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Preview: Big Goal in Mind for Boys Varsity Lacrosse

boys varsity lacrosse preseason

Harvey’s boys varsity lacrosse team got a taste of what it’s like to play for a championship last season when the Cavaliers made it to the Housatonic Valley Athletic League (HVAL) final before losing to the Williams School. First-year head coach Michael Scarsella said this year’s squad is hungry for a return to the HVAL championship game and to come away with the first-place trophy.

“The players understand what it takes to get to the league final and they are all willing to put in the extra work to bring Harvey the championship after getting so close last season,” said Coach Scarsella, who will be joined on the sidelines by his two assistants, returning coach Nick Leahy and Jim Donohue in his first year. Coach Leahy will assist the head coach with the defensive strategy while Coach Donohue will serve as the offensive coordinator.

Aside from the exceptional talent of several players, Coach Scarsella believes the biggest strength of the team in their experience “We have a number of players who play lacrosse outside of Harvey on excellent travel teams and bring a very high ‘lacrosse IQ’ to our team,” the coach said. He sees speed as another key strength of the team. “We have a lot of team speed, so we’ll use this to our advantage to control the pace of the game,” Coach Scarsella said.

Leading Harvey’s offensive efforts will be returning junior captain attackman Jared Effinger, the 2022 D3 Offensive Player of the Year. An HVAL All-League selection last year, Effinger led the team in scoring with 54 goals and was tied for second in assists with 14. Coach Scarsella is excited to see what Effinger will do this spring. “Jared is a dynamic player who gets the offense to perform at another gear,” Coach Scarsella said, adding, “He’s fast, skilled, and fearless going to the goal.” Two other attackmen should give Effinger some solid support. Returning players freshman Evan Vasile and sophomore Ryan Byrne, two natural lefties, should provide a lot of options offensively.  Sophomore Owen Eysymontt is another returning attackman who should see some minutes this season.

Harvey’s midfield should be very strong as well. Returning sophomore Jackson Saccomanno is considered a natural midfielder who plays the open field extremely well and he is also the team’s faceoff specialist. Saccomanno, whose 27 goals total was second to Effinger’s last spring and was the team leader in assists with 15, earned an HVAL All-League selection as a ninth grader. “Jackson brings his experience as the Harvey varsity quarterback to the lacrosse field directing the midfield and setting the pace offensively,” Coach Scarsella said. Saccomanno and senior captain Dante Meloni will lead Harvey’s midfield core. An HVAL All-League selection last year, Meloni, has excellent skills that help him control the flow of the game. “Dante is strong and athletic and ready to take the ball to the goal,” said Coach Scarsella. Rounding out the midfield of returning players will be freshman Wyatt Bland, a player the coach describes as “extremely athletic and coachable” He saw time last season as an eighth grader. The coach also sees senior Jacob Weisberger bringing his skills, experience, and leadership to Harvey’s midfield squad. 

When Coach Scarsella sizes up the defense he sees a unit that plays smart and physical. “We expect to keep the ball out of our opponents’ sticks this season,” the coach said. The team looks to have a solid core of experienced long poles led by junior captain Wesley Elkind, described by the coach as “smart and athletic.”  The coach says Elkind will lead the defense along with junior captain Mike Sorio who likes to play a physical game, sophomore Anthony Galtieri, a natural lefty, and junior Felix Oliver, another returning player from last season. Coach Scarsella said the team will miss stand-out junior defenseman Peter Sorio, who is out this season with an injury. 

Returning freshman Henry Sklar will be tasked with handling one of the more dynamic positions in lacrosse, the long stick midfielder (LSM). Coach Scarsella said the LSM needs excellent stick skills to be able to play offense with a long pole and possess athleticism to get up and down the field to transition from defense to offense, and he believes Sklar is ready to take on the job. “Henry brings a tremendous amount of talent to our defensive group,’ the coach said. “We’ll look to bring him into close defense from time to time and ask him to take face-offs in certain situations,” added the coach who also said Wes Elkind might jump in as the LSM when needed. 

The goalie position should be another area of strength as the team has three quality players competing for the starting position. Leif Peters, an eighth grader, is the only returning player of the three. Joining Peters will be two freshmen, Mark Miceli and Richard Sullivan. Coach Scarsella believes all three goalies “are eager to work hard to get better and contribute to the success of the team.” 

The depth of the roster is evident as evidenced by the  newcomers waiting in the wings to contribute – sophomore midfielder William Bland, junior midfielder/attackman Zack Marvin, junior midfielder Joe Altman, freshmen Ryan Dey, Jordan Collins, Connor Hardy, Eli Klagsbrun, and eighth grader Jake Lichtenstein. Coach Scarsella expects them to contribute some minutes this season.

Looking ahead to the spring schedule, Coach Scarsella sees three teams in particular as tough assignments – reigning HVAL champion Williams, Wooster, and the Masters School. The coach believes Forman will also give the Cavaliers a battle.

Looking to improve upon the 2022 team’s overall 7-6 record (4-4 HVAL), Coach Scarsella sees the 2023 team playing an up-tempo game to control the pace of play and implementing different offensive and defensive schemes to keep his team’s opponents off guard. “Overall, we’re looking to have fun and play our best every game,” the coach said, adding, “If you try your best, you play your best and good things happen.”

The boys lacrosse season gets underway Wednesday, April 5, when the Cavs host Forman.

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