PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Vital stats: An All-American headed to Division I Towson, Sunday was simply superb. A dual-threat attack, Sunday scored 48 goals and dished 38 assists to lead Arlington and earn the Journal’s Player of the Year honors for the second straight season. At 6-foot-4, Sunday used his size to gain leverage, his athleticism and dodge moves to create separation, and great game savvy to score or feed teammates. Despite being the clear focal point of defenses, he shined in big games, produced consistently and was equally capable of dominating as a playmaker or finisher.
Quotable: “Brendan is the type of player who only comes around once or twice in a coach’s career,” Arlington coach Don Connolly said. “Every season he got better and better. He showed some signs of what was to come as a freshman … It’s going to be awkward not having him because he’s been such a go-to guy. He’s been a pleasure to have. A selfish part of me wishes I had him for another year.”
Vital stats: Quick and instinctive in the cage, Bellacicco made 220 stops with .670 save percentage, and received All-Division III honors in Section 9. A three-year starter, Bellacicco was a part of 34 wins and was instrumental in the Huskies’ progress.
Quotable: “He was a calming factor for our defense and it was fantastic to know he was there,” Highland coach Tom Schlappich said. “We were in a spot where we had to insert some less experienced players and it was reassuring to have Domenic back there. Not only is he excellent between the pipes, but he was a great leader.”
Vital stats: A physically dominant midfielder who excels at both ends of the field, he had 34 goals and nine assists. Decker also showed his hustle and tenacity in scooping 52 ground balls. He earned all-section honors.
Quotable: “He’s one of the rare people I’ve met with a work ethic to that level,” Wappingers coach Brian Kuczma said. “He’s excellent on both ends. Offensively, he can score inside or from outside and he’s also a great short-stick defensive middie. Jack is leader by example. He’s not a rah-rah guy, but teammates see all the work he puts in and it’s contagious.”
Vital stats: A lethal scorer who is skilled and relentless on attack, Hine posted eye-popping offensive numbers. He scored 82 goals and dished 28 assists, earning an all-league selection and All-Section 1 Honorable Mention. A four-year starter for the Blue Devils, he finished with 270 career points.
Quotable: “He was a go-to guy this year; when we needed him he came through for us in the clutch,” Haldane coach Ed Crowe said. “He was also a captain for three years. He is an exceptional player that will be missed very much.”
Vital stats: A two-time Poughkeepsie Journal All-Star, Hollway is a prolific scorer. An excellent inside finisher, he scored 57 goals, added 20 assists and scooped 53 ground balls. Hollway, a two-time all-division selection, is headed to Division II St. Thomas Aquinas.
Quotable: “He’s a great finisher, very elusive and always was able to find the open spot in the defense,” Schlappich said. “He has such a quick catch and release that it made him hard to stop. He and Chris (Schlappich) fed off each other quite well. A lot of Chris’ assists came off goals from Thomas.”
School: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Vital stats: A strong and imposing defender, Lesoine combined size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) with great speed and never shied away from delivering the big hit. He forced several turnovers each game and recovered 163 groundballs this season, and his versatility made him effective at almost any position. Lesoine added 10 goals and eight assists.
Quotable: “He only started playing lacrosse as a sophomore, but he’s a great athlete and had an impact right away and was a captain the last two years,” Roosevelt coach Dan Hushion said. “He goes 100 miles a minute and was one of our smartest players.”
Vital stats: A two-way midfielder who contributes at both ends, Litchauer excelled as a finisher with 57 points (48 goals). His array of dodge moves and the ability to shoot with either hand and from all angles made him nearly unstoppable at times.
Quotable: “Kevin is very good between the lines and can play on the defensive side of the ball as well,” Connolly said. “He has a very good righty and lefty shot, especially on the run, and gave our opponents fits at times this year.”
School: Red Hook
Vital stats: He is a constant threat on attack and excellent shooter and feeder, Michitsch had 48 goals and 31 assists. He also scooped up 118 ground balls, a remarkable total. He was an All-Division IV selection.
Quotable: “Nick continues to grow as a lacrosse player,” Red Hook coach Rich Saulino said. “His vision of the field on offense has increased greatly, making his teammates better. He’s a tenacious rider, which created turnovers and more offense for us this year.”
Vital stats: Olson’s speed, agility and athleticism made him a constant threat and the focus of opposing defenses. Still, he managed 53 goals and 15 assists in leading Millbrook to a Section 9 Class C final. He also got to more than his share of 50-50 balls, recovering 52 ground balls.
Quotable: “Ian provided great leadership for the entire team this season,” Millbrook coach Rob Gehlhoff said. “From day one, he took charge and directed drills in practice and also directed play while on the field. He has a lot of intensity and knows how to compete.”
Vital stats: Schlappich was named an All-American this season after leading the Huskies to the Section 9 Class B title. He racked up 112 points, including 64 assists, and created extra possessions with 43 groundballs. The Marist College commit is a two-time Poughkeepsie Journal All-Star.
Quotable: “He’s arguably the best player in the area and is the best, most intelligent player I have ever coached and makes his teammates better,” said Tom Schlappich, Chris’ father and coach. “Many opponents have a hard time determining if he’s lefty or right-handed. Since he’s been playing, he’s worked with both sides, so it’s become natural. His knowledge of the game is incredible for a junior.”
Coach of the Year
Vital stats: Schlappich led the Huskies to the program’s first Section 9 Class B title in its eighth season, usurping two-time defending champion Cornwall in the final. During Schlappich’s five-year tenure, Highland has steadily improved, making a complete turnaround from his win-less first season.
Quotable: “It’s quite humbling because there are quite a few coaches in our area who are worthy,” Schlappich said. “The championship was amazing and it’s fulfilling to see it all come full circle. The kids got better each year and we’ve built the program up from the youth level. We graduate three seniors, but I still have high expectations for next year.”
Arlington: Jacob Azukas, Shane Carroll, Corey Coster, Jon Hutcher, Justin Kullers, Rob Tannenbaum
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Aidan Burkhard, Tyler Leclerc, Trevor Souza, Kevin Wise
Haldane: Nick Allen, Peter Hoffmann
Highland: Kyle Merget, Paul Rhodes
Millbrook: Conor O’Donnell
Our Lady of Lourdes: Ty Arnone, Corey Mullaly, Dillon Rispoli, Billy Wagner
Red Hook: David Akst, Nolan Dalton, Mikey Gildersleeve, Joe Lewis, Hudson Miller, Liam Quinlan, Max Spagnoli, Henry Tynes, Brandon Voll, Drew Zarrella
Wappingers: Dan Diedrich, Kienen Garrett, Harrison Kaplan, James Pratt, Travis Ventura