Jack Uvena and Zachary Zboray where both dazzling as the eighth grade duo paced the J. Taylor Finley Middle School boys’ lacrosse team this past spring.
Coached by Travis Smith, Matt Bilello, Anthony Annuniziata and Jonathan Kowalchuck, the Blue Devils’ 34 player squad was captained by Uvena, Conor Boyle and Brett Bender.
Finley’s wins came over West Hollow (9-5), Stimson (7-5 and 9-5) and Candlewood (13-3). The team dropped games to East Northport (9-4), Oldfield (13-3), Commack (11-5), Shoreham-Wading River (16-9), Northport (10-7) and Bay Shore (13-3).
The roster consisted of seventh graders Jake Avarello, Thomas Breingan, Luke Calabria, Cain Carney, Sam Cirlincione, Ryan Colapinto, Theodore Dannhauser, Jasper Elgart, Thomas Girimonti, Jonathan Granito, Christopher Grover, Dylan Hayden, Brian Hrybenko, Patrick Knieriem, Justin Lardizzone, Brandon Malone, Daniel McNulty, Nicholas Sclafani, Gradon Sosnowski, Christian St. John, Devin Ward and Joseph Zink; and eighth graders Riley Ackerman Brett Bender, Conor Boyle, Peter Breingan, Ahmari Gordon, Daniel Iglesias-Soriano, Tyler Johnson, Shane Luckow, Michael Queen, Jack Uvena, Tyler Walters and Zachary Zboray.
Uvena tallied 15 goals and one assist from his midfield position. “He was our best all-around player,” Smith said. “He’s a great teammate and ran our offense and clears. He never stopped playing.”
Zboray had three goals and a team-high 12 assists from his attack position. “Zachary is a reliable offensive player who unselfishly would pass the ball and assist on a goal for his teammates,” Bilello said.
Boyle scooped up a team best 42 ground balls at long-stick midfield. “He is a very tough player and our most dependable defensemen, who did anything for the team,” Annunziata said.
Bender was splendid in goal, stopping 78 of 135 shots. “Brett was a team leader who grew the most as a player this season,” Kowalchuck said. “His best two games were the last two.”
Calabria and Peter Breingan were also exceptional at midfield, tying for the team high in face-offs with 25 each. Gordon recorded 48 saves on 100 shots as the No. 2 goalie.
“The team had 17 different goal scorers out of 23 offensive players,” Bilello said. “Out of 34 players, 20 had a point. We only had 12 blown clears all year long and the defense helped set-up many fast breaks and goals.”
Finely’s game against Northport was the highlight of the season. “They had one of the best individual players that we saw all year,” Bilello said. “We fell behind 8-2 in the first quarter, but the team settled down and started to play our game and not worry about the other team. Our comeback fell just short as we outscored them 5-2 over the final three quarters, but ran out of time.”
Finley appears capable of fielding a very strong team next spring. Calabria (nine goals, 25 face-off wins) will be returning along with midfield/attack Sam Cirlincione (three goals, four assists, 30 ground balls). Danny McNulty (nine goals, nine assists, 18 face-off wins, 30 clears) will be back as will starting defensive players Jasper Elgart, Thomas Breingan, Cain Carney and Pat Knieriem. St. John (three goals, three assists, 28 ground balls) is also slated to return.