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2014 High School Lacrosse Previews

Published April 09. 2014 4:00AM
Tim Cook/The Day
Caroline Gonsalves of East Lyme looks for an open teammate while being guarded by Stonington's Margot Calmar, right, during last season's Eastern Connecticut Conference girls' lacrosse tournament semifinal at Waterford.

BOYS

ECC Large

East Lyme

Coach: Gary Wight (12th season).

Key returnees: Sr. G Greg Swenson, Sr. A Nic Page, Sr. LSM Andy Kohl, Sr. A Griffin Woods, Sr. D Jacob Gordon, Sr. M Mark Chmielewski, Jr. M Zane Smallidge, Jr. M Chris Apicelli, Jr. D Brendan Sinko, Jr. M Mark Wojcik.

Top newcomers: Sr. M Jack Powers, Sr. D Mac Robson, Sr. D Aqeeb Hussain, Jr. A Erik Aarsand, Jr. A Ethan Opsahl, Jr. A Dillion Jennings, Jr. M Kyle Bernard, Jr. M Mason Pagan, Jr. M Evan Opsahl, Jr. M Henry Duong, Jr. LSM Kyle Wilkinson, Jr. D Matt Pagan, Jr. G Anderson Aarsand, So. M Kyle McDonnell, So. M Aaron Dixon, So. LSM Dylan Janovic, So. G Ryan Janovic.

Outlook: The Vikings graduated six players who earned All-ECC honors last year, returning only Swenson, the goalie, among all-league picks. East Lyme (15-5) has worked hard and made great strides in the preseason, however, according to Wight, to retain its status as ECC Large Division and ECC tournament champion. Swenson and Gordon will solidify the defense, while Page and Chmielewski will lead the offense. Wight said East Lyme played a "rigorous" scrimmage schedule to help get ready for the season.

Fitch

Coach: Scott Hicks (4th season).

Key returnees: Sr. A Andrew Singer, Sr. A Grayson Rueling, So. A Ryan Rueling, Sr. M Rob Watts, Sr. M Tim Drake, Sr. D John Stevens, Sr. M Jordan McKenna, Sr. G Shawn Lee, Jr. D/LSM Cameron Wilhelm, Jr. M Adam Reinhold, Jr. D Nate Rollinson, Jr. D Dan Osborne, So. M Luke Lettelie.

Top newcomers: Sr. M Gabe Madrigal, Jr. A Nick Fairbanks, Jr. M Adrian Albo, So. D Sam Kokomoor, So. M Teddy Lee, So. M Rob Dunkin, So. M Paul Pandit, So. LSM Aaron Panciera, So. G Foster Coughlin, So. M Kameal Kalkoran.

Outlook: Hicks feels that this is the first time since his arrival the Falcons (7-10, Class M state tournament berth) will put a "mature" team on the field. And fast. Grayson Rueling and Singer will fill the void left by the graduation of All-ECC selection Ian Bond at attack, while a group of sophomore midfielders will add a great deal of speed, joining returnee Rob Watts. The team will also rely on dominant faceoff specialist Adam Reinhold, who earned all-league honors a year ago. Shawn Lee and Coughlin will vie for time in goal, replacing the graduated Mike Semancik.

NFA

Coach: Kyle Legnos (4th season).

Key returnees: Jr. D Jake Giannelli, Sr. M Nick Ladyga, Jr. A Kyle Ton, Jr. D Seth Laplace, So. A Login Morin, So. D Colbey Davis, Jr. M Ben Thompson.

Top newcomers: Jr. A Nick Jacaruso, So. M Danny Grant, Sr. G Turner Moss, So. G Mitch McCullough, Fr. A Jaedon Brown, So M Cam Curland, So. D Jake Dolan, Fr. D Josh Bernier, Fr. M Isaiah Price, So. LSM Andy Le, LSM Evyn Marquez.

Outlook: The Wildcats (5-11) welcome an infusion of young talent, so Legnos will have to be patient as the newcomers blend in with a group of experienced returning players that includes Ton and Ladyga up front and Davis and Giannelli on defense. Legnos says there will be some growing pains, but he still expects NFA to be competitive within the division.

ECC Small

Ledyard

Coach: Mark Farnsworth (2nd season).

Key returnees: Sr. A Nick LoBianco, Sr. D Sean Moriarty, Sr. M Jake Christensen, Sr. A Alec Powell, Sr. M Adam Hildebrandt, Jr. G Paul Bossardet.

Top newcomers: Jr. A Ian Foster, Jr. M Nick Shultz, Jr. A Derek Shultz, So. LSM Shane Fors, Jr. D Nilton Silva, Jr. D Dwayne Brown.

Outlook: The Colonels (11-7) got a taste of conference and state postseason play in Farnsworth's first season and expectations are realistic for a repeat performance with the return of LoBianco and Powell up front, Christensen and Hildebrandt (an All-ECC selection) in the midfield and Bossardet in goal. Newcomers are also expected to step into key roles.

Montville

Coach: Brendan Cholewa (1st season).

Key returnees: Jr. D Mitch Chaude, So. D Kevin Doherty, Sr. M Matt Durra, Jr. M Kyle Marsh, So. A Tyler Price, So. A Ryan Williams.

Top newcomers: Jr. M Michael Lopez, Sr. M William Malinowski, Fr. M Billy Clark.

Outlook: The Indians make their varsity debut after being a club team last season and Cholewa has 30 athletes in the program, including a strong freshman class that has gained experience at the youth level. Marsh and Price are dangerous up front, while Chaude and Doherty anchor the defense as Montville attempts to be competitive in its first season.

St. Bernard/Wheeler

Coach: George Hudson (6th season).

Outlook: The Saints are now part of a cooperative program with Wheeler, so Hudson said the team needs time to adjust to a new roster, although he is excited about the talent Wheeler athletes will provide. "I believe we are going to have a learning curve," Hudson said, adding he expects to see drastic improvements as the season progresses.

Stonington

Coach: Bob Iorio (1st season).

Key returnees: Sr. A Zach Poirier, Sr. LSM Drew Morse, Jr. A Tyler Grills, Jr. M Jack Riordan, So. A Will Iorio, So. LSM/D Jonah Roberts.

Top newcomers: Sr. G Cole Curtis, So. D Julian Maiorano, Fr. M Nick DeDominicis.

Outlook: The players who graduated from the ECC Small Division champion Bears include All-America defender Mitchell Kezer and fellow first team all-stater Dan Riordan. But while the team only returns five seniors and must fill some key positions with underclassmen, Stonington still has enough talent to make most coaches envious, especially on offense. Grills (51 goals) and Poirier (24 goals, 59 assists) earned All-ECC honors, while Will Iorio began his career with 23 goals and 47 assists, as the Bears finished 16-5 with their third trip in four years to the Class S semifinals. Bob Iorio takes over as coach for Paul Deon, now the head coach at Hand High School.

Waterford

Coach: Chris Landry (7th season).

Key returnees: Jr. A Billy Barrs, Jr. M Michael Beltran, Sr. M Grant Larson, Jr. M Spencer Sgandurra, Sr. D Lucas Alloway, Sr. D Jacoby Peabody.

Top newcomers: G Taylor Huta, A Anthony Vocalina, Sr. D Jose Molina, Sr. D Jake Keating, Sr. M Josh Perry.

Outlook: The Lancers (8-10) graduated nine seniors, but Landry's returnees all played key roles a year ago. That means a successful season is possible, especially if some of the newcomers step in and grow into the team concept quickly.

Others

Old Lyme

Coach: Mike Murphy (1st season).

Key returnees: So. A Henry Hunt, Sr. M Eric Behringer, Sr. M Joab Hunt, Sr. D Ryan Comerford, So. D Josh Turkowski, Sr. LSM Machlan Sawden, Sr. G Seth Rohrberg.

Top newcomers: Fr. A Ian Humphreys, So. M Ryan Powers, Fr. D Hayden Hendrik, So. A Ashton Bohan.

Outlook: Murphy takes over at Old Lyme and expects the Wildcats to remain a factor in the Shoreline Conference race. Old Lyme returns a great nucleus with solid senior leadership and Murphy said his younger players will also play prominent roles. "I expect this team to be highly competitive," he said.

Williams

Coach: Bryan Jackson (4th season).

Key returnees: Jr. A Xavier Mills, Jr. M Jack Fader, Jr. D Jack O'Connor, Jr. D Jack Ficke, Jr. D Liam Tresnan, Jr. M Andrew Bronk, Jr. M Tony Reiser, So. D Jack Hisle, So. M Thomas Evans, So. A Shannon Desmond.

Top newcomers: Jr. D Patrick Madaus, So. M Liam Griscom, So. M Jack Hall, Fr. A Porter Girty, 8th-grade G Alex Medeiros, 8th-grade LSM Will Jarrett, 8th-grade M Brett Kruger, 8th-grade M Gaige Kruger.

Outlook: A young team, Williams is looking to grow fundamentally and with its physical conditioning, Jackson said. The coach would still like to see the team qualify for the postseason, however.

GIRLS

ECC Large

East Lyme

Coach: Phil Schneider (5th season).

Key returnees: Sr. M Caroline Gonsalves, Sr. M Rebecca McGlone, Jr. M Belle Kenny.

Top newcomers: Sr. D Julie Ealahan, Sr. M Kelsey Shukis, Jr. D Gwen Connolly, Jr. A Gabby Fiengo, Jr. M Kendall Roberts, Jr. G Robin Waterman, So. M Riley Aspinwall, So. M Nina Sanfilippo.

Outlook: The Vikings, who won their eighth straight ECC tournament championship and reached the Class M semifinals in 2013, graduated 14 seniors - including leading scorer Kiki Ryan, The Day's All-Area Player of the Year - so for the first time in Schneider's tenure are inexperienced and untested in a number of spots. They do have tremendous senior leadership in Gonsalves, McGlone (an All-ECC pick) and Ealahan, however, and despite being young, Schneider does have plenty of talent. If East Lyme (17-4) matures quickly, another ECC title run is very possible.

Fitch

Coach: Patricia Semancik (9th season).

Key returnees: Sr. A Susannah Lucey, Sr. M Daria McKenna, Sr. M Jackie Kokomoor, Sr. D Avery Fiftal, Sr. D Bailey Mahler, Jr. A Michelina Pinto, Jr. D Shelby Larubina, So. A Lauren Roper, So. A Vineela Kanagala.

Top newcomers: Sr. G Danielle Chirillo, Sr. D Gabby Corado, So. D Kali Woodhall.

Outlook: Fitch (11-7-1) played in the ECC tournament championship last year, falling to East Lyme, and returns a pair of All-ECC picks in Lucey and McKenna in an attempt to repeat that success. Semancik calls her team "dedicated."

NFA

Coach: Eric Page (13th season).

Key returnees: Sr. M Sam Trombley, Sr. D Nicole Craig, Sr. A Hannah Long, Jr. A Maya Bell, So. G Christina Konstantinidis, Sr. D Casey Worski, Sr. D Melissa Griffes, Jr. A Kamryn Grace.

Top newcomers: Jr. D Alexis Salvagna, Jr. D Melissa Rayment, Sr. A Morgan Smith, Jr. A Erin Gendreau, Fr. A Mackenzie Walsh, Jr. D Kellse Ericson.

Outlook: The Wildcats (8-7-1) must replace all-state midfielder Megan Gada, but Page welcomes back an experienced group that has potential, especially due to the tremendous speed in the midfield. NFA should be right in the thick of the Large Division race.

ECC Small

Ledyard

Coach: Bill Glenn (5th season).

Key returnees: Jr. A Liz Austin, Jr. M Leslie Dunn, Jr. A Ellie Phetteplace, Jr. D Cassidy Jenkins, Jr. G Gretchen Montgomery, Jr. D/M Jenna Bensko, Jr. D/M Julia Ecklord, Jr. D Katie Kauffman, So. M Morgan Wicken.

Top newcomers: So. M Brooke Scahill, So. A Maddie Tilton.

Outlook: The Colonels have just one senior and will rely on strong junior and sophomore classes to keep them competitive within the division. Ledyard (4-12) may be a year away from becoming something special, but Glenn believes his team can contend for postseason berths in the ECC and state tournaments.

Montville

Coach: Kristin Ventresca (1st season).

Key returnees: Sr. M Gabby Iaconiello, Sr. A Katherine Namin, Sr. K Marissa Zimmerman, Sr. D Allie Contillo, Jr. A Taylor Montminy, Jr. M Siera Baker, So. A Emily Kewer.

Top newcomers: Fr. G Hailey Adcock, Fr. M Alyssa Turchetta, Fr. M Rachel Marchini.

Outlook: The Indians, after playing as a club team last season, move up to the varsity ranks and can't wait to test themselves in a strong division. Montville will rely on the senior leadership of captains Iaconiello, Namin and Contillo.

St. Bernard

Coach: Jon Zielinski (3rd season).

Key returnees: Jr. M Shannon Amarello, Sr. D Grayce Dyer, Sr. A Danielle Guth, Jr. G Danielle Keefe, Jr. M Grace Mayeda, Jr. M Christen Teskey.

Top newcomers: So. M Ally Andrade, Fr. M Flora Klise.

Outlook: The Saints (6-10) must replace 86 goals with the graduation of All-ECC midfielders Maria Theiler and Anne Foley, but Zielinski loves the potential of his young team and is curious to see who will step up and pick up some of the offensive scoring load. Challenging for the division title and a state tournament berth are realistic goals.

Stonington

Coach: Jeff Medeiros (14th season).

Key returnees: Sr. D Elizabeth Morrison, Sr. M Emily Cassata, Sr. M Megan Roberts, Jr. D Margot Calmar, Jr. M Jenny Sieczkiewicz.

Top newcomers: So. M Hannah Johnson, So. M Serena Montaro, Fr. A Ashley Marino.

Outlook: Medeiros, whose team was the ECC Small Division champion a year ago, is optimistic about the Bears' chances this season because he has strong and experienced senior and junior classes. With the infusion of some good, young talent, Stonington (11-8) is primed to compete for division and conference championships and make a deep run in the state tournament. Cassata, Sieczkiewicz and Morrison were first team all-conference picks.

Wheeler

Coach: Dan Rahl (2nd season).

Key returnees: Sr. M Jess Muller, Jr. D Sarah Volack, So. D Tessa Baake, Jr. M Madison Jones.

Top newcomers: Sr. G Carolyn Pabst, So. D Justine Gouvin, Fr. A Zoe Robert, Fr. M Sierra Labonte.

Outlook: The Lions (0-13) must replace five starters, so Rahl says his young team needs time to gain some experience before it can be competitive in the division. Muller, an All-ECC honoree, and Jones provide some much-needed experience in the midfield, however.

Others

Old Lyme

Coach: Emily Macione (1st season).

Key returnees: Sr. G Meredith Britton, Sr. A Allie Buckley, Sr. M Liz Scott, Sr. M Fiona Barrett, Jr. D Julia Strycharz, Jr. A Catie Quaratella, Jr M Alston Rountree, So. M Sloane Sweitzer.

Top newcomers: Sr. D Chelsea Evankow, Jr. D Rande Gearing, Jr. D Mae Lucey, Sr. M Jenna Duxbury, Jr. M Veronica Rollins, Fr. A Sydney Cowell.

Outlook: Macione, an assistant the past three seasons, replaces Tom Risom, who retired after building the program into a perennial Class S contender. The Wildcats return a wealth of talent and experience, despite some graduation losses, and Macione expects Old Lyme to develop into a Shoreline Conference contender and a threat to advance far in the state tournament.

Williams

Coach: Dick Shriver (3rd season).

Key returnees: D Sam Benvelli, M Maddy Lahm, A Lili Goldberg, A Britta Widham, A Margit Burgess, D Maya Holland, G Grace Purcell, M Grace Linhares.

Top newcomers: M/D Paola Vangjeli, D Allie Norman, M/A Rachel Goldstein.

Outlook: The Blues did lose seven valuable players to graduation, but Shriver likes the fact that his strength and experience is in the midfield, which he's confident will neutralize most opposing offenses. If Williams can develop a consistent offensive attack and improve as the season progresses, the Blue could contend for a SENE playoff berth.

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