Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Look Back: Hudson Valley All-Americans

JD Colarusso, Arlington: At the helm of Arlington’s 2013 ascension was Colarusso, who carried the leadership mantle proudly for the Admirals. All season, senior-fueled Arlington emphasized the power of the pack over the power of the wolf.

The result? An 11-6 record, unprecedented signature wins and a berth in the Class A quarterfinal for Dan Connolly’s program. The Albany-bound senior was the bulwark between the pipes. He served as the resident traffic cop, directing both sides of the ball from the last line of defense.

 Molded by former Yorktown keeper Joe Colarusso, JD left his stamp as the school’s first-ever lacrosse All-American. While Colarusso was first to do it, his teammates are on a similar path. Teammate and tight friend Dan Hansen will join him at Albany. Sophomore Brendan Sunday (Towson) will help fill the leadership gap next season, ensuring that the best season in program history is a portent of things to come.

Brian Prestreau, Yorktown: A key cog in Yorktown’s vaunted quick-rip shooting game, Prestreau rapidly evolved into one of the state’s prolific scorers. Drilling on the fly, the senior was a steady finisher as the Huskers navigated a sizzling May.

Prestreau’s scoring in the third quarter, Yorktown’s workagame striking time for game-altering spurts, was essential.  The Huskers captured a Section I/Class B championship with a thorough 17-3 pummeling of fierce rival John Jay-Cross River.

Yorktown fell 13-11 to undefeated national power Niskayuna in the New York State regional final, concluding a 17-3 campaign.

Connor Vercruysse, Yorktown: The 6-foot-3 junior was a key cog, helping provide balance in Dave Marr’s rock-spreading offense.  He scored 61 goals, taking pressure off the 1-2 punch of Mariano and Prestreau.

A physical banger armed to the teeth with a hard shot, a mid-yardage rifle, and a drill from point-blank, Vercruysse’s ability to create shooting space paid dividends for the 17-3 Huskers.

The Rutgers-commit will shoulder a more prominent role in Yorktown’s catch-and-stick offense next season— constantly moving his size 12 cleats through traffic and rolling off picks ready to rip.

Jack Grass, Bronxville: Competing in a winter league, executing captain’s practices/workouts in year round fashion, lacrosse has become about as vital to Grass’ life as breathing.

The Johns Hopkins-commit has reaped the rewards of this unwavering lacrosse focus. Grass’ scoring and playmaking helped catapult the Broncos to a 15-9 Section I championship over Pleasantville. The Broncos rolled to a 20-3 smashing of Glens Falls in the NYS regional semifinals.

Grass churned out identical numbers as his clone/brother Henry (who is also Hopkins-bound) in the regional win, scoring three goals and dishing out an assist as the Broncos built a 14-2 halftime edge and never stepped off the gas.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior attackman’s ability to quarterback the Broncos, ride, and bury pivotal shots made him a heavily courted recruit. He chose Hopkins over a doctor’s bill list of programs—Duke, UNC, Virginia, and UPENN to rattle off a few.

Peter Conley, Mamaroneck: Big dogs salivate at the opportunity to bite. When the pressure ratchets up and the team is calling for a clutch snipe, it is the alpha dog who provides it.

Conley, the senior Georgetown-signee, is no puppy. He allowed these words to prove prophetic during the Tigers’ Section I/Class A championship win over gritty North Rockland last week.
The senior came up with four timely goals, steering Mamaroneck to the 7-4 win.
The senior erupted during pressure-spiked moments.

It led to a 13-7 record, culminating in a loss to perennially-tough Shenendehowa in the NYS regional semifinals. Dodging, creating seams, freeing himself off the ball and burying clutch shots, Conley’s leadership helped Mamaroneck to back-to-back Sectional championships.

 His evolution as  go-to scorer has ascended Section I mountaintops, lifting Mamaroneck to a higher stratosphere.

Conley helped out with clears, dictated the offensive flow, embodying the ‘team guy’ concept for a tight-knit group.

Trevor Koelsch, Yorktown: The senior defensemen was a key ingredient in Yorktown’s constant ball pressure and takeaways.

The pipe-busting, in-your-grill defense caged high-volume scorers. Bolstered by Koelsch, Yorktown kept opponents well under their scoring average.

 Known for ferocious checks, Koelsch was tasked with putting the clamps on every All American in sight.

The 6-foot-3 senior was able to consistently badger scorers out of their comfort zone.

Molded by a lineage of defensemen from the program, Hopkins-bound Koelsch’s length, instinct, and athleticism instigated a spate of sloppy turnovers and wrecked foes’ offensive chemistry.

Koelsch was an emotional leader for Yorktown, which walloped opponents en route to their 36th Section I title in the program’s illustrious history book.

Nick Mariano, Yorktown: It may seem a bit much, but when a player has spent 90 percent of his life entrenched in lacrosse battles, competing in summer leagues, teaching the fundamentals in youth leagues, plying his trade during various showcase tournaments, and collecting 3 out 4 Sectional championships in HS, the nickname “Nicky Lax” is warranted.

Mariano surfaced as an elite scorer in 2013. His knack for timely goals and ability to dish on a team rife with sharpshooters helped catapult the Huskers to a Sectional championship.

When the bright lights were flickered on, so was the UMASS-bound senior. He fought through endless hits and double teams, he stretched out defenses with deep rips. During the sectional semifinals against Somers, Mariano engineered a personal 3-0 run to get Yorktown jump-started in the first half. Mariano led Section  1 in scoring, compiling 63 goals and 48 assists.

Nicky Lax’s function as a facilitator grew this season, as he served up lob passes and fed cutters, empowering the strengths of several highly decorated teammates.

Luke Palmadesso, Yorktown: The junior Villanova-commit displayed grit at a furious pace on the X, sharing the duties with senior Danny Manning. The constant work of this warhorse enabled Yorktown to devour rival John Jay in the Sectional tournament. Yorktown sledgehammered John Jay, 17-3, in the final. The junior scored 16 goals, doled out 16 assists, and scooped up 105 groundballs.

Palmadesso’s athleticism and emergence as a supplementary scorer helped the Huskers thrive.
Even in the season-ending loss to 20-0 Niskayuna of Section 2, Palmadesso’s performance on the X was vital. The Palmadesso- Manning tandem sparked Yorktown’s goals by-the-bushels and third quarter jaunts.

Austin Fusco, Yorktown: Don’t let those skinny legs fool you.

The hyper-athletic Fusco was a holding force for Yorktown, which kept a virtual pair of handcuffs on the wrists of high-scoring shooters. Fusco’s ability to absorb hits spurred Yorktown, which outscored Section I opponents by a 199-46 margin in 2013.

Fusco altered the trajectory of shots, closed off driving lanes, and helped move the ball from end to end. The blanketing defense, quickness and nose for the rock helped Yorktown neutralize scorers from John Jay to Chaminade. The 6-foot, 180-pound junior chose Syracuse over North Carolina and Hopkins.

Jack Lambert, John Jay CR: The lone player in Section I chosen to play in the 2013 Under Armour All American game, Lambert represented the area as a stabilizing force on both sides of the field. One of the most athletic defensemen in the country, Lambert shut down hot-handed scorers.

A North Carolina signee, Lambert’s physicality negated numerous dodgers. Lambert delivered loud hits, fractured ball movement, and hounded down go-to snipers.

That unique blend of hard-hitting strength, stick skills, and speed gives Lambert his second straight All American honor. The versatility and veteran savvy of Lambert helped steer Tim Schurr’s Indians to a 12-7 campaign. They earned a berth in the Section I championship, where they were defeated handily by Yorktown.

Lambert, a two-sport athlete (Lambert plays wide receiver in football), chose UNC over Notre Dame, Hopkins and Syracuse.