Preseason ranked number 4, The Thunderbirds of Half Hollow Hills East will take on number 2, Smithtown West Bulls on Thursday, April 12th at Smithtown West High School. Struck by lighting, Hills East is electric when they take the field. Under new management, Coach Paul Benway and Justin O’Connell, have managed to get these boys flying higher than ever as they are off to a 4-0 start in the 2018 campaign. Hills East returns talent all over the field on both ends including midfielders Drew Martin (Air Force), Brett Martin (Hopkins), Mike Monitto (Lehigh), attackmen Ryan Doran (St. Joseph’s PA), Zach Cosentino (Catholic), LSM Sal Pascarella (St. Joseph’s PA), and defenseman Mike Gomez (Hopkins) and Conor Caiazza (Ithaca). Equally combatting Hills East’s strengths, Smithtown West is shaking up the competition all over the Island as the Bulls are 5-0 on the season. A philosophy built on focusing “One at a time,” Smithtown West is dialed in, ready for any challenge 2018 brings. Senior leadership is a huge aspect working in West’s favor. Talent in all positions, Smithtown West returns midfielders Matt Cattigan, Conor Calderone (FOGO- Maryland), Brandon Meir (Siena), Andrew Arce (Binghamton), attackmen Kyle Zawadzki (Yale), John Hoffman, Matt Miller (Quinnipiac), defenseman David Gonzalez (Christopher Newport) and goaltender Kyle Walker (Army). What is sharper, the horns of a Bull? Or the beak of a Bird? It all goes down today, Smithtown West vs. Half Hollow Hills East.
Check out the interview we did with senior midfielder Drew Martin (Air Force) of Half Hollow Hills East:
1) New year, new management, discuss what’s it like so far to play for Coach Benway and Coach OC?
Fun! I really like the enthusiasm and commitment they are bringing to the table. They are letting us play with our individual skills within their coaching scheme.
2) Please discuss team dynamic, it seems like you guys are a more offensive oriented team, what are some things you guys have been doing to be successful on the field?
Playing fast, pushing the tempo from the defensive end to the offensive side. One of the keys to our success so far is the majority of us have been playing together since 1st grade. Because of our strong lockdown defense we are able to play fast and more aggressive on the offensive side of the field. Another key factor of our successful offense is not only do we get along on the field, but we are very close off the field as well.
3) Congrats on the commitment to Air Force! What are some things that influenced you making the decision to attend US Air Force?
Thank you. I’ve always really wanted to fly. I feel very influenced from my grandfather who served in the US Army. I felt a strong connection when I went on my visit. I really liked the coaching staff and the players on the team. The campus is very beautiful and knew right away this is where I would be going.
4) Big game coming up against Smithtown West, what will it take to win?
A total team effort. We have to play solid defense, fast on offense and try to create 50/50 ground balls off the face off. Energy effort and attitude will be our motto for the season