Coached By: Jim Konen
Since this was Hauppauge High School boy's lacrosse coach Jim Konen's first year at the school, it was helpful to have a leader like Sam Llinares take charge. It also helped that by season's end Llinares had a Suffolk County-leading and school record 106 points.
For his leadership skills and overall dominating presence on the field, Llinares, who will play collegiately at Hofstra University, was honored with the 2012 Ray Enners Award, given to the top high school boys lacrosse player in Suffolk County.
Llinares is the first player from Hauppauge to win the award and the third from Hofstra after James Metzger (Hills, 1977) and Joe Romeo (Comsewogue, 1990).
Llinares scored 59 goals and added 47 assists as a senior and finished his four-year varsity career with 275 points, placing him second all-time in school history. During his senior year he led the Eagles to a 12-6 record and playoff appearance and was named All-Division, All-County, All-Long Island, All-Metro and All-American.
"He's something else," Konen said. "That kid can do it all. He's an unbelievable athlete and there's something about the way he carries himself."
On the field Konen said he operates like a fourth coach, running the offense at-will and calling the shots from attack or midfield. His magnificent scoring touch was present all season, and Konen and Llinares both will never forget his seven-goal, four-assist performance against Sayville during the regular season. Hauppauge beat Sayville, 15-12, that game.
"He was double-teamed and would still score," Konen recalled. "He was a human highlight reel that game. That's why he was Suffolk County Player of the Year. He just does it all. I don't know if I'll ever coach someone like that again."
Considering every defense was generally designed to stop Llinares, he found a way to generate offense and rack up his assist totals. One of the most important characteristics of being an Enners Award winner is being unselfish and utilizing teammates to be successful. His ability to read a defense and create plays in coverage was remarkable throughout the season.
"I try to set plays up the best I can," he said. "I'm always communicating with my teammates."
Llinares chose Hofstra because of its location on Long Island and its business program, which he plans to utilize to major in business marketing or business entrepreneurship. Hofstra coach Seth Tierney also hopes he brings the Pride's offense to another level when he eventually cracks the starting rotation.
"Sam is a winner," Tierney said. "He has great poise with his stick and is very unselfish. I can't wait to infuse him into what we have going on. He's a guy that's talented. Sam is skilled enough and just has to adjust to the Division I game now." After competing in the Under Armour All-American game during the summer of 2012, Llinares was able to stay in check with the other highly skilled players from around the country and added an assist in the contest.
What separated Llinares from the other All-Americans was his Enners Award, which is impressive considering it honors the best lacrosse player in the top lacrosse county in the world.
"After winning it I was honored," he said. "It's a huge award and I'm humbled I was chosen for it."