Although the North Haven boys lacrosse team had a pair of tough post-season losses to deal with, looking back on it, senior attackman Colin Uyeki admits the Indians actually had a pretty good season overall.
Uyeki himself certainly had an exceptional season.
North Haven had to endure a tough 15-14 overtime loss to eventual champion Xavier in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament semifinals.
As one half of the team’s top 1-2 scoring punch with senior attackman Cole Pecora, Uyeki’s record-breaking season contributed to a 14-2 overall record in the regular season. As a result, the Indians earned the No. 1 seed in the CIAC Class M tournament.
They advanced to the quarterfinals where the Indians experienced another tough loss, this time to SCC rival Notre Dame-West Haven.
The Green Knights typically ran a man-to-man defense throughout the regular season. But in the Class M quarterfinal game, Notre Dame went strictly to a zone defense and the result was a 10-2 Notre Dame win.
“Those losses were tough, but you really can’t complain when your team has its best season in school history,” Uyeki said. “We didn’t take a day off the entire season and worked hard. We had a ton of experience with seniors on offense and defense and our goalie was a three-year starter.
“Losing in the Class M quarterfinal was tough, but you have to give credit to ND. They knew what they wanted to do and stuck with it. We played against teams with zone defenses all season and had success against it. But ND played man-to-man all season and when they went to a zone, it threw us off and took us by surprise. We also won only three of 17 faceoffs that day.”
Uyeki did his part to contribute to the team’s success.
He had 58 goals, 45 assists and 38 ground balls. He set a single-season school record for points (103) and career school records for points (285) and goals (177). He also had 108 career assists and 159 career ground balls. He led North Haven to a 15-4 overall record.
Uyeki was the only SCC player selected a 2015 U.S. Lacrosse All-American. He was a first team All-SCC and All-State selection.
For his efforts, Uyeki has been selected the Register Area boys lacrosse most valuable player.
North Haven coach Eric Bailey said Uyeki’s lacrosse IQ was extraordinary for a high school player.
“Colin is a student of the game,” Bailey said. “His speed, change of direction, finishing (scoring in close) capabilities, relentless motor and leadership are what make him an All-American. Although we have one of the smallest programs in the SCC, our style is go, go, go.
“We like to shoot 45-plus times a game and our kids are in great shape. Colin’s impact within our style of play was huge. We’ll need to find five-plus points per game next year to make up for losing him to graduation.”
Uyeki credits his teammates for his success and All-American selection.
“Being named an All-American is a dream come true,” Uyeki said. “It’s a great accomplishment. I’ve gotten better as a player over the years but that’s because of my teammates around me. I’ve got to give Cole Pecora some personal credit. I’ve been playing with him since we were 7 and most of the goals I scored this season came from plays set up by him. We always push each other.”
Uyeki’s success wasn’t limited to the playing field. He was named the North Haven High CIAC scholar athlete of the year, he finished in the top 10 in his graduating class and he was a member of the Science, Latin, Math and National Honor Societies.
Uyeki is looking forward to playing lacrosse at Wesleyan University next season.
“I’ve been coaching for 10 years and Colin Uyeki is one of the, if not the hardest, working kids I’ve ever been around on and off the field,” Bailey said. “He was also nominated as an Academic All-American.
“I expect Colin to have a seamless transition at Wesleyan. He’s got the talent, drive and is a model teammate which any college coach would want. I’m already looking forward to watching him play.”