Eighth graders Liam Hassett and Torin Bograd put on dazzling displays to keep the Huntington High School boys’ junior varsity lacrosse competitive in the face of a very challenging schedule in Suffolk Division I this past spring.
Coached by Anthony Troffa and Timothy Witt, the 31-player strong Blue Devil JV compiled a 7-9 record. “This season showed how much potential the Huntington lax program has for the future,” Troffa said. “There were many guys that contributed all over the field and helped out in a variety of ways.” The squad included six extremely skilled eighth graders.
“One of our best days was against Riverhead, a team that beat us last year,” Troffa said. “It was our last game and we played consistently the whole time. We came out strong and Riverhead played tough the whole time. We showed enormous intensity and fight and did not let up. Although it became a one goal game in the last quarter, the team pushed even harder and we won 18-15. We played unselfish, passed the ball and were the most aggressive we had been on ground balls during the season.”
The top Blue Devil players included:
Midfield: Liam Hassett, Torin Bograd, Matt Stolfa and Ryan Baker
Attack: Billy Burton, Michael Wright and Sam Kimmelman
Defense: Bryce Criscuola, Graham Young, Trevan Meagher, Charlie O’Rourke and Aidan Bonn
Goal: Aedan McDonald and Alex Fascilla
Hassett tallied 14 goals and 11assists and he scooped up 57 ground balls. Bograd notched 26 goals, seven assists and 43 ground balls. Kimmelman had 13 goals and five assists and Burton added 11 goals.
“Liam Hassett was the playmaker on attack and he always managed to find the open man,” Troffa said. “Hassett and Bograd also did an outstanding job on face-offs.”
McDonald and Fascilla shared time in the cage and both proved durable. “They did an outstanding job and kept us in many games,” Troffa said.
The importance of the Blue Devil defensive unit to the overall success of the team should not be underestimated. Troffa said that members of the group were gritty and determined and “gave their all,” regardless of the score.
“Graham Young was one of the hardest workers on our team and was a tremendous leader,” Troffa said. “He played close defense and gave 100 percent all the time. Bryce Criscuola and Trevan Meager were both very tough on defense. Ryan Baker also provided much needed depth and displayed versatility with his ability to play defense, clear the ball and contribute to the offense as well.”
Meagher, an exceptionally talented eighth grader also shined. “Trevan showed some versatility on the defensive end,” Troffa said. “He was able to take face-offs, play defensive middie and close defense.”
O’Rourke led the defense in ground balls and stepped up his game considerably at long-stick midfield. “He made some big plays in key situations that ultimately changed the outcome of the Hills East game,” Troffa said.
Criscuola and Aidan Mrotzek helped to solidify Huntington’s close defense and the pair also provided the team with much needed depth. Thomas Peer also pitched in on defense and “did a nice job when he was asked to help,” Troffa said.
The Blue Devil goalie tandem of Fascill and McDonald sparkled in the cage. “They routinely made tough saves against the best teams in the county,” Troffa said.
The Huntington JV expects to win many more games next spring. “We look forward to the return of all of our players,” Troffa said. “We hope they play all summer, winter and fall and are truly ready for next season. We expect great things from all of our returning players. Sam Kimmelman rose to be a top player and is expected to have an outstanding sophomore year. Matt Youngwall and Chas Forte will continue to be very tough on defense. Aidan Bonn will be a top defensive player next year. Ryan Baker and Matt Stolfa will come back as top midfielders and continue to be aggressive. Billy Burton and Michael Wright will be a top attackman as sophomores. We expect great things from them.”
The Blue Devils are also looking forward to the return to the field of some of their top players who were sidelined with injuries in 2017, including Nick Mattio and Jack Krisch.
The Huntington JV is a tightknit group. “One of our injured players, Joseph Mead was at practice every day helping the team out in any way he could despite the fact he was injured for the whole season,” Troffa said.
Although it’s still a long way off, the Blue Devils can’t wait for the 2018 campaign to start.