Berkshire County high school boys lacrosse preview capsules, 2017
Coach: John Alibozek (Third year)
Last year: 9-8, lost in Central/West D-III tournament first round
Key returnees: Austin Mendel, Sr.; Nick Waterman, Jr.; Cam Alibozek, Sr.; Tyler Jayko, Sr.
Outlook: After making the Central/West tournament last season, the Hurricanes return in 2017 ready to make another playoff push.
Coach John Alibozek will have roughly 24 players on his varsity roster this season, and a good chunk of those players are either returning players, or players returning to the program after a year or two away.
"I think we should be about the same level this year," Alibozek said. "Most of my core players are back, and some young ones are coming back in."
Three All-Berkshire selections anchor the returnees, with Austin Mendel (first team defense), Nick Waterman (second team midfield) and Cam Alibozek (honorable mention goalie) all back. Tyler Jayko and Matt Hall also return to bolster the offense, while Adam Bush also returns to help Mendel on defense. Mike Tassone and Vance Eugene are also returning players, while players such as Steven Stogda and Josh Paree are also back in the mix.
The Hurricanes play their Berkshire rivals, and have non-league games against Chicopee and St. Mary's, among others. The team will play a night game at Renfrew Field against Taconic during the season, and will also have a twin bill with the Hoosac girls against St. Mary's.
Coach: Mike Snyder (First year back, fourth overall)
Last year: 10-9, lost in Central/West D-III quarterfinals (as Monument Mountain)
Key returnees: Jake Parkinson, Sr.; Connor Parkinson, Sr.; Peter Romeo, Jr.; Ted Michaels, Sr.
Outlook: The Lee program is back after a year away, and the Wildcats will welcome Monument Mountain players for a co-op which also includes Lenox. The returnees this year all wore Spartan garb last season, but coach Mike Snyder is excited to have the Wildcats back and says the players "are really just happy to have a team. We are playing as a team and a unit, no division."
The key returnees represent all three schools involved in the co-op. Lenox's Jake Parkinson is back in attack, and his brother Connor returns in the midfield. Lee's Peter Romeo and Monument's Ted Michaels are back on defense.
Homer Winston, Walter Boyko and Matt DiSilva are three other players back from last season. In goal, Tighler Andrews and Jack Gibson will compete to take over the vacant position.
Lee is a young team. There are five seniors and one junior on the roster, with the rest being underclassmen.
Coach: Jeff Stripp (First year)
Last year: 18-2, lost to Grafton in Central/West D-III championship
Key returnees: Reilly Parker, Sr.; Pat Storie, Sr.; Kyle Bazonski, Sr.; Michael Wellspeak, Soph.
Outlook: The Mounties return a bulk of their squad that made the Central/West championship game last season, and that base should put Greylock back in contention in the Division III field.
All-Berkshire first-teamers Reilly Parker (61 goals, 51 assists) and Pat Storie (92 goals, 38 assists) are back after leading the team in scoring last season, and contributors such as Michael Wellspeak (attack), Kyle Alvarez (midfield), Thomas Astle (midfield) and Owen Politis (midfield) also return.
On defense, Kyle Bazonski and Cam Hadley are both back. Toby Ellingwood will also have an increased role on the defense. The Mounties have one glaring hole from last year in the goalie position. With Cal Filson graduated, Cole Seaman started the team's season-opening win over Burr and Burton Academy, and David Falk played the second half.
In addition to the county slate, the Mounties play Pioneer Valley teams like Agawam and Pope Francis, both at the end of the season, and a home-and-home with Mount Anthony Union.
Coach: Scott Aitken (Eighth year)
Last year: 12-7, loss in Central/West D-II first round
Key returnees: Kevin Quinto, Sr.; Mitch Stechmann, Jr.; Jesse Kramer, Sr.; Trey Salvie, Jr.
Outlook: The Generals will be a much different looking team in 2017 after graduating a bulk of the regular starters from 2016. PHS coach Scott Aitken, though, isn't left completely bare in the cupboard.
Attacker Kevin Quinto (45 goals, 33 assists), an All-Berkshire first-teamer last season, is back to provide a bit of goalscoring punch, and will have Mitch Stechmann and Markie Perras to help out. In midfield, Brandon Murray, Trey Salvie and Jesse Kramer.
Aaron Houghtaling and David Desjardins are also back and have been with the program for several years. Two newcomers who will get a chance to play are Cole Masiero on defense, and Andrew Moore in the midfield.
Ethan Beach will step in as the goalie this year after playing as the JV goalie last season. While Beach is just a sophomore, Aitken said his staff has been impressed with his development so far.
Overall, Aitken said "the kids are definitely working hard, and they have high expectations for themselves — which is good." In addition to the Berkshire schedule, the Generals face several teams from the Pioneer Valley, and face Vermont schools Mount Anthony Union and Burr and Burton Academy.
Coach: Tom Harris (First year)
Last year: 3-15
Key returnees: Cody Latimer, Sr.; Sal Amaral, Jr.; Luke Maynard, Jr.; Hunter Johnston, Jr.
Outlook: First-year coach Tom Harris will look to help Taconic build up some wins this season. To help, Harris has a solid crew of returning players to build around.
Cody Latimer returns in midfield after a strong season a year ago, and Hunter Johnston also returns to help in the middle of the field. In attack, Sal Amaral returns and Sean Soper will look to step up alongside Amaral.
Harris thinks the defense might be the strongest of his three lines going into the season. Luke Maynard will head up the defense. Mansel Marangoni and Mitch Strack will provide depth, and freshman Wyatt George will also get a shot to play.
Ethan Peaslee is a first-year player Harris is watching out for, and Steven Poripski returns to lacrosse after spending some time away from the sport. Justin Thompson will step into the cage this season.
"They enjoy getting better," Harris said of his team. "In practice, high energy, good morale. These guys want to play some good lacrosse."
Coach: Zack Sondrini (Fourth year)
Last year: 12-9, lost in Central/West D-III quarterfinals
Key returnees: Connor Washburn, Sr.; Wyatt Schleicher, Sr.; Matt Cedar, Sr.; Vinny Orlandi, Sr.
Outlook: The Warriors are back and raring to go in 2017, with a bulk of last year's tournament team back in the fold for this season.
Wahconah returns its core players in attack, midfield and in goal — including a handful of All-Berkshire selections. With the solid core returning, coach Zack Sondrini said he really likes the makeup of his team.
"Just a really special group of kids we have this year," Sondrini said. "Really good dynamic, with what we have for upperclassmen leadership, and that mixed with underclassmen talent."
Returning their top four point scorers certainly helps the Warriors. Connor Washburn (49 goals, 43 assists), Wyatt Schleicher (40 goals, 12 assists), Dart Jaggi (45 goals, 8 assists) and Jeremy Girard (16 goals, 22 assists) are all back for Sondrini.
In defense, Vinny Orlandi is back in the cage for his senior season, and classmates Matt Cedar and Mike Fortin are back to anchor the defense in front of Orlandi.
The list of returning players is long, but other players back that will have a big impact include: Kyle Gazzillo, Sam Clayton, Cole Accardi and Cullen Harrington.
Sondrini also has a good crop of younger players that will come through and find roles on the lines, and senior Kyle Noyes will look to find a role on defense as a first-year player.
Wahconah has a busy schedule that opens with away games at Agawam and Belchertown. In addition to the Berkshire County slate, the Warriors will also play Vermont schools Mount Anthony Union and Stratton Mountain School, and Pioneer Valley teams like Chicopee and Pope Francis.
Coach: Paul Lange (Second year)
Last year: 1-15
Key returnees: Dakota Bolte, Sr.; Steve Lemire, Sr.; Jake Tower, Sr.; Justin Meczywor, Soph.
Outlook: As a first-year program last season, the Hornets took their lumps as they acclimated themselves to the varsity lacrosse scene. This year, McCann Tech is ready to keep making strides forward.
The Hornets welcome back quite a few names from last year, and coach Paul Lange said that the excitement is palpable.
"That's one thing the seniors keep talking about, which impresses me. They are talking about the future, and they aren't even going to be here for the future," Lange said. "Leading the way as far as excitement goes, and keeping positive. It's great to see that they are so excited and looking forward to the future."
Justin Meczywor is back to lead the attack, while Dakota Bolte, Brian Boudreau and Justin Horn are back on defense. In the midfield, David Rancourt, Steve Lemire and Evan Knapp return with experience. In goal, Jake Tower also returns.
Some new faces to watch include Jason Delisle, Gavin Murach, Jadon Hartley and brothers Darian and Darius Tovani.
McCann will again play an independent schedule. The Hornets opened with a loss against Chicopee, will play all county teams outside of Mount Greylock, and will play Hoosick Falls (N.Y.), Monson, Chicopee Comp and others.
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