Returning almost all of last year’s key contributors from a five-win team, Valley Stream District boys’ lacrosse coach Dan Achatz said he’s expecting a successful 2013 campaign.
“We lost our leading scorer — Jesse Oppenheimer — but we brought back just about everyone else,” Achatz said. “Most of the kids have been a part of the system for three years, especially the defense. We expect to do some good things. We’re looking to work hard every day and compete in every game.”
The team played well out of the gate, beating Glen Cove and Malverne/East Rockaway in March, but a challenging schedule against Conference I opponents awaits. “The kids know their potential,” Achatz said.
An experience defense will serve as the team’s backbone, according to Achatz. Seniors Greg Jurcsak, Bobby Madramootoo and Francisco Montalvo, all from Valley Stream Central, will log the majority of minutes in front of senior goaltender Nick Miller. Jurcsak usually gets the toughest individual assignment and has a knack for takeaways, while Madramootoo and Montalvo bring a physical presence to the back row. Jurcsak is also capable of making end-to-end rushes and jumpstarting the transition offense.
“Our defenders have great chemistry and play consistent,” Achatz said. “We’ll rely on them a lot.”
Miller, from Valley Stream North, is a three-year starter between the pipes and last spring was Honorable Mention All-County. “Nick is very reliable,” Achatz noted. “ He directs everyone in the back, anticipates well and has the ability to make big saves.”
At the other end of the field, the team boasts an interesting mix of attackers. Junior Malik Talbert, who scored five goals in the season-opening 9-1 win over Glen Cove, is a returning starter. Senior Victor Huezo moved from midfield to the front line, and freshman Rory Carey is new to varsity altogether. Talbert, said Achatz, knows how to operate in tight spaces and is a strong finisher. “Malik knows how to get open and is an accurate shooter,” he said. Huezo’s leadership qualities was something the coach wanted to add to the attack, and Carey’s skill set will be an asset. Carey, described as the quarterback of the offense, scored twice in his varsity debut.
In the midfield, Achatz is looking for the team to develop some depth as the season unfolds. Junior Chris Roberts will play a major role on the offensive end and on faceoffs. He has good size (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) and strength, and a heavy shot. “We’re looking for him to score consistently,” Achatz said.
Junior Ryan Milano was called up from JV midway through last season and performed well. He’s fast on his feet and strong with the ball in his stick, Achatz said, and understands what it takes to get the job done at both ends. Senior Chris Dinko is a strong defensive-minded middie with tremendous clearing ability.
Valley Stream plays four of its first five conference games away, starting April 10 at Freeport at 4:15 p.m.