NY Metro Team Previews
By:  Staff
Updated:  04/10/2012 at 4:06 PM

Annapolis, MD - 



COLUMBIA – The Lions have been one of the most consistent club programs in the country, having captured the NCLL national championship in 2007 and reaching the Final Four in 2009. Senior midfielder Kareem Elsirafy, a native of Egypt, is a force between the lines and has an uncanny ability to dodge away from traffic. He’ll be joined in the midfield by returning veterans such as Byron Cary (Darien, CT) and Mark Muston (Eden Prairie, MN). Sophomore attackman Nathan Bram (Bronx, NY) is another playmaker who can finish or feed. Other returning players on attack include senior Nate Levick (Allentown, PA) and sophomore Justin Feit (Syosset, NY). Columbia has a stalwart anchor on the defensive end in sophomore goalie Mike Escobar (Mineola, NY), a two-year starter. He will be fronted by an experienced defense that includes seniors Phillipp Salletmayr (Austria) and Nico Pappas (East Watertown, MA) along with sophomore Cameron Schulze (Orchard Lake, MI). Team leaders are expecting big contributions from three talented freshmen midfielders in Alejandro Cazzulino (New York), Eli Levin (St. Louis, MO) and Julian NoiseCat (Oakland, CA).

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY – The Violets compiled an 8-7 record last season with four of the losses coming by just one goal. Most difficult was a 9-8 defeat at the hands of Columbia in the first round of the NCLL playoffs. Team president Brian Daniels believes there is enough talent on hand for NYU to post a third straight winning season. It all starts on the defensive end with goalie Josh Montazeri (Jericho High, NY) who will step in as the full-time starter after splitting time in 2011. Daniels describes the sophomore as a "pure stopper.” Montazeri will be fronted by a big, strong defense anchored by graduate student Matt Conway (Bethlehem Central, NY), a 6-foot-5, 220-pound banger who provides a big physical presence. Sophomore Noah Hammer (Fox Lane, NY) is another strong, powerful close defender with takeaway ability. Steve Oliwa (Don Bosco Prep, NJ) is a scrappy, intense athlete while Chris Shore (Toms River East, NJ) provides a steadying influence. Junior AJ Smith (Thomas Jefferson, VA), a two-year captain, is the leader in the midfield – a true hustler who is an effective faceoff specialist. Junior Mike Esposito (Bellport, NY), who missed most of last season with an injury, possesses blazing speed and is an accurate shooter with either hand. Sam Rounds (Brookline, MA) is a smart on-field leader while Malcolm Wallace (Loyola, CA) is an athletic short stick d-middie. The attack features two dangerous dodgers and finishers in junior Ryan Olson (McGann-Mercy, NY) and sophomore Riley O’Neill (Malibu, CA), both of whom boast a high lacrosse IQ. Tim Craven (Randolph, NJ) is a beast inside and difficult to handle at 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds while freshman Bassel Hashem (Princeton, NJ) is a smart player who adds depth to the attack.


SETON HALL – The Pirates, under the direction of head coach Jim Semerad, are beginning their inaugural season in the NCLL. While the roster is filled with youth and inexperience, the Pirates expect to be immediately competitive within the NY Metro Conference. Semerad feels the team’s strength is on the defensive side of the field with sophomore goalie Kevin Rand anchoring a talented unit. Rand, an experienced keeper, will be fronted by a close defense featuring sophomores Ryan Maddox, Jeff Mastrianna and Chris Kosmyna along with senior Peter Koc. Junior Ian Baker and freshman Henri Estanbouli are a pair of speedy, two-way players who will spearhead the midfield group. Seniors Drew Spera and Matt Chapman provide scoring sparks and veteran leadership on attack.


STEVENS TECH – The Ducks compiled a 3-3 record in their first season of competition in the NCLL. They finished fourth in Division II of the NY Metro, but narrowly missed the postseason. There are two experienced goalies with returnees Roy Byrd (Medford, NJ) and Joe Gombar once again sharing time. Mike Vanezis is a top returning defender and will look for help from freshmen Rick Serra (Newark, DE) and Sam Smyth (Shrewsbury, NJ). Jack VanRoden (Fallston, MD) returns at the midfield, and is joined by several freshmen including Ricky Simon (Short Hills, NJ). The attack returns Andy Continisio (Marmora, NJ) and features freshmen Jon Yip (Wayne, NJ). The Ducks have started the season 2-0 with a season opening overtime win against powerhouse New Paltz and an impressive offensive performance against CCNY.  If the March is any indication, Stevens Tech will look to advance to the post season for the first time in program history.


SUNY-NEW PALTZ – In its first year of competition, New Paltz compiled a 3-5 record that was deceiving as the majority of losses were by three goals or less. A gutsy 8-7 victory over New York Metro League rival Fordham showed the team’s capability. The Hawks graduated four seniors, but add an equal number of transfers and freshmen. The strength and heart of the team is a defense led by senior Jon Lilburne and junior transfer Jake Pinto. Junior LSM T.C. Cassa is a terror in between the restraining lines, having compiled not only 23 ground balls but also 15 forced turnovers in 2011. Sophomore Eric Meah returns in the goal after stopping 66 percent of shots last season. Senior Phil Diekroger compiled a phenomenal 62 percent faceoff percentage and is also a strong SSDM. The Hawks have a dynamic duo of offensive midfielders in senior Anthony Chin (13 goals in 2011) and Jaydon Kiernan (7 goals), both of whom are adept at creating space and opportunities for others by dodging from the top of the box. Sophomore attackman Kevin Carlin (11 goals) primarily plays behind the cage and is a dangerous dodger and playmaker. Attackmen Dino Davaros and Sean Gannon (both products of St. Francis Prep) join fellow freshman John Weber (Kingston High) to bolster the offense.





FORDHAM – The Rams are hoping to rebound from a 1-7 campaign team and President Scott Nelson is confident a strong crop of newcomers will spearhead improvement. Nelson was pleased with the team’s performance during a fall tournament with several other NY Metro Conference rivals. Fordham has a strong anchor on the defensive end in Paul Anderson (Iona Prep), a senior and returning starter in the goal. George Keunen (Trinity School) is the leader on close defense and will get plenty of support from Andrew O’Connell (Holy Trinity), Gramps McDonough (South Hadley) and talented freshman Jeff Bolte (Garden City). Nelson, the team president out of Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey, is the veteran of a deep midfield that also features returning players Nick Woodgate (Duxbury), Dan Madden (Boston College High), Mark Ward (Bergen Catholic), Rory Kerley (Wantagh High) and John Catapano (Ridge High School). Matt Wynne (Salisbury School) is the go-to guy on attack with freshmen Sam Lessard (Phillips Academy) and Oliver Barnett (Canisius High School) showing promise.


HOFSTRA-Reaching double digit wins last season, Hofstra’s 10-4 season came to an unexpected conclusion with a loss to Division I Finalist Rutgers University. Seeking to extend their playoff run, the Pride has added a slew of offensively minded studs behind a returning defensive unit of Scott Burgess, Mario Posillico, and Matt Werner. In goal, expect transfer Andrew Feinberg to compete with junior Jon Mini, who had a stellar 6 GAA in 2011. The Blue and Yellow have completely retooled their offensive strategy by bringing in nine players who will add quality game experience and are talented enough to step in to contribute immediately. Coach Wicker will count on three returners in sophomores Ed Hagenmiller (19g, 3a), Justin  Ederheimer and senior Ben Bucci (19g, 11a). The attack will be anchored by Sr. Adam Iacovelli (8g, 6a) (Franklin, MA) along with freshmen Dylan Wills (New Egypt, NJ) and Zach Klinker (Blairstown, NY).  Hofstra will face a tough out of conference schedule featuring #5 Rutgers, #11 Fairfield, #14 Penn and #15 Princeton during the month of March alone.


STONY BROOK – The Sea Wolves started this season with an impressive victory over DII power NYU after a 1-5 record from a year ago. "We did a really good job recruiting this year and have a good crop of young players,” said Pesin, noting that most of Stony Brook’s top players are freshmen or sophomores. Leading the way on attack will be Joe Chayka (North Warren Regional, Blairstown, NJ) while the midfield will be anchored by Tim Colabrese (South Windsor High, Windsor, CT) and Ryan Dunne (Miller High, Miller Place, NY). Solid in between the pipes has been Aram Movaseghi (St. Dominic High, Glen Cove, NY) and defenseman Michael Shea (Groton Dunstable Regional, Groton, MA). All of the aforementioned players are freshmen.