The slow growth of boys and girls lacrosse in the Northwest Corner is ambitious because, like ice hockey, other parts of the state have a long head start.
Housatonic and Lewis Mills have made themselves exceptions. Housy’s program has been around for years. Its longevity showed up last year on the girls side with a 12-4 Mountaineer record, compiled by some of the school’s best female athletes.
Mills, whose youth soccer program has produced champions for decades, started a Burlington Youth Lacrosse Association less than 10 years ago.
Burlington knows how to run youth programs.
Last year, the Spartan boys lacrosse varsity team went undefeated (16-0) in the regular season, then avenged a
Housatonic loss in the first round of the Class S Tournament.
The Mountaineers (7-9) made it to the qualifying round.
Southwest Connecticut is a traditional hotbed for lacrosse – the closer to Long Island, the better the quality usually.
This time, Notre Dame – Fairfield squeezed past Housatonic 9-7, only to run into No. 1 seed Mills in the first round.
The Spartans downed the Lancers 17-9, then stepped up to St. Joseph-Trumbull.
Trumbull is way too close to Long Island. The Cadets won 19-4.
On the girls side, Mills and Housatonic were forced to attack each other. The Spartans pulled the upset, 8-7, then lost to Granby.
In the midst of several club starts in the area, Wamogo’s boys stepped up as the third varsity lacrosse program in the area. Last year’s 1-12 record shows the pain and distance to cover.
Coach: Steve Pener
Last year: 7-9, Class S Qualifying Round
Key losses: Keith Harvey; Jeremy Stiewing; Cameron Gilson; Matt Orrell; Kenny Weaver.
Key Returners: Jason Diamond, jr; James Bentley, jr; William Hurley, soph; Finn Bambery, soph; Evan Wilkinson, soph; Erin Bushey, soph.
Outlook: A successful ice hockey season segues into lacrosse for many of the Mountaineers. Last year’s youth is still young, but presumably better.
Coach: Spike Magyar
Last year: 12-4, Class S first round, 8-7 loss to Lewis Mills
Key losses: Elana Studer; Heather Kearns; Justine Logan; Jill Cannon; Hailey Nelson; Ana Horowitz; Molly Wood; Kelly Sprague; Emily Demazza.
Key returners: Lauren Wilks, jr; Amanda Jacquier, soph; Tuba Shah, sr; Maddie Sheldon, soph; Grace Lancto, soph; Kayla Soule, sr; Dayley Dozlowsk, sr; Hanna Schwetschenko, sr.
Outlook: The Mountaineers graduated some big players.
Coach: Patrick Schmitt
Last year: 17-1, Class S second round
Key losses: Patrick Goulet; Erik Voket; Gregory Osanitsch; Ben Kelley; Max Stone; Dan Rinkus; Philip Burzynski; Trevor Watts; Connor McNaboe; Jacob Magnoli; David Borovsky; Cameron McHale; Griffin Hayes.
Key Returners: Casey Ciemniewski, sr; Cameron Greenwood, sr; John Keegan, soph; Connor Kennedy, jr; Vasilios Katehis, sr.
Outlook: The Spartans graduated a ton of seniors from an undefeated regular season. Lots of younger talent is waiting to make their marks.
Coach: Dee Stephan, 1st year (25th year overall Canton/Ethel Walker/Avon)
Last year: 13-8; League Tournament Champions; Class S second round.
Key losses: nine seniors graduated, including All-League attacker Hope Woods.
Key returners: Andreah Stone, jr. D; Jillian Keegan, jr. M; Nicole Crockett, soph. M.
Outlook: Coach Stephan has 40 girls out for the team. The winning attitude and willingness to try new things has the veteran coach convinced her team can make a deep run in the state tournament.
Coach: Jeff Porter, 1st year.
Last year: 1-12.
Key losses: Four to graduation; one to injury; three to school transfer; one to switching sports.
Key returners: John Kilbourn, sr. M; Riley McAlpine, sr. M; Patrick Noonan, sr. D; J.P. Orsini, sr. M; Sean Scanlon, sr. M; Andrew Shepherd, sr. attack; Logan King, jr. D; Max Loomis, soph. M; James Mulvehill, soph. D; Ben Porer, soph. attack; Liam Sullivan, soph. G.
Newcomers: Thomas Battiste, soph; Spencer Musselman, soph; Cody Palmer, soph. D; Daniel Russell, soph. attack; Noah Sessions, soph. G; Mark Sniffen, soph. D; Quentin Copeland, fresh; Gio Micanovic, fresh; Matthew Perry, fresh. M; Adam Tillmann, fresh. D.
Outlook: Large roster should help improvement.
Teams to beat: Lewis Mills, Holy Cross, Watertown.