Bulldogs in sync heading into 2019 season
MANCHESTER — Last spring was a foundation-laying season for the Burr and Burton boys lacrosse team.
With BBA bringing in a new coach, Tom Grabher, and with many first-time varsity players getting acclimated to the high level of play, the Bulldogs used last season as one to grow and create a blueprint for how to move forward.
Following a 10-8 season, after which they only lost one senior to graduation, BBA is a tight-knit, confident group heading into the 2019 campaign.
"It's a real good group. There's a lot of energy and a lot of positive atmosphere gong on," Grabher said. "The issue of only having one senior last year helps us this year because we have a lot of returners, who have played and know each other. Everybody was getting use to each other."
"It's kind of like the honeymoon is over. They know me. We know them and they know each other better. We're just really excited for the season," Grabher added.
The lone offensive loss for the Bulldogs is a big one as Cam Hedberg was a constant offensive threat last season.
With that being said, there is plenty of strong attacking pieces for BBA to rely upon this year. Senior Jake Baker was a huge threat for the Bulldogs last season and he figures to be the main cog in the BBA attack this spring.
"It's great that we have him back for another year. He's a big, strong guy with a very nice skill set," Grabher said. "He's our go-to guy and our leader on offense."
Other offensive threats from the attack and the midfield include Ian Anglum, John Miceli, Teddy Mirenda, Egan Schmitt, Logan Morgan and Thomas Redmond, among others.
"They all got experience last year. They're coming back and they're a lot more comfortable to be able to shoulder some of that load," Grabher said.
In goal, senior Trevor Finaldi reprises his role as the last line of defense for BBA. Finaldi played his first year in goal last season and Grabher has seen major strides from the senior since taking on that role.
The Bulldogs are carrying another goalie, freshman Jack Morrison, who will back up Finaldi. BBA didn't have two guys to rely upon in goal last season, so they're happy to the have that luxury.
"It's nice to have that backup. It's nice to have that in practice too because it's a lot easier for drills," Grabher said.
In front of Finaldi, the Bulldogs bring back an experienced back line. Steven Schmitt, a Mount Saint Mary's signee, is the leader on the end of the field. Fellow seniors Conor Stauss, Ned Thompson and Olivier Cazaudumec, along with junior Michael Duddy, will be key pieces for BBA.
"[Steven] has really grown into a complete lacrosse player. He's the complement out there," Grabher said. "He's a senior with great poise and great athleticism. He's a leader on defense."
Along with Anglum, Morgan and Egan Schmitt, the midfield consists of Mark Carthy, Duncan Chamberlain, Justin Fusco and Matthew Kleckowski, who have all had experience at the varsity level.
With most of the team having played considerable varsity minutes, Grabher has seen a comfortability out of his players and that can only help once the games begin.
"The comfortability we see in the players leads to the confidence. The confidence is so much higher than it was last year, Grabher said. "They grew last year and developed that confidence, but they're bringing it back right at the start this time, which is nice to see."
For the Bulldogs, constant improvement is the goal. If they can improve day-by-day, the results will follow on the field.
"We know there are plenty of areas to improve on. We were very happy with the season last year, but we still felt we could go further," Grabher said. "We're setting the bar high and we want to keep getting better. We need to work hard to take it to the next level."
Roster: Ian Anglum, Jake Baker, Mark Carthy, Olivier Cazaudumec, Duncan Chamberlain, Michael Duddy, Emmett Edwards, Trevor Finaldi, Patrick Forstmann, Justin Fusco, Matthew Grabher, Matthew Kleckowski, John Miceli, Teddy Mirenda, Logan Morgan, Jack Morrison, Ryan Nolan, Thomas Redmond, Logan Sands, Egan Schmitt, Steven Schmitt, Ellery Stahler, Conor Stauss, Ned Thompson.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.