WESTPORT >> Last season Staples head girls’ lacrosse coach Pete Najarian saw his team play with a level of intensity the program hadn’t seen since 2012.
That was the same year they advanced the Class L state quarterfinals where they lost by just one goal.
Last season the program made significant strides in Najarian’s second year as they went 10-7, advancing to the FCIAC and Class L tournament.
This spring, with a senior-laden team, they are hoping to take a few more steps in pursuit of a conference and state title.
“Our goal has been to move from sort of a mid-level FCIAC team to a top-tier FCIAC team,” Najarian said. “And I felt like last year we took a couple big steps to hopefully do that.”
Staples certainty did. They improved not only in record but in almost all other facets. Najarain said they were better on the draw and when they struggled in a certain area, he saw an immediate response and meaningful change.
“It was a group that was very coachable and wanted to improve,” he said.
The Wreckers posted a win over Greenwich and went toe-to-toe with Class M runner-up New Canaan, losing by one goal in the regular season.
With nine seniors on the roster, a majority that has been together since middle school, this spring is the last hurray for many of them.
“This year more than ever, we’re all going to do this as a team,” senior defender Amelia Heisler said, who is committed to Lafayette. “We’re determined to leave a stamp (on the program).”
The Wreckers bring back a majority of the talent from last spring. Heisler, along with senior goalie Emma Boland, anchor a strong defensive unit.
Offensively, seniors Jenna McNicholas, Paige Murray and Nikki Najarian highlight a deep midfield and strong attack.
Najarian said while this is a faster and deeper team, the key will be staying healthy. As of last week, the Wreckers had six starters sidelined. He said he’s hoping they can get everyone back within three weeks.
“If we get healthy, we can play very good lacrosse,” he said.
Staples opens up the season at home on Wednesday as they host Danbury (4 p.m. start).