A look at the area’s high school boys lacrosse teams. Teams are listed in alphabetical order with last season’s record.
Absegami (13-6) tied with Mainland Regional for second in the CAL last season. The Braves are strong at attack (seniors Austin Goodwin and Matt Collins) and midfield (Darren Sewell and Dustin Gunther). The defense lost six players to graduation but still has senior Kevin Duncan. Two freshmen, midfielder Michael LoBosco and defenseman Tyler Hone, are expected to be key contributors.
Egg Harbor Township (13-7) has a good chance to defend its first CAL title, but will have to do it with a new coach, John Ohlsen, who is returning to the school after starting the team in 2008. The Eagles feature junior midfielder Chris Baumgartel, a first-team Press All-Star who had 18 goals and 15 assists last season. EHT also will count on two second-team Press All-Stars, senior goalie Chris Custodio and senior defender Tim Mason.
Lower Cape May Regional (2-14) has only two seniors, and coach Frank Zilinek expects six freshmen to get significant playing time. Zilinek said the Caper Tigers have strong leadership from captains Jackson Sole (senior midfielder), Cody Lambert (junior defender) and Jack VonSavage (junior attackman). Freshman midfielder Cole Blackley and junior attack man Matt Lindholm also will be key players.
Mainland Regional (12-5) lost 14 seniors, including eight starters. But coach Rich Farr, who returned to his old job after one season at Ocean City, said the Mustangs have several promising freshmen, including midfielders Brad Meister and Ryan Swenson. Attackman Ryan Bralski, a second-team Press All-Star, is back along with fellow Jake Snook (midfield) and Jared Anapolle (defense). Junior goalie Daulton Sykora takes over for his brother, Ricky, who was a four-year starter.
Middle Township (10-7) has 10 returning starters from a team that made the South Jersey Group I playoffs for the fourth year in a row last season. The Panthers’ offense is led by junior midfielder Alex Terinek (65 goals, 32 assists last season) and sophomore sophomore attackman Jack Dennis (46 goals, 25 assists), both second-team Press All-Stars last season. The defense features junior Cody Stanford, another second-team Press All-Star, along with senior Sam Bakely and sophomore Joe Durso.
Oakcrest (9-9) returns junior attack Jon Mitchell, a second-team Press All-Star, along with 10 seniors. Brett Hoffecker, who takes over the Falcons after being named Press Coach of the Year last season with Egg Harbor Township, said Oakcrest is stronger and more disciplined this year.
Ocean City (3-13) has a new coach, Absegami graduate Joe LaTorre, who said the Red Raiders should be able to compete with every team in the CAL. Seniors Matt Schuler (midfield), Sean Kelly (defense) and Dan Spatol (midfield) will lead Ocean City.
Vineland (1-15) has a new coach, Michael Kenney, who is a Richard Stockton College senior. Kenney, who played for the Fighting Clan from 2006-09 and was an assistant last season, said he expects the team to be more competitive this year. Vineland’s attack is led by senior Danny Miller and junior Mikey Ostrowski. The midfield features seniors Calvin Stiles and Luke Bauito and junior Kevin Forcinito. Seniors Felix Mercado and Brandon Sapsai anchor the defense in front of two solid goalies, junior Chris Wolfe and Bart Lusinski.
Barnegat (10-11) made a big jump last season after winning just one game the previous season. The Bengals’ core has been together for two seasons now, and they have seven starters returning, including seniors Nick Anderson (attack), Zach Tanner (midfield) and Brian Holmes (defense). Coach Ryan Dalon said junior goalie Matt Grobelny provides strong leadership.
Lacey Township (2-14) is led by a senior group that has been there since the program started three seasons ago. Senior midfielder Tom Prosser has committed to Division III FDU-Florham, and senior attackman Brock Torre was the team MVP last season. Senior defender Casey Sirotniak , senior goalie Tyler Walsh and junior midfielder Dan Cannon also are players to watch.
Southern Regional (17-4) returns its entire starting lineup, including three first-team Press All-Stars: Senior defender Nick Jinks, senior attackman Tyler Lipositz and sophomore attackman Dylan Jinks. With 15 seniors, the Rams expect to contend for titles in both the Shore Conference and South Jersey Group IV.
St. Augustine Prep (13-6), a state Non-Public A finalist each of the past two years, graduated two-time Press Player of the Year Steve Pontrello and three other first-team Press All-Stars. But the Hermits return first-teamer Mike Sutton, a senior midfielder who has committed to Penn State and was named an All-American by US Lacrosse last season. Sutton is one of nine Hermits who are heading to NCAA Division I schools. The others are: Seniors Adam Monticollo (defense, Loyola), Nate Gorman (defense, Villanova) and Ryan Zurawski (attack, Wagner); juniors Bryce Young (defense, Maryland), Dean DeSimone (attack, Delaware) and Will Fox (midfield, Fairfield); and sophomores James Kitchen (midfield, Hofstra) and Chase Young (midfield, Delaware).
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