After a 0-14 finish in 2017, Wallkill’s boys’ lacrosse team finished 9-8 in 2018 with a loss to Red Hook in the playoffs.
“We graduated a strong class, mainly guys who anchored our defense,” said Alex Danon, Wallkill’s coach.
Filling in the defense this season will be Kyle Cusack and Ryan Lavella, seniors, and Tyler Jaffee, a sophomore. And Danon is optimistic about their success this year helping the goalie, Dylan Jowell, a sophomore.
“Our athleticism is awesome on defense,” said Danon. “It gives us the flexibility to move guys around depending on the matchups we want.”
Chad Castle, a sophomore, Trent Hillman, a junior, and Alec MacDonald, a senior, will play attack. Alex Lewis, the face-off guy, Evan Hathaway and Marc Gagliardi, seniors, will be the midfielders. RJ DeSantis, a sophomore, will be the long-stick midfielder.
Wallkill lost to Red Hook in the quarterfinals last season and will deal with the Raiders again this season in Class C. Highland, the 2018 Section 9, Class C champion, moved up to Class B this season and poses no threat to Wallkill this season.
But other strong programs in the past, such as Goshen, Saugerties and Rondout, along with New Paltz, could challenge the Panthers this season.
“I think last year we had a good year. I think we surprised a bunch of teams last year that saw the results from 2017 and maybe overlooked us,” said Danon. “That won’t be the case this year. We won’t be sneaking up on anyone. We expect to get everyone’s best shot this year, which makes things tougher, but that’s what we want and need. Our class is one of the toughest in the section. Every team is good.”