The 2011 Section Five Lacrosse Preview


PRESEASON - 3/27/11

 HM: Gates Chili, R-H

McQuaid Jesuit
 HM: Hilton, Victor

Penn Yan
 HM: B-H, Livonia, Midlakes

Once again this year, SportsFive will publish, each week, rankings in each class. SportsFive will continue to publish the New York State Sportswriters poll and will provide links to the Laxpower national polls.

special Last year we acknowledged that the "world" didn't revolve around Class A any more, and in the end, Irondequoit gave Section Five anexciting finish as they ran from the fifth seed and finished in the the State Final Four. Apreview 2009 powerful Aquinas toppled Penn Yan, whose twelve year Class C championship streak was ended with the Little Irish 16-9 win on Champions Day. As predicted, Fairport took the Class A title and made it to the NYS finals, but had close losses to J-D and Canandaigua who ruined their perfect season.

Once again, the spotlight will be all over the board this year, with competitive games in all three classes. We have picked Fairport, Irondequoit and Aquinas as the eventual winners, but no one here will be surprised if the rankings change as we all get to see more very exciting match-ups this season.

The Section grew again this year as Gananda makes it thirty-six teams. Head Coach Mike Pane has been working with the junior varsity program and moves up with his team as they play an independent schedule before joining the Finger Lakes league next year.

For the second year in a row, there was a mass changing of Head Coaches within the section as nine new coaches took over and one Head Coach transferred. Brighton's Mike Gottko left Brighton after two years to take over the Victor program. He was replaced by Cory Holbrough. Eastridge head coach, Jasson Jobson left the Lancers to become an assistant coach at Webster Thomas allowing his former assistant, Dave McAlpin to take over.

Aquinas appointed former Assistant Coach Jason Mordaci to fill the Head Coaching job previously held by Kevin Martin. Batavia welcomed former Blue Devil Assistant Coach, John Mangefrida as their Head Coach, taking over for Jeremy Mettler.

East Rochester selected Chris Cummings for their new Head Coach, replacing Mike Domm and the Greece Lightning (Arc/Oly) have Co-Head Coaches, Kevin McMaster and Adam Geier who replace John "Beaver" Kleehammer. Churchville-Chili's new Head Coach is Joe Aquilina who, after some time at RIT takes over for David Childs.

There are some very talented players in the Section this year and as of this writing forty-five players have already committed to college teams for the future. The student-athletes will be playing at all levels from D-1 to Junior College and Club teams. They come from sixteen different Section Five teams.

The best of the group are too long to list here but some of the D-1 recruits include Jake Bailey (McQuaid-UNC), James Burke (Pittsford-Delaware), Greg Coholan (Irondequoit-Virginia), JT Hauck (Thomas-Binghamton), Andrew Hays (Fairport-UNC), Emmy Poccia (Irondequoit-Hobart), Zach Reed (Bath-Hobart), Colby Wehner (Irondequoit-Canisius) and Ryan Yunker (Churchville-Chili-Bryant).

A couple of players will mix their love of the game with their love of country as Alex Kober (Pittsford) will go to the Air Force Academy and a year later, Marc Pettrone (Aquinas) will attend the US Military Academy at West Point. Two other juniors making early commitments are Derek DeJoe (Fairport-Syracuse) and Mitch Rupp (Victor-Albany).

Nearly one thousand players will represent their thirty-six teams and communities this spring. There will be a large number of very exciting games this season. Lets hope there are many fans in attendance and let's hope that regardless of the score, that we all remember that this is a very special game.

Class A

Offensively, the Fairport attack was decimated with the loss of Button, Manilla and Saylor but they return a number of strong offensive threats at the midfield. Leading the charge is senior Andrew Hays (UNC). Fairport - HaysHays finished last season fourth on the roster with 30g-13a. He will be a key player and leader for the offense this season. Joining Hays are senior Stephen Danylyshyn, junior Derek DeJoe and senior James Manilla. DeJoe (Syracuse) and Manilla (Ithaca) have both made commitments for next fall. DeJoe finished 2010 with 16-14 for the Red Raiders and in the off-season had a stand-out performance in the 2010 Empire State Games. Coach Mike Torrelli will need to look to new players to step into positions early in the season to rebuild their attack to last years standards.

Defensively, the Red Raiders also face significant losses. Reed and Knowles were both named to Monroe County Division I First Team and Wright was named to the 2nd team. Additionally, the loss of Kristy at short stick defense will need to be replaced. Coach Torrelli will look to seniors Matt Dryer and Michael Dryer and juniors Keith Mierzwa and Christ Bechle to step up at close defense. All four players were part of last year's program which will give them a step up in replacing the graduated starting line. In the cage, the Red Raiders return two strong goalies in Blaze Riorden and Kyle Bowerman. Riorden finished with second team honors and a 64% (132 saves) record between the pipes. Bowerman, finished with 63 saves (57%). Goaltenders are the strongest returning position for Fairport.

With such a strong team in 2010, one would think that Fairport should be in rebuilding mode, but like other large schools with long tradition, Fairport's "bench" last year has just been waiting for their turn, and now it has come. The Red Raiders continue to have huge numbers wanting to play. This year there were a large number of cuts at the Varsity and the Junior Varsity had fifty-six boys at tryouts.

The Red Raiders are at the de facto, "top of the pile", but there will be a number of teams looking to knock them off but for now, Fairport looks to be the team to beat early in Monroe County and Class A.Thomas - Hauck

Webster Thomas has had great success at playing in Monroe County D-2, but this year they are playing the D-1 along with Irondequoit (also moving from D-2 to D-1). They are also moving from Class B to Class A. After years of being a big fish in a little pond, the Titans are moving to a bigger pond this season and likely are looking forward to it.

Returning to the Titan offense is the leading assister from last season, JT Hauck (34-35). Hauck, a senior, will anchor the midfield after a successful summer that included excellent play in the Empire State Games and the Adidas National tournament. He will be playing at Binghamton next year. Joining Him will be John Hart (HM). In the attack, the Titans return their fourth and sixth leading scorers in Kyle Rothfuss (2nd) and John Zawacki (HM) who both played on the summer Nike team.

Defensively the Titans have two strong players in Doug Passero (VMI) and Chris Siderakis, who each finished last season with HM honors. Passero was also named to the Class B All-Tournament team. The strongest position for the Titans is their goaltenders. The Titans return not one, but two strong goalies. Seniors Don Grace and Zach Mayer both spent time between the pipes last season. Grace had the majority of time and finished with 166 saves and Mayer finished with 47 saves and 163 minutes of game time.

Many in the Section have discounted the Titans as contenders this year, but there are a lot of good things about this team. Head Coach Rob Ruller continues to surround himself with very experienced assistant coaches who bring a lot to the table. By winning a few key games this season, Webster may well be back to the finals at the end of May.

Pittsford - BurkePittsford has been improving over the last couple of years and players continue to gain experience with Head Coach Andrew Whipple's style of play. There are some onlookers who feel that they can make it back to the finals again this year and they do have the talent to do so.

Offensively, the Panthers return their third, fourth, fifth and sixth leading scorers. Matt Gold finished last season with 21g-13a. Alex Kober and James Burke played on last year's ESG Western team. Attackman Jack Lauroesch (19-9) will also look to step up and make contributions this season after being named to the HM team last season. Senior midfielder Matt Palmer has also made a commitment to play at Oswego next year.

Defensively, the Panthers are facing serious losses in Joe Dupra (a USLacrosse All American at Marist), Justin McLiverty (Robert Morris), Ryan Sullivan (Mercyhurst) and starting goalie Alex Howell. Looking to replace last year's key long sticks are Alex Proper and Kevin Sanna who were both named to the Honorable Mention list last season. Sanna along with Burke and Kober played on the Adidas team last summer. In addition to their returning players, Head Coach Andrew Whipple has brought back former Pittsford and LeMoyne defenseman, Ted Rund to help coach the Panthers defense this season. In the cage, they will look to senior Conor Quinn

Class A looks strong at the top and although Pittsford has good numbers, the Panthers are going to need to find replacements for key personnel early in the season.Penfield - Miles

Penfield was very young last year, but still managed to earn the third seed in the Class A tournament. The boys are a year older this year and have the chance to make a statement.

Offensively, the Patriots return attackman Alex Miles who finished last season setting a team record for most goals in a single season with 62g-7a. In the attack, Matt Bilak (19-4) also returns. Junior Dan Maring returns to Penfield after playing for McQuaid last season. Leading the midfield will be Dan O'Brien (Mercyhurst) who finished last season with 31-13 and looks to improve in his senior year. Joining O'Brien in the midfield will be Matt Condon (14-8), Fred Crilly (Alfred University) and Garrett Hoyler.

The most unique and impressive threat in Penfield's roster lies with sophomore Connor Russell. Russell is the face-off specialist for the Patriots and demonstrated last season as a freshman that he can control the ball for his team. Russell will only get better with more experience and will look to add to his contributions at offensive end of the field as well this season.

Anchoring the defense will be senior Trevor Girouard and two year starter Charlie Cummings. Additionally, Nick Kimmins, John Sforza and Jon O'Helm will be key players. At LSM, Penfield will look to junior Justin Rehm to lead. Between the pipes, the Patriots will have to replace last year's starter Jamie Solomon. Junior Keith Keehn played 59 minutes in the cage last season and finished with 12 saves.

The Patriots are looking good, but D-1 looks to be strong at the top and Penfield will have a number of challenging games this season.

Class B

There can be no doubt that Irondequoit will start out this year not far from where they ended up at the end of last year. The Eagles have many of their impact players returning and Coach Craig Whipple has moved players around to gain great strength in his attack while adding speed and depth to the midfield.

Irondequoit - DoktorOffensively, the Eagles look beyond strong. In the attack, they return leading assist and points scorer Nick Doktor who finished last season with 31g-32a. Although none of the players stand out on the Section Five leader board, the number of players with double digit points returning demonstrates the depth of skill in the Eagles roster. Joining Doktor in the attack is senior Greg Coholan (Virginia). He finished last season with 35g-15a and was a key play maker for the Eagles. Seniors Max Kostyk (Bowdoin) along with juniors Jake Schmidt and Connor Enright will also be important players in the attack.

Pre-season, the midfield is tough for Irondequoit. The Eagles will look to converted senior attackman Emmy Poccia to lead their midfield. Poccia (Hobart) finished last season with 28-11. Seniors Alex Torpey (Mercyhurst) and Matt Wolfe (Pittsburgh) and juniors Briele Caples and Gunnar Miller will also contribute to the midfield. Miller, Caples and Wolfe were all named to the HM team last season.

Defensively, Irondequoit will be led by junior Andrew Cordes and senior Colby Wehner (Canisius). Wehner (HM) and Cordes (2nd Team) were both named to the All County team least year. Additionally, the Eagles will look to Garrett Warren, Alex Steo and Lauren Caples. Caples returns this season after an injury kept him out last season. In the cage, the loss of Nash will be hard felt but Eric Fischer returns with 144 minutes of game time last season (32 saves).

Overall, the Eagles have one of the strongest teams in the Section. Coach Craig Whipple has high hopes for his program, writing, "Irondequoit looks to be a well balanced team with a lot of ability to put points on the board." Coach Whipple, who was recently named as a selector for the Under 19 USA team, has scheduled out of league contests against Ithaca, Duxbury and Timon/St. Jude.

Brighton has had a number of years at the top of the pile in Monroe County D-3, but will face more competition as Canandaigua, Victor and HFL join them, but the added competition should only make the Barons stronger.Brighton - Wool

Senior attackman CJ Wool (Alfred) continued to dominate the offense for Brighton last season. Wool finished the season with 71-29 placing him in third for goals and sixth in points in the Section. He was also named the Division III Player of the Year last season. Joining Wool in the attack is senior Brackett Bourne who finished last season at 50-5 and was the second leading goal producer on the team. The third attack spot is filled by fourth leading points contributor (behind graduated Nick Wolak), Kurt Minges. Minges finished last year with 24g-26a. The combination of Minges, Bourne and Wool makes the Brighton attack one of the strongest units in Division III, if not all of Section Five.

At the midfield, senior Steven Cregan finished last season at 21-28. Cregan will be a key player in the midfield this season. Coach Holbrough will need to find new midfielders to fill the holes left by graduation. Two incoming sophomores who had good seasons last year were Alex Ballatori and Casey Kopp. Even though they are young, they will look this season for opportunities to be impact players.

Defensively, the Barons return three players that were named to various All County Teams. Senior Dan Pierce leads the defense after being named to the 1st Team last season. Joining Pierce are seniors David Hill (St. Lawrence) and Sam Rabinowitz. Hill was named the second team and Rabinowitz was named to HM. In the cage, they return their starting goalie from last season, Jordan Carey. Carey (FLCC) finished last season with 139 saves (53%).

The Barons are looking strong this season, in spite of increased competition in the Division. With one of the strongest scoring attack units, they will put up high numbers this season. Brighton returns more players with over ten points last season than any other team (nine players). McQuaid - BaileyWinning will come down to the ability of their defense and midfield to step up. Coach Holbrough comes into the season with an out of league contest against Penn Yan.

McQuaid Jesuit is looking to break into the championship game this year with a strong defense and a yet to be proven offensive unit.

Offensively, the Knights will look to Ryan Williams in the midfield. Williams finished with 35g-11a and led in both goals and points for the Knights and will attend Gettysburg in the fall. The Knights are returning twenty-four players from their roster including nine midfielders and five attackman.

Defensively, the return of Pat Sheridan between the pipes will help the Knights. Sheridan finished last season with 167 saves (59%) which earned him an Honorable Mention on the All-League list. Leading the defense will be senior Jake Bailey. The Honor Society member, who was named to first team defense last season and was McQuaid's MVP, will be a major player for the Knights and will attend the University of North Carolina in the fall. Ryan Sheridan finished with HM honors in the defense and will also be a key player this season. He will attend Hampden-Sydney in the fall.

Coach Paul Jordan has scheduled out of league contests against Pittsford, Penn Yan, Erie Cathedral Prep, Canandaigua, Irondequoit, Timon/St. Jude, Gates Chili and HFL. In addition, they are traveling west to play two games in California, Carlsbad and La Costa Canyon. While there, the team will spend time trading east and west coast skills and have planned to work on a community service project.

Canandaigua is usually the team to beat, but this year will be going after the top teams. Canandaigua - SmithDon't count them out by the end of the year.

The leading offensive producer returning this season is senior attackman Nic Wood (Alfred) who finished last season with 14g-2a. Also returning to the attack is Evan Helming (St. Rose) with 10-2. In the midfield, Cody Jones (RIT), Mark Greer (HM) and Matt Scharr (6-8) return. Overall, it will be important for both returners as well as newcomers to step up early in the season and to become scoring threats for the Braves.

Defensively, starter Nick Smith (Mercyhurst) returns to lead in the long sticks. Smith will be joined by seniors Jordan Quayle, Waddy Sykes, Dom Savitcheff (Cortland) and Greg Smith-Wilcox. Underclassman Brandon Kemp, Zack Bussey and Nate Bellis will also vie for starting positions and playing time. In the cage, the graduation of Nick King is yet another obstacle for the Braves. Corey Griffin, who was the back-up goalie last season, returns after 166 minutes between the pipes last season and recording 27 saves.

Overall this season will be a rebuilding year for the Braves. On the other hand, Canandaigua's great tradition and their highly successful feeder program historically produces class after class of highly skilled players. Many of their athletes this season have been waiting for their turn after last year's dominant class. Coach Ed Mulheron writes, "many players have been waiting patiently for their turn to be the guys who are counted on at crunch time. I anticipate this being a team that will improve dramatically throughout the season."

Class C

Aquinas is loaded with talent once again and look to be at the top of Class C, although there can be no doubt and Penn Yan and others will be working hard to knock them off.

Aquinas - MessinaOffensively, the Little Irish will look to the leading goal scorer from 2010 in Klay Heston who finished with 60g-29a. He has made a commitment to Lehigh, will come into the season as a major scoring force for Aquinas and an overall presence on the field. He finished last season as HM in attack on the GRALL list. Joining him in the attack will be Nick Weston, a transfer from HFL. Weston finished last season with 28-14 for the Cougars as a freshman and will look to make significant contributions to the attack at Aquinas.

In the midfield, Aquinas will look to Mike Messina who finished last season with 34g-6a and was named to the GRALL Super 16 at midfield. Messina will attend Syracuse in the fall. Additionally in the midfield will be face-off specialist Billy Lombardi. Lombardi, a sophomore, was key to getting possession for the Little Irish last year and will be more heavily relied upon this season. Transfer Pete DiLaura, from Gates-Chili, will also be joining the midfield this season. DiLaura finished last season with 16-9 for the Spartans.

Defensively, the Little Irish will look to Marc Pettrone (1st Team GRALL) to anchor the close defense. Pettrone will attend The United States Military Academy (West Point) in the fall. Additionally, between the pipes, the Little Irish will see the return of starting goalie Erich Wischmeyer. Wischmeyer finished last season with 147 saves (51%).

Coach Mordaci has scheduled a tough of out league schedule with games against Pittsford, Irondequoit, Thomas, Bishop Timon, St. Francis and Clarence. Coach Mordaci has high hopes for his program, writing, "... things look very bright for us personnel wise. However, as I've told our team, the determining factor will be how hard we want to work as a team."

The Little Irish look strong in GRALL and in Section Five in general as they look to defend their title and head to the state tournament for a second season.

Ok, everyone has talked about Penn Yan wanting to get back to the top and start a new run as champs ot Class C, but the competition continues to increase, along with the number of schools in Class C. Whereas they were, for quite some time, the smallest Class in the Section, they are now the largest, with sixteen teams this year and another one (Avon) expected Penn Yan Voigtnext year.

In what is becoming a common occurrence in Penn Yan, their most prolific returning offensive threats come from underclassmen. Freshman Bradley Voigt returns for his second season after putting up 35g-15a last season. Voigt trailed graduated senior Nate Nichols by three goals and four points. Voigt will continue to grow this season and is expected to become a major scoring threat for the Mustangs. Coach Bryan Hobart will look to new blood to join Voigt after junior attackman Jordan Owen was injured and can not play for the team this season. In the midfield, four leading scorers return for the Mustangs. Dylan Yonts (10-23), JJ Voigt (8-2), Adam Stork (15-16) and Anthony Luppino (11-6) all return for another season. Stork has made a commitment to play next year at Salisbury.

Defensively, seniors James Voigt and Baird Wilber are returning for another season anchoring the defense. Junior Mike Thiesmeyer and sophomore James Burdette will also look to make contributions this season. In the cage, Cody Richardson returns after recording 145 saves last year (51%). The Mustangs also played freshman Brandon Maciejewski and junior Matt Spoor for short times between the pipes.

With an independent schedule Coach Hobart once again picked some of the most challenging games in and out of the Section. Outside of Section Five the Mustangs have scheduled Carthage, Lakeland/Panas, Baldwinsville and Clarence. Within the Section, they have scheduled tough games against Pal-Mac, Canandaigua, Fairport and Brighton.

Don't count the Mustangs out just yet, but unlike the past, this time they will be coming from behind and will have to demonstrate resolve to bring back the crown to Penn Yan.

Pal-Mac - HillPalmyra-Macedon has been improving each of the last few years and they are clearly on a roll. They have the majority of their impact players returning this year and are looking to make a statement.

Offensively, the Red Raiders return nearly all of their scorers from last year. Leading the charge is senior attackman Mike DeMar (1st) who finished last season with a team leading 47g-28a. Freshman Ben Reeves (2nd), returns for his third season on Varsity after tying for the lead in assists last season with 25g-28a. He scored sixty Varsity points while still in middle school. Reeves is looking to be one of the stronger players in the Finger Lakes this season during his first year in high school. Also returning are Jeff Kier (HM) and Mike Russell (1st) to the midfield. Kier finished with 22g-8a and Russell with 30g-21a. The Red Raiders have threats at both the midfield and the attack and look strong in the currently down Finger Lakes Division.

Defensively, Pal-Mac also returns most of their key players. Pat Russell (1st) returns for his senior year to anchor the close defense. Luke Prince (2nd) also returns to the close defense. Matt Carkner returns for his second year starting between the pipes after finishing last season with 218 saves (62%).

Coach Joe Hill, looks to have one of the stronger teams in the Finger Lakes and has scheduled a tough game against Penn Yan and an easier contest with first year team, Gananda for their out of league games.

Bath - ReedBath-Haverling only graduated six players from their 2010 roster and have some power but not a great deal of depth.

In the attack, the Rams return one of the stronger players in all of Section Five in Zach Reed. Reed, who has led his team in assists for three straight seasons, looks to continue his dominance. He has increased his section-wide position in each of the past three seasons. As a freshman he finished eleventh in assists, as a sophomore he finished third in assists and a junior he finished first in the entire Section with 70 assists. The senior will attend Hobart in the fall. Also returning to the attack is senior Drew Wager who comes back to his third year in the Varsity program after a great deal of hard work during the summer.

In the midfield, the Rams will look to Nick Rossi who led in goals last season with 59-39. Rossi, who will attend St. John Fisher in the fall, will be a key player in the midfield for Bath. Junior, Jeff Chapman (12-4) and senior, Brian Gable (31-14) will look to increase their contributions this season.

Defensively, the Rams will look to junior, Trevor Lang to lead the close defense. Lang has started the last two years and has been an impact player over both previous seasons, leading the defense in ground balls last season, while only accruing four minutes in penalty time. Additionally, Tyler Hutcheson returns for his fourth Varsity season. After switching from LSM to close defense after his sophomore year, he will play his second starting season for the Rams.

Geneva was, a while ago, the annual team to beat in both the Finger Lakes and in their Class as well. Geneva - BrennanThey have been at the top end of the Class lately, but have not been able to grab a championship. This could be a good year for them.

Offensively, the Panthers are in good shape. Senior attackman Will Brennan returns after leading Geneva in goals, assists and points. Brennan finished the 2010 season with 53g-25a. On the Sectional leader board he finished 15th in total points. Brennan (1st Team All Finger Lakes) will be the cornerstone of the offensive line for Geneva. Starter Billy Eddington will also return after scoring 28-13 last season and being named to the 2nd Team. Eddington and Brennan will be a force in the Finger Lakes League. At the midfield, sophomore Sean Cunningham (HM) returns with 14-3 and as the 7th leading scorer from last year. Also returning to the midfield are Chris Pitifer (HM) and Steve Fabrizio (2nd).

Defensively, the Panthers will need to find key replacements early in the season. Midfielder Sophomore Derek Grillone played 24 minutes in the cage last season and appears to be leading contender for the goalie spot with junior Tom Lynch coming up from JV. In the close defense, Dan Pufnock (1st) returns to a leadership position in the defense along with sophomore Andrew Ritter (HM).

This season the Panthers will wear the number 24 on their helmets in memory of a previous player, Willie Rago, who passed away earlier this year due to complications from cancer. Rago, who scored 26g-10a in his senior year was named to the first team all Finger Lakes team in 2008.