Penn Yan Look Good Again in Class C


- In a change from tradition, SportsFive will not be publishing individual preseason reports for each of the teams in the section this year. Instead, we will be focusing our efforts on a larger scale. To that end we have written articles based on the three classes and those teams and players that are returning to each class. We contacted each of the head coaches for each team and asked them to submit their thoughts on their team and the classes in general. Each head coach was asked to rank their toughest opponents, top players, and the top teams in each of the three classes.

Penn YanClass C (with less than 650 students) has eighteen teams playing this season. It is the largest class in the section. The smallest school is Bishop Kearney with 221 and the largest school is Wayne Central with 611 students. There is one combined team in Class C as Bloomfield (237) has, once again, joined with Honeoye (196) for a total of 433. There are representatives from all four leagues in Class C. Five of the six GRALL teams are in the class (Bishop Kearney, Avon, Bath, Livonia and Aquinas). The only Monroe County team in Class C is HF-L with 590 students. All ten Finger Lakes teams are in Class C this season (Wayne, Geneva, Newark, Pal-Mac, Midlakes, Bloomfield-Honeoye, Waterloo, Marcus Whitman, Mynderse and Gananda). Class C also includes the only two independent teams in the section (Batavia and Penn Yan).

With thirty-six head coaches responding to the Class C portion of the poll, Penn Yan was the unanimous leader as all the coaches ranked them one of the top three programs in the class. Aquinas came in with the number two spot at twenty-four votes. Livonia and Geneva both made significant showings with sixteen each.

Generally speaking, there is a lot of talent coming back to Class C this season. Seven teams have at least 100 points returning and there are seven starting goalies returning to play this season. Brian Hobart

Penn Yan appears to be the team to beat after winning their seventeenth Section Five Championship last season. The Mustangs defeated Livonia 14-6 and went on to play in the State Finals were they lost to Shoreham-Wading River, 10-6. They have been a dominate force in Section Five for nearly two decades, winning titles in both Class B and Class C. Each year, Head Coach Brian Hobart takes brand new, unheard of players and turns them into dominant, disciplined leaders. Year after year, as a large number of Mustangs leave and it appears that there is no way they can produce another championship season, they do. This year, Penn Yan returns six players who had over ten points last season (the most in Class C) and 300 points between them (the most in the class). They return the third, seventh and tenth leading scorers in all of Section Five from last year.

Bradley Voigt was their scoring leader last year and he finished with 108 points (62g-46a). He enters his junior year looking to continue where he left off. Ryan Maciejewski (75 points) and Rion Davison (70 points) are also impressive players returning this year. The offensive power of Penn Yan will be a key strength this season as three multiple year defensive starters graduated last season. The Mustangs do have senior James Burdette returning and he will to lead the defensive long poles. Burdette (Albany) and juniors Davison (Hartford) and Voigt (Syracuse) have all committed to continue playing at the college level.

AquinasAquinas enters this season with first year Head Coach Grant Catalino at the helm of a program that finished with a semifinal loss to Livonia in 2012. Coach Catalino is tight-lipped about his player assessments, suggesting that all players are starting on an equal plane. Based on last year's performance, players to watch should include junior attackman Alex Bianchi and senior midfielder Billy Lombardi (Penn State). Bianchi (5g) and Lombardi (2g-2a) scored all seven goals in the semifinal game last season and should be important pieces in the Aquinas offense. Bianchi finished leading his team in goals and points (49g-27a) and Lombardi finished with a 68.5% face off percentage and a team leading 131 ground balls.

Livonia's strength lies in their offensive line. Seniors Derek Bishopp, Mitchell Kinney and Josh Wester all return after excellent performances in 2012. Wester finished eleventh in Section Five with 69 points and Bishopp was only a few points behind (fourteenth with 62 points). With a strong senior class last year, neither led their team in goals or assists, but this season it would appear to be their turn. Senior defenseman Sean Kidder returns with 101 ground balls. Bishopp, who also took face offs, finished with a 54.5% winning percentage and a team leading 178 ground balls. The Bulldogs look strong in the offensive end of the field but will need to find a goalie to replace three year starter Ethan Jamison who graduated last season with a career total 506 saves.

Geneva started off slowly last season, losing four of their first five games. But the Panthers came back definitively, winning their next twelve games, before losing to HF-L in Class C quarter finals. The Panthers felt their streak ended too soon and are looking to make that point this year. Senior midfielder Sean Cunningham returns to lead Geneva once again before moving down the street to play at Hobart next year. He finished 2012 as their leader in goals, assists and points (48g-43a). He was fifth in all of Section Five and the third highest returning in Class C. Geneva will return five players who scored over ten points last season. Drew Feinberg (60pts) and Eddie Eddington (44pts) are ready to be strong scoring threats for the Panthers. Defensively, Geneva will look to senior Dan Hickey to lead the long poles. Hickey, who has signed with Mercyhurst for next season, finished last year with first team Finger Lakes honors (second team honors in 2011).

Pal-Mac 2012Also receiving votes from the coaches were Pal-Mac and HF-L. Pal-Mac has one of the most impressive players in the section. Junior attackman Ben Reeves finished with the second highest point total in Section Five for two years straight. In his freshman year he finished with 106 points and led in assists (60a). As a sophomore he finished with 109 points and again led assists (66a). A demonstrative underclassman, Reeves recently made a verbal commitment to play at Hobart and shows promise as he enters this fifth year on Varsity (275 total points). Also on the Pal-Mac roster is senior defenseman Josh Lennon. For Honeoye Falls-Lima, senior Connor Flaherty returns with 40 points last season. Defensively, the Cougars return Aidan Papalia and Geoff Ferington.

With such a large section of teams in Class C there are a number of other individuals who deserve recognition at the start of the 2013 season. Gananda senior attackman Zach Rink returns with 35 points. He finished in a three way tie to lead his team in goals with two seniors (Trevor Schraffenberger and Ian Palmer). Waterloo senior attackman Tim Wright returns after leading The Indians in goals, assists and points (28g-35a). Junior Mike Wright (25g-3a) also returns for Waterloo. Three new players to keep an eye on in Class C include freshman defenseman Dylan Joy (Gananda), freshman midfielder Michael Rice (Bath) and senior attackman Ryan Doubt (Avon).

Goalies are plentiful and talented in Class C. Seven teams are expected to return strong starting goalies. Five were in the sectional top ten in save production due both to their talent between the pipes as well as the large number of shots faced. Mynderse senior Tim Trickler will return after stopping 283 shots last season (to lead Section Five). Wayne goalie Justin Townsend finished tied for second with 219 saves. Bishop Kearney's Andrew Barreca finished with 214 and Marcus Whitman's Merritt Bailey finished with 192 saves. The most impressive goalie in Section Five is junior Brandon Maciejewski from Penn Yan (213 saves - 69% in 2012). Maciejewski was named to the first team All Section List in 2012 as a sophomore and looks to continue to improve this season.