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By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
We have been saying in this space for quite some time now that emergent SOMERS is veering toward excellence again; not the excellence we saw between 2000-10 when the Tuskers reeled off six Section 1 titles and produced All-Americans like Jordan Rabidou and Jo Jo Marasco. But ya never know.
Somers senior T.J. Olifers has been on the Class B scene the last four years as Somers has trotted out an “also-ran” unit that was decent but not quite part of the second tier of teams beneath the upper crust of 40-time champion Yorktown, 10-time champion John Jay and seven-time and reigning Class B champion Rye.
Through no fault of anybody’s, Somers hit a cyclical period whereby the Tuskers weren’t producing as much All-Section talent like they had prior to 2010, which coincides with their last sectional title appearance, a 9-6 loss to John Jay CR.
But if you take a look at the current roster, which just disposed of visiting MAHOPAC, 10-7, last Tuesday, one will see a host of next-level individuals who are buying into Coach Vin DeGregorio’s #WeNotMe system, sharing and caring for the ball – and each other – like they have not done in years, according to senior captain TJ Olifers.
“The young talent that everyone sees is part of the program that Coach DeGregorio is building in Somers, which is trusting everyone to do their job, and the “we-not-me” lacrosse culture.” the Muhlenberg-bound Olifers said. “Since my freshman year on varsity I have played with many great lacrosse players like Nick Rossi and TJ Deagan. The foundation for the success you’re seeing now has been set by players like them, who myself and the kids in the youth program can look up to. This year, the coaches and our team have bought into trusting everyone so that anyone is a threat on the field. The success also doesn’t come without the underrated talent of Derek Marcus who we can trust to lock down any player.”
The ‘spread- the-wealth’ mentality was on display against Mahopac, which failed to slow down sophomore Newman (4G, 1A), who was oftentimes set up by freshman Miguel Iglesias (4A), who also dished to sophomore Mac Sullivan (2G, 1A) and freshman Ryan Brush (2G, 1A). Yeah, just like ‘The Who’ sang back in 1965… The Kids Are Alright. Nine of Somers’ 10 goals were assisted.
Seniors – Olifers (2G), A Henry Ellison (2A), G Hunter Sullivan and game-changing pole Derek Marcus, among others – have set an excellent example, and the kids have bought in, according to DeGregorio, who the players were quick to give credit to.
“I give a lot of credit to Coach Vin, he built up the team we have right now all the way from youth, he held clinics and did a lot for us to love the sport.,” Marcus said. “The difference is that not one person on our team is selfish. We have assisted more than 80% of our goals, which is unheard of. I just knew from the start we could have something going by the way we play at practice and the way we act off the field, too. My teammates are a special group of people and are awesome to play with my senior year.”
The Tuskers (9-1) still have a lot to prove, but the win over an improved Mahopac club was a step in the right direction.
Mahopac FOGO Chris Evans kept the Indians in the game, which was 7-7 after three quarters, winning 15 of 22 faceoffs while gobbling nine GBs to set up the likes of sophomore Danny Koch (2G, 1A), junior Gavin Viglucci (2G), junior Mike Rettberg (2G) and West Point-bound senior Mike Harney (1G, 3A).
Somers went on to defeat Class D state-ranked (No.3) PLEASANTVILLE, 10-3, behind a superb second-half effort from G Hunter Sullivan (13 saves). The Panthers had nothing to slow down Olifiers (4G, 1A). Brush (3G), Newman (1G, 1A), Iglesias (1G, 1A) and Ellison (1G) were quick to pile on.
YORKTOWN has lost four in a row, but don’t be fooled into thinking Coach Tim Schurr’s state-ranked (No.4) Huskers (4-5) are not prime-time players for the Section 1 Class B crown. The four losses were against some of the finest programs in the nation, including state-ranked (No.3) Rye (9-7), CT power Darien (9-8), (No.7 Class D) Cold Spring Harbor (6-3) and (No.2 Class A) Chaminade (17-8). So settle down until we see what happens today when the Huskers take on John Jay CR, the Section 1 program that lifted the veil of invincibility back in 2018. We’re not going to panic on the Huskers, who traditionally play an extremely tough schedule, until we see what happens later today, though a loss to John Jay would give cause for concern.
HEN HUD is feeling pretty, pretty good after the Class C Sailors (3-5) left as bosses against PUTNAM VALLEY in a 7-4 win and BYRAM HILLS in a 10-9 triumph; all three teams are bidding for Class C supremacy with state-ranked (No.8) Tappan Zee serving as the team to beat. Sailor Dean Hiltsley (5G) found his groove against the Bobcats (5-3) while Rocco Capicotti added a hat trick. Ryan Clark (1G, 1A), Scott Lupi (1G), Thomas Popolizio (1A) and Dylan Lennox (1A) were the benefactors of FOGO Cole Pritchard, who won 13 of 19 draws. Rowan Caffrey had seven saves (5 in the 2nd half) to keep Byram under control until the Sailors scored four unanswered for the win. Bobcats M. Oronzio (4G), Ben Rakower (2G, 2A), R. DuToit (2G, 1A) and Gavin Javorsky (3A) scored three or more points.
“It’s what we needed, a back and forth game where we came roaring back with four unanswered goals for the win,” Sailor skipper Troy Lepore said.
Against PV, Hiltsley (4G) had a day, and Thomas Popolizio (1G, 1A), Scott Lupi (1G), Lennox (1G) all tickled twine while Caffrey made 12 big saves.
Always optimistic PV Coach Tim Weir believes the best is yet to come from his Tigers (4-5).
“My rookies are really coming on of late,” Weir said. “Tom Calicchio is playing awesome at D-mid, Middie Hayden Gumbrecht on offense, Andrew Dzubak on attack. Doug Brown has been stepping up his game. Chris DeGiorgio has been solid at mid. Defensively, goalie Roger Raimo has been outstanding. Anthony Esposito and Logan Porteus have been shut down defenders. I really like this team. We are right there in Class C and I love our chances in May.”
Ray has 33 years experience covering and photographing local sports in Westchester and Putnam counties, including everything from Little League/Travel Baseball to varsity high school prep sports and collegiate coverage. He has been a sports editor at Examiner Media since its inception in 2007.