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Senior captain Zak Johnson and the Morgan boys’ lacrosse team earned two wins last week to even their record at 4-4 on the season. Johnson scored a goal had and two assists in Morgan’s 14-5 victory against Old Saybrook on April 16. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Ryan Caldwell scored nine goals during a three-game week for the Huskies’ boys’ lacrosse squad. Morgan defeated Old Saybrook and Old Lyme to go with a loss against Somers. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior goalie Matt Luchuk picked up two victories in net for the Huskies during last week’s stretch. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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The Morgan boys’ lacrosse team has pieced together a solid first half of its season this spring. After finishing 9-9 in a 2018 campaign that included a Class S State Tournament berth, the Huskies are looking to rustle up some more victories and get back to the playoffs in 2019. With Head Coach Brendan Hylan in his second season at the helm, Morgan features a senior-laden squad that wants to build on its experiences from last year.
So far, Morgan has a record of 4-4 after taking two out of three at the Indian River Complex last week. The Huskies dropped a 12-6 decision against Somers, before earning victories over Old Saybrook (14-5) and Old Lyme (11-5) on the week. Morgan has already traversed one of the most difficult junctures of its schedule, and Coach Hylan believes the team is in a good place as it dives into the heart of its campaign.
“We hit the tougher section of our season at the beginning. Having a .500 record is acceptable, but we’re on a trend upwards,” Hylan said. “We want to make some noise in the conference. We want to make a statement. Our expectation is to try to bring home a championship.”
Senior captain Ryan Caldwell supplied two goals with one assist, while fellow senior Ford Pender had a goal with an assist when Morgan lost to Somers in non-conference action. Junior Matt Lee and sophomore Tim Lichack finished with one goal and an assist apiece. Senior goalie Matt Luchuk made 19 saves on 33 shots for the Huskies.
The day after that loss, Morgan notched a 14-5 home win versus Old Saybrook in a Shoreline Conference matchup. Caldwell scored three goals to go with three assists, and fellow senior captain Zak Johnson contributed a goal with two assists in the victory. Coach Hylan said that both of Morgan’s senior captains are great players, as well as excellent leaders.
“I like the two-captain process. Caldwell is the leader by example. He’s our leading scorer, and he’s a big presence on the field,” said Hylan. “Zak has a positive voice. They both have a positive outlook. We work well together.”
In the midfield, Pender (1 goal) and fellow senior Sean Fitzgerald (1 assist) each contributed to the Huskies’ victory. Coach Hylan said the senior duo provides a plenty of energy for Morgan, as well as plenty of frustration for its opponents.
“They are our spark-plug players. They play a kind of offense-defense hybrid in the midfield,” Hylan said. “They both have already made multiple huge plays in the midfield position. People sleep on them, and it comes back to bite them later on.”
Morgan also saw sophomore Tim Lichack (3 goals), Lee (2 goals), junior Liam Trahant (1 goal, 1 assist), junior Kyle Gagliardi (1 goal), and freshman Ethan Madura (2 assists) get on the score sheet in its win versus Old Saybrook.
Coach Hylan additionally credited the defensive unit of seniors Mike Savage, Hunter Kyhn, and Matt Koziy for holding off the Rams, along with the leadership of goalkeeper Luchuk, who made eight saves on the day.
“Luchuk is our senior class leader back there in goal, and we are definitely senior-heavy on the defensive end. I live by the saying that ‘Defense wins championships,” Hylan said. “Mike Savage, Hunter Kyne, and Matt Cosey: I have a goal for each of them to make a number of ground balls in a game, and they have met it every game so far this season. They are ball hawks. When that ball is in the air, they seek it out and put it on the ground for a turnover possibility.”
On April 18, the Huskies scored another win against a Shoreline Conference opponent when they defeated Old Lyme by the final score of 11-5. Morgan jumped out to a 7-2 advantage on its way to defeating the defending conference champion Wildcats. Coach Hylan felt this victory said something about how far the Huskies have come in recent seasons.
“We lost to Old Lyme consistently over the last three years. They are always a team we consider a rival in our conference. We brought our A-game. Like most conferences, it’s an ‘Any given Sunday,’ scenario where any team can show up big against another conference team,” said Hylan. “We wanted all our ducks in a row to come out with a victory. We got up early and never gave up that lead.”
Caldwell scored four goals to go with an assist, while Johnson put home a pair of goals in the winning effort. Also recording points were Fitzgerald (2 goals), Lee (1 goal, 1 assist), Pender (1 goal), Lichack (1 goal), and Hunter Kyhn (1 goal). Luchuk made 15 saves for the Huskies, who outshot Old Lyme 36-25.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Coach Hylan feels that his team is gaining momentum at the right time. Now, it’s a matter of maintaining that momentum in each game.
“I think the big challenge will be staying consistent every week. These kids see each other in so many different sports. It helps to be consistent. We face a lot of these teams two or three times a season,” said Hylan. “We know each other inside and out, so It comes down to executing.”
From the Sidelines
The Morgan boys’ lacrosse team’s roster features senior captains Ryan Caldwell and Zak Johnson; seniors Matthew Koziy, Hunter Kyhn, John Leviness, Matthew Luchuk, Ford Pender, and Peter Sullivan; juniors Alex Amendola, Jonathan Fiorillo, Tyler ForChielli, Kyle Gagliardi, Elmir Gutic, Hunter Hill, Matthew Lee, Benjamin Lichack, and Liam Trahant; sophomores Andrew Beauchamp, Guiseppe Carpenter, Timothy Lichak, and Todd Morin; and freshmen Joey Bruce, Aidan Madura, Ethan Madura, Aidan McEnaney, Diego Pelaez, and Tyler Zitzkat.
Brendan Hylan is in his second season as the Huskies’ head coach. Hylan’s coaching includes assistant coaches Scott Bush and Dennis Forbes. Coach Hylan also thanked social media director Pete Mezzetti.
For the rest of the season, Morgan has home contests versus Valley Regional, North Branford, and Haddam-Killingworth on its schedule. The Huskies will also hit the road to do battle against Haddam-Killingworth, Bacon Academy, Cromwell, Old Saybrook, and Old Lyme.
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