By MIKE SMITH
The Eastchester lacrosse season may have come to an end on May 16, but second-year coach Steve Lennon said the Eagles’ success in 2014 is proof the program is headed in the right direction.
Eastchester’s strong play this year earned the team a home game in the first round of the Class A playoffs. Unfortunately for local fans, the team’s first-round opponent would be a tough Harrison squad just starting to come into its own. Although Eastchester handed the Huskies a loss a few weeks ago, this time it was Harrison who would come out on top with a strong second-half effort.
“This was a tough one for us,” Lennon said. “I think their goalie played amazing and this is a team that has Division-I caliber guys…when they’re a 12-seed, that’s a tough draw for us.”
Jake Marino—who only played one half against Eastchester in the regular season—had five goals to lead Harrison. Huskies’ goalie Stephen Forrest made 14 saves in the win.
“Their goalie played great,” Lennon said. “He made a lot of big saves.”
Harrison won its quarterfinal game against Sleepy Hollow before ultimately falling in the semifinals against a particularly good Yorktown team.
Lennon was pleased with the way his team played all season and believes the Eagles have a chance to take a big leap forward next year. Although the team will bid adieu to top scorer Rob Lalli, the Eastchester coach said there is no shortage of returning players, including John Archidiacono and John Guido, who will look to continue Lalli’s legacy.
“These kids are going to be very good players, they’re still young,” he said. “They’re going to be big offensive threats as their skill level improves.”
Most important, Lennon said, will be the return of Eagles’ goalie Wayne Hoffman, who played brilliantly this year.
“He was one of [the best], if not the best player on the team,” Lennon said. “And with brothers Ryan and John Bloom back on defense, things are looking good for next year.”
As he prepares for his third year at the helm of the program, Lennon said he hopes the players will continue to buy-in to the off-season workouts as Eastchester hopes to transform itself into a Section I power.
“We have everyone committed to working in the offseason, but now we want to take it to the next level,” he said. “Cardio every day, working on stick skills; these are what we’re going to need to be doing to take it there.”