After an injury-riddled and winless season, Seaford boys’ lacrosse is poised for a playoff run this spring.
The Vikings are riding a five-game winning streak, a stark contrast to their 0-16 campaign in 2017 when everything from torn knees to concussions to a strain of mono severely hampered a squad that otherwise had high expectations. Seaford enters its final two regular-season games this week at 10-2 overall and tied with defending state champion Cold Spring at 6-0 in Conference C.
Returning from ACL surgery, junior midfielder Ryan Butler leads the team with 22 goals and 15 assists as the Vikings have stockpiled 70 goals during their five-game streak.
“When the ball settles on offense and Ryan has it, you can see that the other guys on the field look more comfortable and ready to go to work,” third-year coach Brian Horner said.
Speedy midfielder Garrett Mancuso has developed an ability to throw fakes that have created shot opportunities and contributed to his 34 points. “Garrett has improved tremendously in his shooting from last year,” Horner said.
After opening the season with a non-league loss at West Babylon, Seaford earned four consecutive wins that include a come-from-behind 7-6 victory at Mepham on April 3. The Vikings trailed 3-1 in the second period and 5-4 at halftime but managed to edge the Pirates thanks largely to four goals by sophomore attackman Jason Rebaudo.
“I think that game was the point in the season where we knew we didn’t just have a good-skilled team, but a pretty amazing group of guys who were maybe a little upset with how things went last year,” Horner said.
Horner gives Mike Anderson big props for helping to transform the team back to a playoff contender. While he said the senior attackman has improved his game, more importantly, he has become an impactful leader who works relentlessly each practice and game, setting an infectious example for his teammates.
“If you watch Mike on every play and after every score, he shows an enthusiasm that all of our guys have,” he said.
In addition to his offensive game, Anderson displays aggressive defensive skills, sending a message to opponents that if he comes their way they’ll get hit and possibly lose the ball.
Horner fields a trio of defensemen in junior Sean Derby, senior Rob Boulukos and sophomore Al Munro that he calls fast, physical and smart. As a unit, they have a knack for generating turnovers and creating more opportunities for the offense, and have helped keep all opponents from scoring in double digits. The Vikings also have senior starting goalkeeper Tommy Umano, an All-County selection last year.
This season, Horner has been more cautious about injuries, resting players more and taking it easier in practice. Another ingredient of the team’s turnaround is a shift in focus, he said.
“Our focus hasn’t been so much on other teams but ourselves,” he added. “Let’s focus on our game plan and what we do. I just know whoever we play, these guys are going to come out energetic, excited and wanting to win.”