game. Coach Keith Cromwell described Mulholland’s play with three words: “Athletic, physical, mean.” That gritty play style led the Dartmouth commit to scoop 46 ground balls while causing 24 turnovers for a Manhasset defense that consistently battled against some of the best lacrosse programs the region has to offer.

Tommy Snyder, St. Anthony’s, D, Sr.

Snyder showed why he’s bound for the University of Virginia, collecting 22 ground balls and causing nine turnovers and being an integral factor on a defense that held opponents to an average of 6.6 goals per game. Coach Keith Wieczorek called the captain and two-year starter an “excellent on-ball and off-ball defender (with) tremendous stick skills in the clearing game; just an all-around excellent close defender.”

Giancarlo Valenti, Northport, D, Sr.

Valenti caused turnovers like a vending machine spits out sodas. The senior defender scooped 136 ground balls and caused 48 turnovers as part of a stout Northport defense that allowed five goals or fewer in 10 of the Tigers’ 18 games this season. Coach William Cordts called Valenti “as physically imposing as any defenseman on Long Island” and consistently tasked Valenti to cover an opponent’s best player. And just as frequently, Valenti answered the call.

Dante Vardaro, St. Anthony’s, D, Sr.

Vardaro, who missed his junior season due to a knee injury, led the Friars’ close defense with 29 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers in his first season as a starter. The Penn commit proved himself to be “just a fierce competitor [and] tremendous cover guy,” and “a physical, athletic force for us down on the defensive end all year long, both clearing and in the cover game,” according to coach Keith Wieczorek.

Nassau Coach of the Year: Steve DiPietro, South Side

DiPietro guided the Class B Cyclones to Nassau, Long Island and state titles for the first time since 2004 when he was the team’s offensive coordinator. His 2024 team rallied from five goals down in its state semifinal and in the championship game. South Side finished at 21-1 after winning its final 15 games.

Suffolk Coach of the Year: Doug Meehan, Bayport-Blue Point

Sometimes things just click. An incredibly talented 21-1 Bayport-Blue Point team jelled perfectly with Meehan’s extremely committed coaching staff as the Phantoms not only claimed its first Long Island Class C title since 2011, but also its first state championship in program history. Senior Connor Curran perfectly summed up the special connection shared between Meehan and his players, tackling Meehan in a bear hug after the Phantoms overcame a four-goal deficit in the state semifinals against Rye as the coach fended him off with a wide smile.


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