SPRINGFIELD, NJ - After a competitive season and with possibly 19 more players next season, Dayton's first varsity team may be in store next season. The 2018 JV season certainly laid the foundation as the rise of lacrosse in Springfield skyrocketed this Spring as Jonathan Dayton High School’s Junior Varsity team entered its first full season.
After playing a modified eight game schedule last season with just 13 players, the team ended its inaugural season with a 1-7 record. This year, the Bulldogs entered the season with a roster of 29 players, comprised primarily freshman, who ascended from a promising 8th grade team that went 20-2 last season.
Expectations were high; however, after starting out the season with two straight losses to Summit and Ramapo, it looked as if this season would be like most first year programs. While most programs must fight through early struggles and obstacles that come along from building a sports team from scratch, Dayton would buck the trend and win the next seven of nine games to finish the season with an outstanding 7-4 record.
Throughout the season, this young Dayton team, under the guidance of one coach, played hard and proved to would-be competitors, as well as internal skeptics, this was a program on the rise. With victories over perennial lacrosse towns/programs including Millburn, New Providence, Oratory Prep, Governor Livingston, Scotch Plains, Wardlaw Hartridge and AL Johnson, opposing teams learned quickly that Dayton belonged on the field with them and could do more than just compete.
Although this season is considered to be Dayton’s inaugural season, there were several returning players who were instrumental in securing wins this season. Junior captains Robert Spagnola (24 points) and Evan Berkowitz (3 points), sophomores Adam Weinstein (11 points), Jack Pleva (28 GB, 3 points), Nathan Calling (2 points), Han Choi (3 GB) Kyle Guerreiro (6 GB), Jack Toledo (5 GB), Han Choi (3 GB), Jordan Levine (2 GB), and Arshad Lassiter. These players laid the foundation for the program and were invaluable as the leaders of this young team. Their guidance, alongside the talented freshman group and newcomer sophomore Jovanni Salcfas (25 points) were really the difference maker to this winning season. Salcfas, who only played in nine games, led the team in points, while freshman Michael Kanarek (17 points) led the team in what many would consider the most important categories, assists and ground balls. Standout freshman goalie Nick Stampoulous proved to be exceptional on the field, winning games with his remarkable defensive skills including a 26-save performance in a 6-5 victory over Millburn.
With a vast depth chart available from the bench, additional freshman contributed greatly to this historic season including Gavin Dzikowski (14 points), David Ares (3 points), Ethan Coehlo (2 points), Alex Gary (1 point), Anthony Apicella (24 GB), Cole Kebea (18 GB), David Greenman (13 GB), Anthony Corigliano (7 GB), Daniel Munoz (5 GB), Ryan Sickinger (3 GB), Jordy Frei (2 GB), Joe Grzybowski (2 GB), and Owen Ramirez (2 GB).
The team entered the season with three objectives – improve each day, be ready to compete on the varsity level and have fun in the process. It is more than evident that this group of talented student-athletes more than achieved these goals. With 19 projected incoming freshman next season, there will be an expected 40 to 46 players taking the field next Spring, anxious to play. Hopefully history will be made once again for these boys to be part of the first ever Varsity Lacrosse team at Jonathan Dayton High School in Spring 2019.