Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Indians NCAA Roundup: Lacrosse

Having served as a lock down specialist at long stick middie during a two-time All-Section career at Mahopac, BRENDAN HYNES (Class of 2013) earned his cheddar by routinely blanketing top-shelf scoring threats with hiked up, in-your-jersey pressure and physicality.

The 6-foot-4 Hynes handled the chore of diminishing the damage of gunslingers, albeit athleticism and veteran know-how allowed him to wear multiple jerseys. He scored the rock. He fueled the offensive attack. He grappled for loose balls.

Hynes' blend of heart and insatiable hunger for victory garnered interest from a gaggle of Division-I programs, Richmond, West Point, Penn State, and Rutgers, to name a few.

He selected Richmond, with prestigious academics and the opportunity to earn meaningful burn immediately luring him in.

During 10 games with the Spiders, Hynes is a similar, multi-layered jack of all trades.

The freshman has quickly cleared what's often described as a "quantum leap" to the Division-I ranks, proving it about as daunting as hurdling a pencil. Hynes leads the Spiders with 46 groundballs and 26 caused turnovers.

The Spiders have experienced their fair share of woes, mustering a meager 2-8 start. While his spirit for possession disruption has blossomed, Hynes has kicked out four assists and scored a goal for the Spiders, paced by go-to bangers Mitchell Goldberg (21 goals, six assists) and quarterback Brad Burnam (team-best 18 assists, six goals).

J.P. Forester has also discovered his niche as a finisher, depositing 18 goals.

Hynes earned Atlantic Sun Men's Player of the Week alongside Mercer's James Tautkus last week. The freshman knotted a season-high with eight groundballs during a 14-7 victory over Wagner College back on March 21. It was the new program's first-ever home win. Hynes earned the league's eye after scooping up 11 ground balls and creating eight turnovers during a two-game span.

Spiders head coach Dan Chamodi, who won a national championship at Loyola two seasons ago, has been methodical in architecting the program. Chamodi and his staff invested in a cadre of hotly pursued recruits with the 2013 class, hoping to steer the program toward fashioning a contender down the stretch.

Netting Hynes, curiously left off the Hudson Valley All-American contingent last season, was key in the plot to re-energize the roster with freshman flavor.

While the impact hasn't been felt immediately, especially as the Spiders opened the season mired in an 0-5 funk, a roster comprised entirely of freshman and sophomores is geared to improve winning down a four-year path. Call it long term value.

The Spiders opened the season with a statement, inflicting a scare into Virginia during a 13-12 loss back on Feb. 8. Though they refuse to harp on moral victories, Richmond's evolution is developing.

ANTHONY BERARDIS AND OKIE BERNABO could have easily created a different path.

Now the bulwark and veteran pulse of Long Island University-Post's lacrosse team, both players were once Division-I prospects in a deep-watered ocean laced with sharks and blue chips.

Rather than become enamored with Division-I glory, rather than inking with a school strictly for the name emblazoned across the jersey, rather than jumping at the first Division-I offer sheet hurled on the table, Berardis and Bernabo have become the faces of Division-II Post.

Post's speedball style has allowed both Berardis and Bernabo to thrive. In Mahopac's system, a subpar effort or a failure to submit 100 percent of sustained relentlessness will surely insert bench splinters in your ass. At Post, the style and culture is the same.

Sustaining the focus and routinely bringing the ruckus to work each day, the Indians' tandem has helped the Pioneers to a 5-2 start this season.

Berardis has been a key figure in a balanced offense, firing in 10 goals in seven games. Bernabo, a captain since his sophomore year, is savoring his final season. The 5-foot-7 senior, coming off an ECC honorable mention campaign in 2013, has come away with 17 ground balls. He's helped splinter ball movement, causing four turnovers to help enforce the straightjacket defense that's held opponents to 6.6 goals the past three games.

Projected by prognosticators to finish in the conference's lower percentile and pegged as a callow and unpredictable piecemeal, the Pioneers defied all naysayers during an 11-3 splurge that culminated in an NCAA tournament berth last season.

The Pioneers gutted out a 10-9 victory over Chestnut Hill on March 29.

Lifted into a more prominent role as a sophomore, Class of 2012 grad PAT DONAHOE has deposited five goals and dealt out four assists for Hamilton College.

Donahoe, a multi-sport athlete during his stay at Mahopac, has provided a layer of depth for the troika of Sam Sweet (14 goals, 10 assists), Connor Morgan (21 goals), , and John Zimmerman (nine goals, 20 assists).

At Springfield College, FRANKIE VERDE has acclimatized to a starting role on defense. Verde has scooped up 16 groundballs and instigated six turnovers for the Pride, winners of two of the last three following a 13-5 pelting of Wheaton this weekend.

VINNY PARILLO, forever associated with a stout defensive performance during the Indians' 2011 Section I championship over Lakeland-Panas, has scooped up six groundballs for Nazareth College, which is now 4-5 overall. Parillo's squad has been paced offensively by bolt-quick Luke Wooters (21 goals, 23 assists), a product of Iona Prep.

Hartwick College's NICK OLIVER (Class of 2013), a legit inside-outside scoring threat for Mike Haddeland's Indians last season, is coming off a 1-1 week. The Hawks defeated King's College (PA), 12-9, but fell 10-4 to St. John Fisher College. Oliver and the Hawks opened the season with a 17-11 loss to Salve Regina. Oliver was reunited with a familiar face in that home-opener, playing against former 'Pac coach Dave Haddeland.

DAVE HADDELAND, a Mahopac All-American in 1998 and 2011 Section 1 Coach of the Year, is currently the offensive coordinator for the upstart Seahawks.

The road to Rhode Island has created a new timeline in Haddeland's coaching epoch. Tasked with recruiting and molding NCAA talent on a workaday basis, Haddeland is off to a blistering 9-1 start this spring.

Salve Regina is coming off a wild, knot-tight overtime victory over the University of New England. Attackman Sharp Jones knifed through UNE, piling up a game-high four goals. The Seahawks walked off on senior Chad Hollenshade's clutch snipe in the extra session.

With the win, Salve Regina improved to 2-1 in Commonwealth Conference play.

Now a junior at Keene State, KEVIN CAREY (Class of 2011) has become an integral ingredient on both sides of the field. Carey has been the primary feeder, spurring the offensive attack with nine assists in seven games.

Carey has also popped three goals for the Owls, which topped UMass-Dartmouth by a 15-7 count on Saturday. With the win, KSU improves to 2-6 following an irregular start.

TY WEISBERG (Class of 2013), has found his way to a starting role at attack for Muhlenberg College (PA). The former All-Section shooter copped an assist during an 18-4 loss to propoful-potent Gettysburg, a viable Division-III power, on March 29.

Meanwhile, at Connecticut College, ROSS THOMPSON (Class of 2013) and the Camels have ripped off three of its last four. The Camels' win streak came to a screeching halt, as they lost a sheer shootout against Tufts, 21-13, on March 29.

TJ FOLEY, remembered fondly as the trigger man who pocketed the go-ahead and insurance goal en route to the aforementioned 2011 title, has improved to 6-4 with Drexel University in Philly. The Dragons defeated Delaware, 9-7, and have won two of its last three.