WEST HARTFORD — The Hall High girls lacrosse team is going to have to fill some holes to continue its winning ways in the upcoming 2014 season.
The Warriors have been to the state semifinals the last two seasons but graduated a lot of talent and experience from those squads and how quickly it can be replaced will go a long way to determining how successful the upcoming campaign can be.
Hall went 14-2 in the regular season last year and defeated a pair of FCIAC teams in Staples (15-11) and Danbury (15-8) in the state tournament before falling to FCIAC power Darien, 14-7, in the Class L semifinals. Darien went on the beat Greenwich, 18-6, to win the state title.
But gone front that group are six starters including all three midfielders and a pair of defensemen.
“We have had a really nice run, semifinals the last two seasons but we graduated a ton of experience,” Hall coach Steve Boyle said. “It was a core of kids that had two years of varsity experience that played a major part in that past success and we have to find a way to replace that.”
The Warriors won their first five games last season and then closed the regular season with a nine-game win streak. They will look to get off to another fast start when they open the season on April 10 at home against Newington and then host Daniel Hand on Saturday the 12th.
“We have a lot of kids that have been waiting in the wings,” said Boyle, who is entering his fourth season as lacrosse coach at Hall. “It’s a good group but a different group. It’s so hard to predict a season. There is no one on the schedule we can’t beat but the wins are not going to come nearly as easily as they did last season.
Helping the wins come will be a core of returners that will be expected to lead the way. Hanna Cho is a senior captain who is headed to Vassar in the fall and seniors Beatrice Lynch and Olivia Van Rye return for their third season of varsity lacrosse.
Allanah Boyle and Madison Hooper are also back after earning honorable mention All-American honors in 2013. Boyle will key the attack for the Warriors before heading to Manhattan College in the fall while future UConn Husky Hooper will give Hall one of the best goalies in the state.
“We have some holes to fill but we do have some talented returners as well,” Boyle said. “Maddie is going to save a lot more shots than the average goalie so that is a big plus for us going into the season.”
While Hooper will anchor the defense, Boyle will be looking for his new crop of midfielders to help keep the pressure off and keep control of the ball.
“The challenge we will have to figure out is where is our possession going to come from,” Boyle said. “When you graduate your entire midfield – three D I athletes – it’s going to take a while to figure out how to get possession. We need to figure out who will replace those kids and have the ball, we think we have kids that will do it.”
Boyle said that the team has had some tough scrimmages against good competition and that the Warriors will face a tough schedule as well. It’s all in hopes of having the Warriors play their best lacrosse when it counts the most and from there they will just see how things play out.
“I’ve been coaching long enough to know that if we do the little things every day then winning tends to take care of itself,” Boyle said. “We have the ability to maintain a similar record to the past few seasons but I don’t want the team to just look back the record. It’s about the experience, the vibe around the team and the relationships built. We will work hard and go from there.”