Old Saybrook Boys’ Lacrosse Building a Foundation with Mason
The Old Saybrook boys’ lacrosse team has been giving a competitive effort throughout the first half of its season and looks to put more victories in the books as the 2022 campaign unfolds. (Photo courtesy of Jon Mason)
The Old Saybrook boys’ lacrosse team is off to its best start in several years, and Head Coach Jon Mason feels absolutely ecstatic about what his squad is accomplishing. The Rams started their year by winning three of their first four games and are now 3-6 after losing a few in a row, but Mason is proud of the effort that he’s seen from his team throughout the first half of the campaign.
“We’ve got a lot of skill. From the seniors, all eight of them, we’ve got a wealth of talent at both ends of the field and, mixing in a strong junior class, we’ve got the potential to be a great team,” Coach Mason said. “Part of our success has come from a strong numbers turnout. We have 30 boys on our roster. This allows us to have fresh legs [and] lots of different skill levels, and sets us up well for next season and beyond.”
In last week’s action, Old Saybrook hosted Valley Regional and North Branford, taking losses in both contests. The Rams began their week by taking a 13-6 defeat against Valley Regional on April 26. Following a rough start, Old Saybrook scored several goals in the final minutes of the game to bring it within seven.
“Valley came out very strong, and we didn’t play nearly up to our potential. We got down a few goals, and the wheels fell off a bit until the fourth quarter,” said Mason. “Led by our captain Ryan Slisz, a senior attackman, we marched back, scoring several unanswered goals. If we had another quarter, I think the result might have surprised a lot of us.”
Two days later, the Rams played host to North Branford and lost the game by a 9-7 final. Junior Aidan Grillo scores 4 goals for Old Saybrook, while Slisz had 2 goals in the game. Sophomore Aidan D’Anna scored 1 goal for Coach Mason’s club, which gave the Thunderbirds a more-competitive contest this time around after losing to North Branford 13-6 earlier in the year.
“This game was different. The team picked up the same ‘never die’ attitude from our Valley game and came out strong,” Mason said. “Led by some excellent face-off work by senior captain Andrew Souriyamath and freshman Wes Percival, we were able to lead in scoring at different points of the game. We played fearlessly through the entire game and came up just two goals shy. It was a good day for Saybrook lacrosse.”
Coach Mason has been impressed with several players this season, including sophomore attacker Brayden Cody. Mason said Cody has made great strides in his game and will help the Rams pick up some wins down the road.
“This season, watching the growth from our sophomore attackman Brayden Cody is remarkable. Here’s a young man who, at times, has the weight of the team on his back,” said Mason. “Brayden is the one many of us look to when the going gets tough and is always involved when things are going well. He’s remarkably skilled and a true leader on the field. He’s invaluable to our plans this season.”
Mason has also enjoyed watching senior captain Slisz compete for Old Saybrook. Slisz transitioned from the midfield to the attack and is thriving in his new role this year.
“We moved Ryan from midfield to attack this season to get more of his explosive shooting skills up front. He’s found his rhythm and is consistently a high scorer in our games,” Coach Mason said. “He’s also grown into a leader, which I am even more excited about. He’s finding his voice on the team, and it’s fabulous to see him develop skills that will not only make the rest of the season better, but post-high school as well. I am a big fan of Ryan.”
Coach Mason’s main expectation for the remainder of the year is for the Rams to continually improve. As long as he sees his team working hard, Mason will be happy.
“My hope for the rest of the season is these boys continue with this feeling of urgency. We’re at a good place, and it’s not too late to grab a spot at the conference or state championships,” said Mason. “The team has put in a lot of hard work—a lot of early Saturdays and late weekdays. We’re starting to scratch the surface on just how good this group can play together, and I am excitedly optimistic on our chances.”
Old Saybrook’s roster for the 2022 season features senior captains Ryan Slisz, Andrew Souriyamath, and Henri Lion-Gardiner; seniors Sam Baldi, Devin Harris, Josh Linder, Reed Nobile, and Man Dai Tran; and juniors Aidan Gilson, Aidan Grillo, Jake Pavlovich, Carson Percival, and Aedan Reynolds. The Rams’ roster also includes sophomores Ngwang Choegyal, Brayden Cody, Aiden D’Anna, Jacob DeAngelo, Izak Egbert, Braeden Hagelston, Holden LeMire, William Maselli, Patrick Sheahan, and Lucas Webb; along with freshmen Brandon Hester, Ethan Lane, Cole Lawson, Wesley Percival, Liam Roberts, Anthony Stanley, and Brendan Cassella.
“I feel very fortunate that I get to stand behind such a great group of young men,” Coach Mason said. “While Saybrook lacrosse is not yet the storied program we want it to be, we’re putting in the work to make it so. I am very excited for these young men and hopeful that they will find the success they so desperately want.”