Bulldogs lacrosse shooting high

MANCHESTER - The Burr and Burton varsity boys lacrosse team is used to success. After three Div. II state championships in the past five years and a disappointing semi-final loss to end last season, the Bulldogs want to return to the top.

"States, obviously, states [is our goal]," said junior Kyle Mackenzie. "This year, with our young team, I think we're looking pretty good."

This year's team will have a different look, after graduating 12 players and saying goodbye to two players through transfers, BBA will be a very young squad, with 19 juniors and only three seniors. But last year's junior varsity went undefeated, which bodes well for the players making the jump to varsity this year.

"I'm expecting us to work to improve," said BBA head coach Wil Mackey. "I'm expecting some of those juniors who had experience last year to now improve their level of play and let that be an example to some of the younger guys."

Last year, BBA struggled during the regular season, ending with a 7-8 record. After capturing a state title in 2009, Burr and Burton entered the 2010 playoffs as the seventh seed, but the team found their game in the postseason. After beating Middlebury in the first round, the Bulldogs upset No. 2 Randolph to move into the semi-finals, where they fell to Rice. Despite the struggles in the regular season, the postseason exit was a disappointment and Mackey hopes to improve on that finish.

"I like us to improve our competiveness and our desire to compete, day in and day out," said Mackey. "I think we have the skill, so if we can do that, compete every minute of every game, we will give ourselves a good chance to be successful."

In goal, the Bulldogs will look to senior Tyler Gaudette. The team looks to get solid performances in net, with the team's experience coming in the most vital position.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs are big, with a lot of size. They will look to Max O'Leary and Ben Hunter to step up their games this season. Hunter and O'Leary are the only two returning varsity defenders, with junior varsity players Bernie Schwartz, Quinn Herbert and Justin Bowen looking to make an impact.

The midfield also took a bit of a hit, with a large portion of the varsity starters gone due to graduation, but Mackenzie and Brendan Murray return and they should get some help from speedy Jake Coyle and a large number of JV midfielders who will make the jump this year.

"We have good numbers and some talented athletes," said Mackey. "We are going to have to work on the team aspect of defense, but I think we'll come together."

Offensively, Mackey will look to players like Max Johnson and Billy Bazyk to step forward and bear the offensive load. Attack is the other area where BBA still carries some experience, with seniors Mike McNally and Anthony White up front. Johnson, a junior, will be expected to lead the scoring push along with Bazyk, but the offense is mostly still intact from last year's squad.

"There's always room for improvement, but we have some skill and some talent up front," said Mackey.

The Bulldogs will open the season on Tuesday, April 5, when they take on Mount St. Joseph's at 4:30 p.m. at the Burr and Burton campus.

"[Our goals are] to improve each day and win our first game," said Mackey.


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