Following a sensational 16-2 season, in which it was ranked among the top 10 teams in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national poll, the Brunswick School lacrosse squad showed that it was primed to pick up where it left off last spring during its season-opener in March.
That’s right, unlike every other team in the region, the Bruins’ 2020 season wasn’t completely canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis — they actually played their season-opener on March 11.
Brunswick’s 16-10 win over Episcopal Academy wound up being its only game — a matchup in which it showed its impressive potential and was a source of some type of closure for the seniors.
“That one game was great to get in,” said Bruins coach David Bruce, who has guided the team to highly successful seasons since he took over the helm in 2007. “It was an emotional game, it felt like Senior Day to all the guys and we played all the seniors. We were playing to get those guys one last game in their uniform.”
The announcement that their remaining games would be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic came several days following their season-opener.
“It was an interesting season-opening game,” Bruce said. “We had just canceled our spring training trip before that and the administration at school was talking about being prepared for remote learning, so we were guessing that something may happen. The colleges had canceled their season too, so we had an idea what was going to happen.”
Bruce remembers the emotion his squad exhibited following their victory in their lone game of the season.
“The kids were upbeat and singing the whole way down,” Bruce said. “The seniors played almost the entire game and they got a win in their one and only game. But the win was not even on their minds — the experience of playing that game was.”
Bruce will also remember his group of 2020 seniors, who meant plenty to the program.
Michael Mauricio (attack), Logan Darrin (defender), Brody Firestein (midfielder) and Liam Fairback (midfielder) were the Bruins’ four senior captains.
Mauricio, who helped power the Bruins offense in 2019, is headed to Dartmouth, where he will play lacrosse. The squad’s win against Episcopal saw Mauricio score a team-high four goals.
“He had a great season last year and had a great career for us,” Bruce said of Mauricio. “He did a great job of leading the guys in the offseason.”
Darrin will play lacrosse at Harvard.
“Our defense was going to be really strong,” Bruce said. “Logan was our No. 1 defender and he was a really strong leader for us.”
Firestein will continue his lacrosse career at Penn State and Fairback (two goals season-opener) will take his skills to Princeton in the fall.
“Brody and Liam were part of one of the best group of midfielders that we ever had last year,” Bruce said. “They helped us become really strong at the midfielder position.”
Senior attackman Whit Stahl will attend Wake Forest, where he plans on playing club lacrosse.
“Whit is a really tough competitor,” Bruce said. “He was going to push for a lot of time this year.”
Senior Koby Ginder (two goals against Episcopal), Brunswick’s face-off man, enabled his team to enjoy the possession advantage over its foes during his Bruins career. He joins Fairback in the fall at Princeton, where they will be lacrosse teammates.
“Koby was ready to run through the league again this season,” Bruce said. “He is one of the best face-off guys in the country. His brother (Jordan) is starting at Duke and I think Koby will push for some time right away at Princeton.”
Senior midfielder Bernard Zoungrana will continue his academic career at Harvard, while midfielder Tucker Slattery will study at Wake Forest.
Rocco DiChiara, a top defender, who was Brunswick’s senior class president, will continue his academic career at the University of Michigan, while Clayton Ostrover, an All-American wrestler and starter on the Bruins’ football team, plans on trying out for Yale’s lacrosse team.
Henry Foster, who served as a captain of Brunswick’s soccer and ice hockey teams, was going to start in goal this spring.
Foster, an All-New England Team selection in soccer, made 11 saves in his starting debut as goalie in the Bruins’ triumph against Episcopal. He is attending the University of North Carolina in the fall.
Jeffrey Sprung (defender) plans on trying out for the lacrosse squad at the University of Richmond and Isaac Sacks (defender) will attend Brown.
Despite having their season canceled, the Bruins did their best to communicate as a team.
“Team bonding was so important to our team, that’s what they really miss,” Bruce said. “We had a couple of alumni players speak to the team, guys like Jimmy Craft (2010 graduate, who played at Yale) and Reilly Walsh (played at Duke). They love to hear from past athletes. Then we transitioned quickly to final thoughts and we recognized our seniors.”
Indeed, Bruce missed all that the season would have offered.
“Walking in and seeing the guys talking in the locker room and the healthy ribbing that goes i in practice, those are type of things you miss,” he said. “The highs and lows and the many emotions you experience during a season, along with the camarderie are what makes each season special.”