Dryden Lax Calendar

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Boys Lacrosse Preview - Star Gazette

The Ithaca, Vestal and Johnson City boys lacrosse teams have enjoyed strangleholds on their respective Section 4 championships in recent years, a trend all three hope continues this season.

Ithaca has won five consecutive Class A crowns, Vestal the past three Class B titles and Johnson City the past two Class C titles. While the Little Red has an entirely new starting lineup from last year’s state runner-up, both Vestal and Johnson City have many key players returning as they seek a return to the state playoffs.

They will all undergo their quests in a revamped Section 4 Boys Lacrosse Conference, which will consist of three divisions, one more than a year ago.

Division I will consist of Bingham­ton, Corning, Ithaca, Horseheads, Ves­tal and Union-Endicott; Division II will include Chenango Valley, JC, Maine-Endwell, Oneonta, and Owego; and Di­vision III will feature Chenango Forks, Dryden, Elmira Notre Dame, Seton Catholic Central and Whitney Point.

Elmira will compete as an indepen­dent this season with first-year varsity
  program Watkins Glen.

Class A

Binghamton is seeking its sixth consecutive winning season, and will do so under first-year coach Mark Ward, who was instrumental in building the Owego program several years ago and has also had head coaching stints at Seton Catholic Central.

Ward inherits a squad with 17 seniors, but also three sophomores and three freshmen. Two of those freshmen, goalie Thomas Draper and attacker Stavros Zervos, will start. Among key seniors are All-Section 4 Divi­sion I defenseman Salen Turkovic and midfielder/ face-off specialist Ben
Stallman. Ithaca has gone 69-8 the past four seasons, ad­vancing to three state fi­nal fours, including a pair of state runner-up finish­es in 2011 and 2012. Though suffering heavy graduation losses, the Lit­tle Red do return senior attack Charlie Estill and junior attack Zach John­son.

Corning will have an new starting attack but returns midfielders Spen­cer Passmore, Sam Crusha and Garrett Huff. Austin Cates (defensive middie) and goalie Nick Nehring also return. Coach Chris Hogue is hopeful attacks Kyle Gri­maldi and Aidan Olm­stead and midfielder De­von Sullivan can emerge as viable contributors.

Class B

Former Vestal standout Chris Dutkowsky takes over the coaching reins at his alma mater. Dutkowsky’s squad features a good group of senior midfielders in Section 4  all-star and Syracuse­bound Pat Carlin, Cort­land State-bound Zach Cook, and Rob Potenzino. Troy Harding, another senior, will be a key pres­ence
at long-stick middie.

Junior Jake Nelson, a Section 4  all-star, is the top attack, and senior Nick Nestlerode returns in goal. Defensively, seniors Kevin Tung and Tyler Lane, junior Kolby Kurat­nick and sophomore Ea­mon Reynolds will be key.

“I don’t feel any pres­sure,” said Dutkowsky, of extending Vestal’s sec­tional title streak. “I just want to keep everything going the way it’s been. The (kids) have been great. I came in, and right from the start they trust­ed the change to myself and (assistant) Scott
Faulkner very well.” Horseheads could emerge as a Section 4  Class B title threat. The Blue Raiders are bol­stered by a quartet of re­turning Section 4 all­stars: senior attack Jor­dan Gush (33 goals last season), senior defense­man Bailey Bourgeois, senior goalie Chris Bucca­relli and sophomore mid­fielder Ian Cook (27 goals-25 assists). Class C

Johnson City went undefeated through regularseason and Section 4  post­season play last season, and while the Wildcats must replace nine Section 4 all-stars, there is suffi­cient talent another title
run. Most notable among the returnees are senior midfielder Nick Neferis (56 goals-18 assists) and junior attack Shane Majewski (63-31), who was Section 4's leading scorer last season and is the school’s all-time goals leader with 224. JC also features three other Section 4  all-stars in sophomore Adam Korutz — who moves from long­stick middie to defense — goalie Chris Charnetsky and defenseman Colby Chapman. Maine-Endwell, which lost 11-10 to Johnson City in last year’s Class C final, should be among the chief challengers again this season.

Chenango Forks and Whitney Point both en­joyed
solid seasons a year ago and could find them­selves in the title hunt as well. Whitney Point features high-scoring Jake Lynch and Corey Hodges on attack, as well as goalie Drew Gardner, all three earning Section 4 all-star honors last season. Dono­van Sturdevant is another key returner. Owego lost several key players to graduation and will lean on returners Brandon Pauly on attack, Tyler Ford, Pat Bilbrey and Sean Smith in the mid­field, Ryan Wilson at long­stick middie, Dave Lopez on defense and Nick Fi­guerado in goal.

Elmira Notre Dame has the high-scoring sen­ior duo of Jonas McCaig and Brandon Mahajan on attack. Both are returning all-stars, along with sen­ior defender Will Pochal as part of a veteran ros­ter that should improve upon last year’s 3-13 cam­paign.

Dryden features con­siderable experience with third-year players Joe De­
Lucia (Section 4   all­star), Ross Cole and Dan Atwood, all capable scor­ers. Midfielder Erik Dardia leads a unit that also includes senior Ho­wie Lauretti and Duran Joyce. Jake Czpranski (long-stick) and Griffen Wood (defense) are sen­iors who should have an impact.


Elmira has a new coach in Jason Stukey, a graduate of longtime state power West Gene­see High who was the Express’s JV coach the past two seasons. He will guide a team that fea­tures returners Kyle Johnson and Joe Cerio in the midfield, Jordan Goldbourn and Tim For­rest on defense, Tyler Prunoske and Shea Ames on attack and Brandon Taft in goal.

Watkins Glen, under coach Joe Kostolansky will play a schedule against varsity and ju­nior varsity competi­tion.

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