MAHOPAC, N.Y. – Mahopac’s Robert Plath is in the process of making a name for himself.
And after his performance—on the Westchester-based Prime Time Lacrosse team—at last month’s World Series of Lacrosse, he’s officially given notice: Plath could be one of the best (and most sought after) defensemen Section 1 has ever produced. And that’s saying something—with names like Ric Beardsley (Lakeland, 1991) and 1996 state champ and All-American Billy Armstrong, setting the standard.
At the World Series of Lacrosse, an elite tournament in July in Denver, that features the 24 best seventh-grade teams from around the country, Prime Time reached the tournament quarterfinals. The team reached the championship game in 2017.
The Prime Time team features three Mahopac players (Plath, PJ Hodge and Danny Koch), and Mahopac’s Denny Piekutowski, a goalie, played for the LI Express North team.
Also on the Prime Time team, from the Halston Media coverage area, are: Luca Duva and Andrew Kiefer of John Jay-Cross River High, Conor Duncan, Andrew Weisman and Chris Constantine of Yorktown High, and Aidan Bross of Lakeland High.
“We were happy with the finish,” Prime Time coach Nick Daniello said. “Obviously you want to win, but the boys really competed, and did what they could. They left it on the field. They’re some of the best teams in the country, so it’s very competitive. “
Prime Time plays a national schedule, and is ranked No. 6 in the country by US Club Lacrosse.
Plath, along with Arlington High’s Peyton Anderson, were the only area players named All-World First Team.
Daniello (Prime Time has had double-digit Division 1 recruits in each of the last six years), and Andy Tumolo, Plath’s MSA coach the last five years, both know what elite athletes look like, and they both agree the ceiling for Plath is unlimited.
“He was the best defenseman at the tournament—by far,” Daniello said. “He’s big, he’s physical, and has a great stick. He can take a face-off, and I think he has a very good chance of making varsity as a freshman.
“He’s played for me since the fourth grade, and he can cover any player on the field,” Daniello added. “He definitely has the potential to become a D1 defender.”
Tumolo explained the All-World First Team honor.
“It means he’s one of the best in the country,” he said. “In my opinion, in the 2024 graduating class, he’s the most talented defenseman in the country. He’s a rare talent. I don’t think we’ve ever had a player enter high school with his level of talent.”
When asked about the best defensive players Section 1 has ever seen, Tumolo said: “He is in that class. Hands down, he’s more athletic, stronger, faster, and plays with more tenacity than any player on the field. He’s definitely a game-changer.”
Plath said he got a lot out of the elite competition in Denver.
“It was really fun, and I learned a lot,” Plath said of the World Series tournament. “You’re competing with the best teams in the world, it’s definitely hard, but you get better. To be the best, you have to compete with the best.”
He said earning the All-World First Team honor carried a lot of meaning.
“It’s a huge deal,” he said. “I worked really hard for it. I’ve been working since the second grade, and I think I’m still getting better every day.”
Plath said one of his goals is to play varsity as a freshman (if he’s healthy, he will), which means in the spring of 2021.
The only question is whether or not Plath and a talented group of Mahopac youth lacrosse players will wind up on the Mahopac varsity team, currently in a state of flux after the recent dismissal of head coach Joe Bucello. who spent two seasons with the program.
For Plath, a private school is within the realm of possibility if the program doesn’t gain some stability. But at the end of the day, he’d like to be at Mahopac, playing with teammates he grew up with.
“Private school is a possibility for an education,” Plath said, “but I hope to play for Mahopac. I feel like I can bring a large quantity of defense, ground balls… I want to be a team leader.”
Tumolo believes Mahopac lacrosse is at a crossroads, with the future of the program depending on finding the right coach—one with the right skills, community roots, and a deep connection to MSA youth programs.
Tumolo said the program has lost players to other schools in the past, and hopes that trend does not continue.
“I think they’re really at a crossroad,” Tumolo said. “If you don’t get that right person in place, one who can bring everyone together, you can lose people. In the upcoming class, we already lost six out of 17 incoming athletes. It’s unusual to lose so many.”
But the right coach can bring stability and a sense of new hope to the program.
“The future of Mahopac lacrosse, with these young players, and with the right coaching piece, I feel like the future has never looked better,” Tumolo said.