Adams takes over helm of RFA boys lacrosse team
ROME — Under first-year head coach Kiel Adams, the Rome Free Academy boys lacrosse team will look to make some noise in a competitive Tri-Valley League this season.
Adams is moving up from varsity assistant this season. The former RFA and Herkimer College player was previously an assistant at the college, where he was a member of the Generals’ 2003 NJCAA National Championship team. He went on to play for Division I Sacred Heart University where he was a conference first team all-star and team captain in 2006.
Last year, the Black Knights were 7-7, with an 18-1 loss to Cicero-North Syracuse in the Section III Class A quarterfinals.
In Adams’ first game as head coach, the team lost 12-10 at home Tuesday to Central Square. The Black Knights host Liverpool at 7 p.m. Thursday at RFA Stadium in a second non-league contest.
Gone are last year’s leading scorer Noah Hammon and key contributors Mike Futia and Keshawn Clark.
The player Adams said he’s looking to as a replacement for the scoring lost when Hammon graduated is sophomore Carmen Orton. He’s “definitely going to be the quarterback of the offense,” the coach said. “He will fulfill a lot of things for us at a young age. He’s very capable of it, especially after summer leagues. He’s the key for us offensively, along with Logan Waterman. Max Hunt is another one. And Seth Hammon, Noah’s brother. Dominick Gratch will be coming in off the bench and will be a great asset.”
If the team has success with the ball, the coach said, “It’s going to be because of Carmen Orton and Max Hunt. Max can see the field very well and he can drop the ball off to Carmen. Carmen’s lacrosse IQ is very high.”
Also back from last year are Ryan Davis, captain Marco DiCastro II, Treaver Ford, Matthew McCormick, captain Hayden McMonagle and Braeden Sturtevant.
New to varsity is Elijah Bush, who “can score some goals for us,” Adams said. Two other impact players who are new to varsity, he said, are junior Casey Podkowka and sophomore Derek Roberts. Jaiden Holmes wasn’t even on the varsity roster at the start of the season but came up for opening day and received high praise from his coach for his efforts with faceoffs. “He’s an athlete,” Adams noted. “It’s still early,” the coach said of which newcomers could impress.
The other players new to varsity are Maddox Cullings, Kaden Elliott, Robert Fanning Jr., Christian Faroni, Dominic Kelsey, Logan Kerber, Luciano Mingolelli, Marcus Molina, Matthew Nickles, Rayshard Pitkin, Jacob Pohorenec, Jack Pylman, Brent Viviani and Bryan Yauger.
“Defensively, Hayden McMonagle is a workhorse for us. He goes up and down the field,” Adams said. “He’s going to be our number one shut off guy.” DiCastro is “a solid, step up guy” who will often be tasked with shadowing the opponent’s top threat. “Ryan Davis will be there too,” among keys to the defense.
Sophomore Jimmy DeAngelo was supposed to be the team’s starting goalie but concussions from ice hockey have left him unable to take the field yet. Once he does, the job is his and will likely be for two more seasons as well, Adams said. Until then, Ford, a senior who played virtually every minute in goal last season, is in. “Ford is a great goalie. He’s too shy when it comes to clearing the ball, but in goal you can’t ask for a better goalie. Between the pipes he’s great. And he’s a hard worker, day in and day out.”
Adams said he has goals for the team as far as success on the field, but there’s more than that, he added.
“Everyone says they’d like to win the Section or win the league. I’d like that. We’re going to make the playoffs and I’d like to win a playoff game. But for us, I want us to be a group, a family. I want them to remember the time we were together.” He continued: “Wins, losses, that’s great. But us being together and growing them up for their next step in life is my main goal.”
The TVL is wide open this season, Adams said. “We can win the league, for sure. There’s not a team in the league that can’t win the league.” New Hartford won the league last season with a 7-0 record in the TVL (10-5 overall). “New Hartford is always there. If we can knock them off, fantastic.”
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