PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Vital stats: Schlappich, a two-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American, capped a stellar career by leading the Huskies to a second straight Section 9 Class B title. A do-it-all midfielder, he dominated as a scorer, was his team’s primary facilitator and was a playmaker defensively. With his speed, refined skills, exceptional game savvy and a tenacious style, he scored 42 goals, dished 76 assists and scooped 53 ground balls. Schlappich is the program’s all-time leader with 382 points and ranks 17th in state history with 220 career assists. He is headed to Marist College.
Quotable: “He is an explosive player with great field vision,” said Huskies coach Tom Schlappich, who is also Chris’ father. “He possesses superior skills, both offensive and defensive, and has an exceptional understanding of the game. He can generate his own shot or create numerous scoring opportunities for his teammates. Most opposing teams implemented special defensive game plans in an attempt to slow him down, employing shutoffs, special zones when he touches the ball, or extremely quick slide packages, even sliding two players to help the on-ball defender. Defensively, he is able to shut down even the best offensive player from other teams.”
Vital stats: With quickness, good instincts and aggressiveness in the cage, D’Angelo made 197 saves, stopping 63 percent of the shots on goal. Despite being a first-year starter, he earned team Defensive Most Valuable Player honors and helped lead Highland to a 16-3 record. He is committed to Post University.
Quotable: “He has fast hands, is a good communicator and he’s able to push the ball up field quickly after a save,” Highland coach Tom Schlappich said. “Giorgio emerged as a leader on the defensive end of the field and he has the ability to keep you in a game until the offense can take over.”
Vital stats: At 6-feet, 190 pounds, Decker combines size with athleticism, game sense and ambidextrous skills. The John Jay student contributed 44 goals, seven assists and 46 ground balls and forced six turnovers. His all-around play led the Warriors to the Section 1 Class A quarterfinals. Decker is headed to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Quotable: “He’s one of the main cogs and was huge for us,” Wappingers coach Brian Kuczma said. “He’s big and athletic and can go left or right. He can shoot and run plays equally well from either side. Perfecting that takes a lot of time and effort. When you have a player who can do that, it allows you to run the offense to either side and makes it difficult for defenses to contain.”
Vital stats: Litchauer had 47 goals, eight assists and 23 ground balls in helping Arlington reach the Section 1 Class A playoffs. The two-time all-section honoree was dominant defensively and was a leader and the kind of player teammates aspired to be like, Arlington coach Don Connolly said. Litchauer, who is headed to SUNY Plattsburgh, scored 109 goals in three varsity seasons.
Quotable: “Kevin was one of the most committed and hard-working kids I’ve ever seen in 15 years of coaching,” Connolly said. “It sounds cliche, but he was the first one to practice and the last to leave. He wasn’t the most vocal guy, but he did everything the right way and set an example. The other players looked up to him and the younger ones wanted to copy what he did.”
Vital stats: The dynamic midfielder, with his quick moves and even quicker shot, racked up 62 goals — a single-season team record — 19 assists and 35 ground balls, helping the Huskies reach the Section 9 Class B state playoffs. Merget plans to join the Marines.
Quotable: “He’s an excellent shooter with a gunslinger mentality,” Chris Schlappich said. “Kyle emerged last season as an incredibly accurate shooter with a quick release. He’s able to finish on the crease, as well as create his own shots on the perimeter.”
School: Red Hook
Vital stats: A spate of injuries changed his role and the sophomore soon was looked to as an anchor for the Raiders. Miller exceeded expectations in leading Red Hook to the Section 9 Class C final. He scored 52 goals, dished 14 assists, won 61 percent of his faceoffs and did yeoman work in pursuing all 50-50 balls.
Quotable: “Hudson really came into his own this season,” Raiders coach Rich Saulino said. “He rose to the occasion as our go-to guy when we were hit by offensive injuries. We’re looking forward to his development as a team leader next season.”
School: Our Lady of Lourdes
Vital stats: Mullaly’s emergence and steady play, anchoring the defense, was one of the key reasons of Lourdes’ run to the Section 1 Class C playoffs. Mulally, who starred as a defensive back for the Lourdes football team, recovered 86 ground balls and caused 22 turnovers.
Quotable: “He’s the linchpin to our defense,” Warriors coach Chris Malet said. “He’s got a great mind for the game and his athleticism allows him to cover a wide range and different kinds of attackers. Corey covered the best offensive player every game.”
Vital stats: A natural midfielder, an early-season injury shifted him to attack and Pratt flourished in his new role, racking up 44 goals, 26 assists, 53 ground balls and six caused turnovers.
Quotable: “He started as a faceoff guy and midfielder, but he had a thigh injury and couldn’t run as well,” Kuczma said of the John Jay student. “We moved him to attack and he took off. He started putting up a lot of points. He has a knack for getting to the front of the goal and getting off his shot, even with a defender on him. That can’t be taught. He is a dangerous dodger, but now he dodges with his head up and has become a good feeder.”
School: Our Lady of Lourdes
Vital stats: Rispoli operated with machine-like consistency, and game after game he proved defenses had few answers for him. Rispoli was a dominant scorer, with 62 goals, and a good facilitator up front with 22 assists.
Quotable: “He’s an excellent all-around player,” Malet said. “He’s a great finisher and a feeder, a complete attack. Every year, he drew our opponents’ best defenders and still averaged five points per game.”
Vital stats: Tannenbaum, for the last three seasons, was tasked with guarding the opposition’s best offensive weapon, and more often than not, he held his own. He throws hard checks, can go step-for-step with almost any opponent in transition, and can play several defensive positions. The SUNY Cortland-bound Tannenbaum had 19 ground balls and forced 16 turnovers this season.
Quotable: “He’s an old-school, hard-nosed defender,” Connolly said. “He’s also versatile. Over the course of his career, we had him at faceoff, on the wing. He can even score goals. We would stick him on the opposing team’s biggest and most physical player and he’d come out on top.”
Vital stats: Ventura moved from attack to midfield this season and, though his offensive numbers dipped, he made his impact on defense, in transition and in initiating the offense. The LIU-Post commit and John Jay student had 22 goals, 13 assists, 33 ground balls and five caused turnovers.
Quotable: “His versatility is great,” Kuczma said. “He’s one of those players whose points don’t reflect the kind of player he is. He got our defense moving and started the offense, which created opportunities for other players. He can do anything anywhere on the field.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Vital stats: In two years coaching the Wappingers Central School District team, Kuczma has turned heads and earned the respect of area coaches. With a free-flowing, multi-faceted offense, Wappingers went 13-5 and reached the Section 1 Class A quarterfinals. The Warriors, 24-11 in two seasons under the longtime Putnam Valley coach, also beat rival Arlington for the first time since 2009.
Quotable: “Any time your colleagues speak highly of you, it’s an honor and it feels like you’re doing something right and making improvements,” Kuczma said. “It’s not only what I’m doing, but our progress is a tribute to my staff, very supportive parents and kids who work hard. Those things are a recipe for success for any coach. The sport continues to grow in this area. I think Dutchess County, in the next five or so years, could change the landscape of Section 1 lacrosse.”
Arlington: Jacob Azukas, Riley Carroll, Javon Jackson, Matt Lopez, Jack Schenker
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Zach Algozzine, Matt Bertsche, Jack Hamel, Christian Medina, Kevin Wise
Haldane: Will Heintzman, Sam Giachinta, Brandon Twoguns
Highland: Jason Chlus, Dylan Cuvelier, Matthew Valentino, Jack Young
Millbrook: Marcus Garnot, Zeke Kopliak, Tim Outwater, Christian Williams
New Paltz: Devin Brand, Ben Cuppett, Will Kay, Noam Schwartz
Our Lady of Lourdes: Ty Arnone, Matt Sayegh, Joe Scaglione, Billy Wagner
Pawling: Steve Caione, James Comerford, Sean Dazi
Red Hook: Mike Gildersleeve, Liam Quinlan, Henry Tynes
Rhinebeck: Jake Bennett, Alex Entner, Diego Marotta
Wappingers: Billy Biegun, Dan Diedrich, Harrison Kaplan, Jake Shaw