Boys Lacrosse preview capsules
Coach: Brandon Asplundh, first year
Last season: 19-3
Returners: Daivon Clement, Sr., D; Niko Santore, Sr., D; Mike McCormack, Jr., Att.
First-year Mount Greylock coach Brandon Asplundh takes the reins of the Mountie program after former head coach Jeff Stripp stepped down before the season. Asplundh brings more of an offensive approach to the game, which is fitting because the Mounties are loaded on defense; returning all their defensive starters including Clement and Santore in the defensive half.
McCormack will look to build off a strong season at attacker. He's stepping up to replace his brother Brett McCormack.
Overall, Asplundh said he plans to continue the momentum started by Stripp, and return to the Western Mass. tournament.
"I'm already seeing great things from the guys," he said. "[They're] doing the right thing in the classroom. Winning the right way and doing the right things off the field."
Coach: Rob Leary, second year
Last season: 0-14
Returners: Jack Vickery, Soph., M; Trent Pfeiffer, Jr., M; Sam Capeless, Soph., D.
Heading into their second varsity season, the Spartans hope to build on strides made in 2013. The Spartans return all but one player from last year's team, but will still be heavy with underclassmen.
The team will be without junior Mike Basile due to a torn ACL, but will look for Pfeiffer and Vickery to pick up the slack in the midfield.
While the team is still developing, Leary said chemistry is a strong point of his team. He added that with a strong team dynamic, added maturity and strength from his players, improvement is possible.
"We're looking to build off the positives from last year and break into the win column," Leary said. "The players have developed and improved. ... They've come a long way and hope to make a name for Monument lacrosse."
Coach: Scott Aitken, fifth year
Last season: 12-7
Returners: Alex Teichert, Sr., Att; Brenden Leary, Jr., M; Andy Wright, Sr., M; Jake Martin, Soph., D.
Pittsfield is looking to build off last season's Western Mass. tournament berth and continue moving the program forward.
The Generals return experience at every level, but will be without attacker Dan Tagliaferro. The senior suffered a knee injury and will miss the season. In his place, look for senior Jack Salatino and sophomore Ryan Jacoby to fill in.
Overall, Aitken said he likes the mix of returning players and newcomers, such as sophomore goalie Nikolai Pixley, freshman midfielder David Charland and senior defenseman Luke Fitch. He said the newcomers have pushed the veterans to up their competitiveness and created a battle for spots on the field.
With several new players on the team, Aitken said he's stressing the importance of fundamentals to his players.
"These kids have experienced Western Mass. and hope to have a better showing," he said. "They're excited to get another taste of [Western Mass]."
Coach: Ben Kline, third year
Last season: 9-9
Returners: Sam Thomason, Sr., Att; Brendan Faas, Jr., M; Wyatt Porter, Sr., G; Cody O'Dowd, Sr., Att.
The Crusaders return a lot of experience to a team that made the Western Mass. tournament last season.
On attack, the Crusaders return a majority of their goal scorers, led by Thomason and O'Dowd. Thomason enters his third year as a starter, and his first season as a captain. Kline expects a strong season from him.
On defense, Kline said players are adjusting to new roles and positions on the field. He said the veterans have really stepped up to help the new players as well.
Look for first-year starters Chris Gajda, Nick Lincoln and Drew Grady to contribute at various spots on the field.
Overall, Kline said his co-op team of St. Joe and McCann Tech players are beginning to gel nicely.
"We were the last team into Western Mass [last season]," he said. "[We] plan on having a winning year, getting back to Western Mass. and improving our seed."
Coach: Bill O'Brien-Garvey, third year
Last season: 6-12
Returners: Dylan Moody, Sr., D; Mike Perkett, Sr., M; Nick Pomeroy, Sr., M.
The Braves are led by three-year captain Moody. He moves to defense from the midfield, where Perkett and Pomeroy look to solidify that part of the field.
O'Brien-Garvey said he's pleased with how the returning players have incorporated the newcomers on the team, but with several first-time players, fundamentals and perfecting the catch and throw will be critical. The coach added that he expects a freshman or two to step up and became a key contributor, after receiving strong seasons from sophomores Kevyn Harris and Brad Cobb.
O'Brien-Garvey said finishing out games is one of the main focuses heading into the season.
"We had times last year where we had teams down and let them come back," he said. "[We] have to find consistency and we'll be OK. ... Consistency and discipline."
Coach: John Duval, third year
Last season: 8-9
Returners: Stephin Wallace, Sr., Att; Connor Chaput, Sr., M; Ryan Bartlett, Sr., G.
Hoosac Valley returns experience at each level to a unit that missed the playoffs by one game last season.
Heading into the season, Duval said he's pleased with the work ethic and positive attitude of his players. Two of the players the Hurricanes will look to for leadership will be senior captains Chaput and Wallace.
Wallace leads the attack for the Hurricanes, and is one of the team's top returning goal scorers. Chaput returns to the midfield for Hoosac, and Duval said he's pleased with the work Chaput put in to get stronger in the offseason.
Also returning is goalie Bartlett. He is entering his second season playing lacrosse, and should continue to show improvement.
Duval said one area of concern for his team will be depth. Because of this concern, Duval said he plans to have his team in top condition, allowing his team to finish games strong.
Look for players such as junior attack/midfielder Josh Giron, defenders Kyle Clairmont and Tom Jayko, and senior midfielder Jimmy Howe to provide depth for the Hurricanes. Also, freshman Cam Alibozek will get some time in goal as well.
"The overall goal is the league championship and working toward Western Mass.," Duval said. "[We] missed it by one game last year, and we'll take it one game at a time, put it together and have a competitive team."
Coach: Zach Sondrini, first year
Last season: 8-9
Returners: Quinn Caesar, Jr., M; Curran Doyle, Sr., D; Connor Van Dyke, Sr., D.; Lucas Charland, Sr., Att; Roger Stedman, Sr., G.; Sean Rice, Jr., D.
The Warriors return an experienced core (21 total upperclassmen) to a team that made the Western Mass. tournament last season. Early on, first-year coach Sondrini is trying to become familiar with his players, and figure out the best place to put them to be successful.
On offense, Caesar returns as one of the top-scoring midfielders in the county. Caesar, along with Charland, should provide plenty of offense for the Warriors.
On defense, Sondrini said he's working to improve in all areas, but added that the fundamentals for both units are very high.
In goal, the Warriors return Stedman, fresh off a Western Mass. championship as goalie for the Wahconah hockey team. Also, look for Curran Pularo and Matt Salvatore to add depth to the attack unit.
"With the upperclassmen returning, we should do pretty well," Sondrini said. "[We're] really strong on both sides and have a lot of leaders."
Coach: Mike Snyder, second year
Last season: 4-10
Returners: Cav Wolski, Sr., M; Cam Forrest, Sr., G; Tom Toomey, Sr., M.
Snyder and the Wildcats hope to reverse last year's record and contend with the top teams in the county.
It starts on defense, as senior goalie Forrest looks to solidify the back end. Snyder said Forrest is not the most vocal player on defense, but he's instrumental in getting the defense to play together.
On offense, the team is led by senior midfielder Wolski. Snyder calls him a workhorse on offense, and a real student of the game. He added that Wolski is a solid all-around player. Also, look for Jake Brunell and Adam Finnegan to provide depth on defense and offense, respectively.
Overall, Snyder said he wants to continue to improve team chemistry, improve at every position and stress solid fundamentals from his players.
"Our main goal is to take the county," he said. "We're looking to be one of top teams in the county."
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.