Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dillon, Neilis Featured In Senior All-Star Game

Kyle Dillon and Andrew Neilis have spent a significant percentage of their lives on a lacrosse field.

The same field all the way through.

What began with mildly competitive games as neophytes at the MSA level blossomed into prosperous varsity careers at Mahopac High.

Having played basketball, football, and lacrosse together since sixth grade, the brotherhood was formed and sustained.

The lacrosse pedigree of both student-athletes helped open avenues to  NCAA destinations, Dillon to Springfield and Neilis to SUNY-Plattsburgh. Before 2014 graduation, both players will savor one last opportunity as teammates.

Both Dillon and Neilis will be featured in Section 1's Senior All-Star game at 5 p.m. Monday at Lakeland High School in Shrub Oak.

Providing a thick dose of senior leadership, Neilis and Dillon were instrumental in Mahopac's 4-0 tear, overcoming an early spate of tight losses.

The win streak saw them score the upset heard around the Section when they stomped out and stymied Bronxville's hellfire, Division I-bound offense in a wild 6-4 victory.

Dillon went from a supplementary scorer as a junior to a stabilizing force in Mahopac's offense.

 He went from a cast member to a starring role this past season, a dependable go-to piece whose one-on-one game and 93-MPH shot enabled the Brine All-American to assume the leadership mantle. The 6-foot-2 evaded ramped up pressure, dodged at will, and hunted for his shot, overcoming a balky back at the season's start.

Neilis, who doubles as a wide receiver and essential target of grenade launching QB Ethan Ryan in football, evolved into one of the Section's fiercest defenseman.

Flanked by All-American candidate/snub Brendan Hynes (Richmond) as a junior, Neilis and resident man-child Max Littletown created all sorts of turbulence for opposing offenses during that aforementioned high point.

After sifting through a number of newly-implemented rules, many limiting the physicality on which Neilis' game is predicated, the senior came alive as a lockup specialist during Mahopac's late-season splurge.

"Kyle and Andrew are both three-year (varsity) players," said Indians coach Mike Haddeland.

"Andrew was a player I could rely on, on the defensive end to settle the guys and tighten up our slide package. He did a great job down the stretch taking control of the D. Kyle was huge down the stretch as well. He started us off against Bronxville, scoring the first two goals of that game. He was steady all year, even when the other teams' poled him every game."

For both players, it is the ending before a new beginning. The future is as exciting as the past has been eventful. Tomorrow, both players will conclude a scholastic career that began way back when with one final game.

"I'm just excited to play with some really good players and I'm looking forward to having fun," said Dillon, who chose Springfield over Division-I programs such as Siena, St. Joseph's, and Manhattan, to name a few.  "As always, I'll try to learn some things from new coaches and players to improve my game."