Despite graduating 15 players from last season’s team, which advanced to FCIAC Tournament semifinals and Class L Tournament quarterfinals, there is certainly no shortage of talent and skill on this spring’s Greenwich High School boys lacrosse team.
The Cardinals have several juniors, who are ready to emerge as significant contributors, after watching and learning from the upperclassmen as sophomores last year. As for last season’s juniors? Well, they’re primed to put their final stamp on the traditionally successful program.
“This year, I think we will be as strong or even stronger than last year,” GHS senior tri-captain/long stick midfielder JT Lawrence said. “We lost a lot of seniors, but we have kids who are going to step up this year.”
Lawrence and senior attack Matt Baugher, also a captain, were each members of Greenwich’s boys hockey team, which made it all the way to the championship game of the Division I Tournament against Fairfield Prep last week.
“We have a bunch of athletes from the school’s football and hockey teams that made it to the very end — championship games,” Cardinals coach Bobby Lutz said. “That’s important, they know what it’s like to travel deep into the postseason and they know what it takes to play to the end of the season.”
Baugher has a knack for scoring game-winning goals. His goal as time expired lifted Greenwich to a 12-11 triumph over Staples in the opening round of last year’s CIAC Class L Tournament. Two seasons ago, he tallied the game-winner in a first-round win in the state tournament against Glastonbury with 1.7 seconds left to play. He will be one of the players that will be relied upon to power the attack unit.
“We are forming a lot of chemistry and meshing well at attack, we are excited,” said Baugher, who will play lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts. “We are looking to be a contender and hopefully, we can beat the best teams.”
Luc Ayoub, one of the Cards’ top defenders, also serves as one of the squad’s captains.
“A lot of our younger guys have been on the team a few years now, so they already have a lot of experience,” Ayoub said. “We are excited to see what we can do. Our season goals are to win the FCIAC and state titles. We’re looking forward to turning some of those losses from last into wins this year.”
AT THE HELM: Lutz begins his third season as coach of the Cardinals. He guided GHS to a record of 13-7 last season and a berth in both the FCIAC and Class L Tournaments. Greenwich dropped a 10-7 decision to Ridgefield in the FCIAC semifinals and were beaten by undefeated state champion Darien, 17-6, in the Class L quarterfinals.
“This is my third year, so our players have grown up with the system and they get a lot of the philosophies I am trying to teach,” Lutz said. “The chemistry has really improved.”
Jeremy White returns as the team’s defensive coordinator and Colin Dunster, a GHS graduate, who was a standout lacrosse player for the Cardinals, joins the staff as an assistant.
WHO’S GONE?: Bailey Savio, one of the premier face-off men in the nation, graduated. He was an All-American, All-State and All-FCIAC Team selection and is playing lacrosse at Loyola Maryland.
Jack O’Connor (All-FCIAC, All-State selection), a prolific scorer and playmaker also graduated, along with defender Holden Tiedy (All-FCIAC, All-State selection), Alex Bologna (All-FCIAC), Michael Graves and Addison Muir (All-FCIAC). Also among some of the graduates was starting goalie Andrew Triscari.
“Bailey left big shoes to fill and we lost a lot of senior leadership on defense,” Lutz said.
WHO’S BACK?: Lutz described Ayoub as the team’s quarterback on defense. Junior Tyler Dietrich returns on defense, as do junior Sam Jenkins and Lawrence, a long stick midfielder, who may also be asked to play close defense.
“The past three years I have been starting at LSM and I expect to face a lot of great competition once again this year,” the Colorado College-bound Lawrence said. “Going up against Will Perry (2016 GHS graduate), who was among the best middies in the country, really helped me. He taught me a lot about what I could do and where I messed up.”
Fortifying the midfield are juniors Lance Large, Matt Davey, Charlie Graves and senior Harlan Giordano. Senior Connor Santry, who like Graves and Davey, starred on the Cardinals ice hockey team, starts his first season as the squad’s starting goalie.
Baugher, and junior Jack Feda (All-FCIAC, All-State in 2017), who turned in a sensational sophomore season, are among the Cards’ top attackmen.
NEWCOMERS: Senior Jackson Trimmer should make an impact at attack in his first season on the team and Lutz has been impressed with what he has seen from freshman attack Leo Johnson and junior attack Owen Gwordz.
STRENGTHS: “We have a lot of scoring potential with Jack Feda coming off a big season, Lance Large and some other guys,” Ayoub said. “Playing in the FCIAC keeps us strong as a team. You can never really take your foot off the pedal with all these teams.”
Said Baugher: “There are a lot of strong players and teams in the FCIAC. Every team has a new kid coming up that I never heard of that ends up tearing it up out there.”
Speed has also been an asset for the Cards in recent seasons.
“With the attack that we have we can do more stuff from behind the cage, which opens things up top for our shooters,” Lutz said. “We have about six guys who can initiate the offense.”
COACH’S COMMENT: “How successful we are always comes down to practice and how well we stay focused in practice,” said Lutz, whose Cardinals open their season on March 31 at home against Westhill. “A lot of these players know what it takes to have a winning football season and winning hockey season. Hopefully, they can keep that chemistry and winning attitude going.”