The stage is set.
Now, the Southern Regional Regional High School boys lacrosse team needs to capitalize.
And with its history of success and a solid returning roster, winning should not be an issue. Southern will open its long-awaited season at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday at Wall Township.
“We are really looking forward to this year,” said Rams coach John Pampalone, noting many players on the team compete year-round with clubs. “We are really excited for the opportunity to get back in play. We feel we have a lot of pieces that can lead us to have a really good season.”
Returning are three juniors committed to NCAA Division I programs: Nate Committee and twins Ryan and Tyler Sininsky. Tyler is the starting goaltender, Ryan is a midfielder and Committee is a defender.
The Sininsky brothers have committed to New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. Committee plans to compete at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
Also expected to make impacts this spring are senior defenders JT Hille and Brock Lefkus and sophomore attacker Joey DeYoung. Hille is committed to Division III Hood College.
Southern features about 21 juniors on its roster.
“We definitely have a lot of talent,” said Committee, 17, of the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township. “The atmosphere at practice, everyone is excited to be there every day. Everyone is counting down to (Tuesday) for opening day at Wall. It’s great.”
Southern features one of the best defenses it’s ever had, Pampalone said. The 16th-year coach said other strengths are a top-tier goaltender in Tyler Sininsky, team chemistry, athleticism and the ability to push transition.
Committee echoed that.
“Everyone up and down the board can run up and down the field, and you can count on everyone on the roster to do their job,” Committee said.
Southern advanced to at least the South Jersey Group IV quarterfinals in each season since 2012, including the semifinals in 2017 and 2019. Southern won the sectional title in 2013 and 2014.
The Rams were a very young team in 2019 and, missing the chance to repeat that success in 2020 was difficult, especially as it forced the Rams to sit on a tough loss in the semifinals for almost two years.
“It has been tremendously hard. A lot of these guys played in that game,” said Pampalone, noting that the 2019 team consisted mostly of freshmen and sophomores. “We were gearing up to get back there, maybe even further.”
Pampalone, who is also the boys basketball coach at Southern, noted he will have butterflies in the first game of the season after not having coached lacrosse since 2019.
“This group is really hungry,” he said. “There has been a lot of energy and enthusiasm in our practices every day. Everyone is really excited to be back.”
The expectation is to capture the Shore Conference South A Division, conference tournament and sectional titles, Pampalone and Committee both said.
“Not having a season last year, it only makes you appreciate it more,” Committee said. “It only brings more inspiration this year to make up for what could’ve been last year.
“We keep talking about how high the hopes are.”
Committee has known the Sininsky brothers since they were 5. They are only the second, third and fourth players, respectively, to commit to Division I programs in Southern history. The first was 2015 Press Player of the Year and University of Hartford standout Dylan Jinks.
Committee said there “are so many more” on the roster who could play at the next level, whether it’s Division I, II or III.
“It’ll be great to see everyone in college playing,” Committee said.
PHOTOS Southern Regional boys lacrosse team prepares for season
On April 16 2021, at Southern Regional High School, boys lacrosse host Lacey for a scrimmage match. Junior Tyler Sinisky, 17, team goalie.
On April 16 2021, at Southern Regional High School, boys lacrosse host Lacey for a scrimmage match. Junior Ryan Sinisky, 17.
On April 16 2021, at Southern Regional High School, boys lacrosse host Lacey for a scrimmage match. Junior Nate Committee, 17.
On April 16 2021, at Southern Regional High School, boys lacrosse host Lacey for a scrimmage match. Coach John Pampalone.
Southern Regional High School boys lacrosse coach John Pampalone works with his team during a scrimmage against Lacey Township on Friday. Belo…
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