New York State 2015 Championship Standouts
Like every year, the New York State championships are a must-see display of lacrosse at its finest and feature a long list of student-athletes who will play the sport at the next level.
If you missed this weekend's action, you can get caught up here on 3dRising.com. Below is a look at some the players who stood out on the final day of the New York State championships, which saw Niskayuna (Section II/Capital Region), Victor (Section V/Rochester) and Cold Spring Harbor (Section VIII/Nassau County) each crowed champions.
Jamie Trimboli, Midfield, Victor, Jr. - Syracuse Trimboli, who earned All-America honors as a junior this season, finished the season as Victor's leading scorer with 82 points on 59 goals and 23 assists. This fast and balanced midfielder has a natural talent for dodging and protecting the stick by squaring his shoulders up away from his defender and going to the cage at full speed. Turning back or re-dodging, he's major trouble for defenses because he never really slows down and his stick is always ready to shoot or pop a pass. Trimboli has a sense for operating with other players and looking for them as he dodges or as they dodge and he keeps his head up off ball. He has excellent vision when carrying, putting three passes right on Dan Barrow's stick for assists. And he can hammer the ball, cocking back for a powerful overhand release. In the first quarter against Manhasset, Trimboli put up three goals and two assists on his way to a seven-point state championship performance.
John Prendergast, Midfield, Niskayuna, Sr. - Duke You could see it right from the first Niskayuna possession. Prendergast, a 6-foot-2 athletic midfielder with a blistering shot, wasn't going to be denied. His first goal came as he just heaved the ball underhand at the net as West Genesee wasn't even settled in yet. And his passionate celebration seemed to ignite the entire Niskayuna community on hand. Prendergast's length and speed makes him a horse and a unique recruit, but one that Duke has had no trouble landing in recent seasons. Like his former teammate Luke Goldstock (North Carolina), Prendergast projects as an impact player in the ACC. He finished the championship with a four-goal, one-assist performance, scoring the first and last goals of the game and really looking like a leader on the field. He tallied 49 goals and nine assists this season.
Matt Licciardi, Midfield, Cold Spring Harbor, Soph. - Cornell Licciardi had a tremendous year for the Seahawks both as a major presence in the middle of the field but also as an offensive sparkplug. It came to a head Saturday in the state finale as the future Big Red midfielder registered a goal and four assists in the hard-fought 9-8 win over Cazenovia. He's smaller, standing just 5-foot-6 or so. But he's smart with and without the ball and plays with hustle and grit. His excellent vision resulted in four assists, all to Taylor Strough. Licciardi won 15 of 21 draws against Cazenovia, a stat that, had it gone the other way, could have drastically changed the outcome of the game. Nine of those face-offs ended up in Licciardi's stick. Playing like a captain as an underclassmen, Licciardi finished the season with 16 goals and 20 assists to go with a whole bunch of face-off wins.
Aiden O'Brien, Midfield, Niskayuna, Sr. - North Carolina O'Brien capped an outstanding senior season with a five-goal performance against West Genesee in the state finally. The most productive of the Silver Warriors midfielders this season, O'Brien led the team in both assists (59) and points (107). But he showed off his dodging and shooting abilities against West Genesee, scoring in a variety of ways, including down the alley and one on a textbook face-dodge to freeze his defender and go right by him for the finish. A couple of O'Brien's shots were actually clipped by the goalie, but had enough mustard on them to redirect into the net. O'Brien proved to be the most balanced offensive component for the Silver Warriors this season, and his days at Niskayuna ended with maybe one of his most important performances of his career.
Lucas Quinn, Midfield, Niskayuna, Soph. - Syracuse The future of the Niskayuna program the next two seasons, this Syracuse-bound midfielder ended up as the third leading scorer on the Silver Warriors roster with an impressive 77 points in his sophomore campaign, including 34 assists, good for second on the team. He scored three goals in the win over West Genesee, including two in the first half as Niskayuna set a relentless tone on offense. Quinn is smooth and confident as a dodger and he can shoot hard and accurately from different spots and ranges on the field, making him dangerous with the ball. With a sturdy frame, Quinn showed the ability to push through checks and get his shot off even with a defender on his hands or bodying him up.
Tyler Dunn, Midfield, Manhasset, Sr. - Penn Dunn is a fiercely competitive playmaker on both sides of the field and never seems to run out of energy or drive. His career didn't end the way many would have hoped for one of Long Island's best players. But Dunn was noble in the loss, still battling to the very end against Victor and literally trying to put the team on his back as Manhasset crawled out of an 8-0 lead to make it 8-4 in the second quarter. He scored two goals, including an authoritative drive down the alley and underhand blast, to help keep it respectable for Manhasset. It followed an incredible performance a week earlier at Stony Brook, where Dunn won all but one face-off and helped the Indians come back to knock off Mount Sinai for the Long Island Class C title. And it followed a clutch five-goal, two-assist performance against Yorktown in the state semifinals. Dunn finished the season with 42 goals and eight assists, along with a high face-off percentage.
Nick Mellen, Defense, West Genesee, Sr. - Syracuse If you watched the semifinals and state finals, you might not have much on Mellen to go with. That's because in two games you wouldn't have seen an attackman dodging on him. The athletic and aggressive defender again helped lead West Genesee to the state finals, like he did as a sophomore. Mellen's quickness, stick skills (he scored five goals this year) and strength made him a nightmare matchup for any attackman at the high school level. In college, it will be interesting to see how he is used at Syracuse, as he has qualities that could potentially lend him to being used as a short-stick defender if he's not able to start at close defense immediately. West Genesee's loss against Niskayuna can't outweigh the career Mellen had as one of the best to ever wear the Wildcats uniform. The respect other teams showed him in the state playoffs - essentially putting the ball as far away from him as possible - is telling.
PJ Brown, Midfield, Cazenovia, Sr. - Loyola Brown was a force for Cazenovia as it looked to win its third state title, but eventually fell short. He's a dodger in the mold of current college star and Caz alum Connor Cannizzaro, able to start and stop quickly and surprise you with his burst. He's an accurate shooter, displayed by one of the prettiest goals of championship Saturday - a hard take down the left alley on swim and a lefty laser to the top right corner. He finished with a hat trick against Cold Spring Harbor and wrapped up the season with 49 goals and 38 assists. After scoring two goals as a freshman on varsity, Brown went on to produce 42 points as a sophomore, then 93 as a junior - giving him 180 in his final two seasons and 224 for his career.
Cole Willard, Attack/Midfield, Cazenovia, Jr. - Penn State Willard has an uncanny ability to get himself to the cage, even starting his approach from way outside of the box. Slippery and able to persevere through checks, Willard can get even the best defenders hung up, keep his stick in tight and then work his way inside. He did it time and time again on the way to the state finals, and he did it in the championship game for one of his two goals. Willard, whose dad played at Maryland back in the day, just has a natural gift for scoring and his unpredictable dodging style makes him a tricky cover for defenders. He finished a great year with a two-goal performance in the championship to total 53 goals on the season, along with 18 assists.
Ian Laviano, Attack, Cold Spring Harbor, Soph. - Virginia Laviano shined this past weekend for the Seahawks as he closed out a terrific sophomore campaign that saw him post 28 goals and 22 assists. His quickness and ability to play both attack and offensive midfield made him a dynamic threat this year. Against Cazenovia, Laviano was a few times run through the box and produced matchup problems. He's quick, has good vision and carries the ball with confidence. He scored twice against the Lakers, including an unassisted dodge to the cage and then with a big windup and sidearm shot after he cut to open space inside. He made a splash on the recruiting trail before he was even in high school. As sophomore, he's already made his mark on varsity and has two more years to keep the Seahawks in the hunt for Class C titles.
Nick Testa, Goalie, Niskayuna, Sr. - Villanova In a game that saw the Silver Warriors' midfield teeing off, Testa's incredible performance might have been overlooked in ways, when it might have been the difference as Niskayuna took the 13-10 win for its first state title. Quick to the ball and explosive out of the cage, Testa made a ridiculous 17 stops against West Genesee, denying the Wildcats what would have been their 16th state title and giving Section II (the Capital Region) its first ever New York State championship. His 13 saves in the second half were particularly clutch as West Genesee outshot Niskayuna 28-11 in the final two quarters.
David Procopio, FO/Midfield, West Genesee, Sr. - Providence Procopio quietly put together an impressive senior season that not only included leading West Genesee to its 23rd state finals appearance, but also 43 goals and five assists worth of offensive production. Procopio has been a workhorse throughout his career and this season was no different. He's a hard-nosed, north-south player who was instrumental in the Wildcats' run to yet another Section III title. His stat line against Niskayuna read as such: two goals, 7-of-15 on face-offs, eight groundballs and three caused turnovers. In the upset over Pittsford in the semifinals, Procopio won 70 percent of the draws and scored twice, including a crucial tying goal in the third quarter. John Galloway spotted this fellow West Genny product long ago and Procopio should be an excellent addition to Providence's roster.
Taylor Strough, Midfield, Cold Spring Harbor, Soph. - Fairfield Strough played the role of zone-buster for the Seahawks in the championship win over the Cazenovia Lakers. The stocky Strough unloaded for four big shots from the outside in the win, including three in the first half. His back-to-back goals in the second began Cold Spring Harbor's five-goal run to go up 6-3 on the Lakers. His goal in the fourth quarter proved to ultimately be the game winner as Cazenovia continued to battle until the end in the 9-8 final. Strough's big righty heat on the overhand shot proved to be huge for the Seahawks last weekend. He finished 2015 with 29 goals and 25 assists this season - excellent production for a sophomore middie on any team, let along a state title winner.
Dan Barrow, Midfield, Victor, Jr. - Mercyhurst Barrow showed how deadly he can be as off-ball shooter and finisher on championship Saturday. He camped out on the high crease against Manhasset and ate up passes all day, scoring six times in the dominating win. The righty is quick to catch, turn and deposit, showing some really soft hands you don't always see in midfielders. He's tough and didn't hesitate to go after feeds with checks coming at him from all angles. He and his brother, defenseman Patrick Barrow (Army), are blue-collar players and tough on the field. Barrow finished 2015 with 53 goals (on 124 shots) and 12 assists.
TD Ierlan, FO/Midfield, Victor, Jr. - Albany When the dust settled after the wild New York State tournament, Ierlan was arguably the most important of New York State's many talented and Division I-bound face-off specialists. He was 19 of 22 against Jamesville-DeWitt, and then followed that up with a 20-of-28 performance against Manhasset, with 13 of those wins coming against Tyler Dunn, who was himself dominant at times against Long Island and Downstate competition on the way to the title game. Ierlan added a goal in the win over the Indians. He finished the season with a face-off percentage of 80.6 percent, according to SportsFive.net, winning 312 draws and losing only 76. He collected 212 groundballs along the way. If Victor has a chance to repeat next season, Ierlan will be instrumental in that success.
Riley Cox, Midfield, Cold Spring Harbor, Jr. - Loyola This big midfielder presents challenges for opposing defense with his size and ability to string them out. Cox has a big shot and is able to keep the stick high up and release it with a full extension, making it a little tough to track for goalies. That also allows him to see the field and look for cutters. He had a great showing in the championship against Cazenovia, scoring two goals and an assisting on another. Down the stretch, Cox scored at least two goals in the last four games of the season - spanning the Nassau County championship to the state championship. The right-handed middie returns next season and will be one of the leaders on offense after putting up 27 goals and nine assists this year.