I first heard about this Friday but didn’t post anything until I had confirmed it. That happened earlier today when I stopped by Iona Prep to check on the Gaels’ first official day of practice for the 2010 season.
Just one session in, they’re already off to a difficult start. Senior wide receiver Michael Alfano (left, in maroon and gold) will miss the entire season after suffering a torn left ACL earlier this month.
Alfano caught 36 passes for 494 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. He was the third-leading receiver on Iona’s CHSFL-leading passing attack.
Alfano’s impact was impressive during his first season on varsity, tying for third in touchdowns and finishing seventh in receptions and ninth in yards.
When I talked to him today during the team’s lunch break, Alfano said he was devastated for a couple days after finding out the news. He credited teammates for helping him through it. He spent the day with the team today and will continue to hang around for the time being. His surgery is scheduled for Aug. 31 with the hope he can rehab in time for next year.
“It was hard, it was hard,” Alfano said. “The first couple of days, thinking about it was tough. Emotionally it was tough. It was tough to get through. I don’t know how I did it, but the team really rallied around me. They helped me through it the most.”
Alfano entered the summer ready to follow in his brother Chris’ footsteps. In fact, he said, “I thought I could be even better.”
Remember: The older Alfano was second in the CHSFL with 57 receptions and 987 yards as a senior in 2008, helping the Gaels win the first AAA championship in program history. The Journal News first-team all-star went on to play for Merrimack despite standing just 5-foot-7.
After a strong junior year, Michael Alfano intended to leave his own mark and earn his way onto a college roster. But all that changed on Aug. 5 when he caught a two-yard pass in a 7-on-7 against Harrison at New Rochelle High School. Alfano saw a linebacker coming at him and turned to head upfield. When he cut, his left knee gave out.
“I didn’t even get hit,” he said.
It took more than a week for the final diagnosis. But Alfano found out last week that he has a complete tear in his left ACL, a partially torn meniscus and a sprained MCL. He will miss his senior season, leaving Iona Prep without its top receiving threat.
Alfano said after missing this season he will consider playing next year at a prep school.
As a team, the Gaels have dealt with a number of injuries to their stars in recent years. But it was especially troubling to lose Alfano even before the first practice.
“That’s the worst,” head coach Vic Quirolo said. “It’s not the worst for us, but for him. He had been working our so hard. And in some of our 7-on-7s he was flat-out tremendous. Tremendous. To lose him, it’s just hard.”
The Gaels will miss their No. 2 receiver for the year also. Senior Ryan Ferguson would have been a starter alongside Alfano but he decided not to play. Ferguson made the Hudson Valley lacrosse team for the Empire State Games in Buffalo in July and has chosen to continue to focus on lacrosse.