Boys lacrosse: Veteran squad has talent across the board
There are some significant holes to fill, but the Wilton High boys lacrosse team looks very solid as it prepares to embark on the 2018 season.
The Warriors return all-state and all-FCIAC caliber players on every line, in addition to an all-American goalie.
Head coach John Wiseman said the new players coming onto the varsity team, and the returning players moving up into starting roles, will determine how far the team can go.
“We definitely have experience, so it’s really a matter of which of the guys coming in will fill the gaps and who will rise to the occasion,” said Wiseman.
Expectations are high as the team returns seven starters, starting FOGO Chris Sweeney (a senior) and several other players who saw significant minutes last year, when the Warriors came up just short of the Class L state finals with a 15-14 loss to Cheshire in the semifinals.
Wilton opens the season on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.) at home against Fairfield Warde.
At attack the Warriors graduated Kieran McGovern but return two multi-year standouts in junior Connor Drake (first-team all-state) and senior captain Brian Calabrese (second-team all-FCIAC). Junior Dean DiNanno will move into the starting lineup this season, and seniors Ryan McDermott and Alex Acosta-Rua will also vie for playing time on attack.
The midfield line returns senior captain Joe Murtha (second-team all-state), and two second-line middies from last year, both varsity veterans, will move up to the top line — seniors Zach Zeyher and Nolan Quinn. Junior Liam Sullivan will move from attack to midfield this season, and Wiseman is looking for contributions from three sophomores in Jack and Ryan Kaufman and Reilly Sullivan.
Wilton also returns senior defensive middie A.J. Pykosz, and will look for help from junior Andrew Luciano and senior Rich Tomasetti.
Despite graduating all-American defender A.J. Hoffman, the Warriors should be solid on the defensive end, as always. Sophomores Tyler Previte (all-FCIAC honorable mention) and Ryan Schriber (All-FCIAC East) enter their third season as starters on defense, while senior captain Joe Scarfi (All-FCIAC East) is a dynamic long-stick middie who can score. While the defense isn’t set yet, Wiseman said he will probably use a four-man rotation, with senior Ryan Ettie and juniors Drew Herlyn and Jake Stein in the mix for the third starting spot.
In goal, Andrew Calabrese returns for his third season as starter, after earning all-state and all-American honors last season.
Wilton boys lacrosse
Last season: 15-6
Post-season: lost to Darien in FCIAC semifinals, 17-3; lost to Cheshire in Class L semifinals, 15-14.
Captains: Joe Murtha, Joe Scarfi, Brian Calabrese.
Key losses: D A.J. Hoffman (All-American), M Peter Koch (second-team all-FCIAC), A Kieran McGovern (all-FCIAC East), M Liam Rance (all-FCIAC honorable mention), Harley Jeanty (all-FCIAC East), M Will Litton, M Jason Spaulding.
Top returners: junior G Andrew Calabrese (All-American), junior A Connor Drake (all-state), senior M Joe Murtha (all-state second team), senior A Brian Calabrese (all-FCIAC second team), junior D Ryan Schriber (all-FCIAC East), senior LSM Joe Scarfi (all-FCIAC East), junior D Tyler Previte (all-FCIAC honorable mention), senior M Zach Zeyher, senior FOGO Chris Sweeney.
Key newcomers: sophomore M Ryan Kaufman, sophomore M Jack Kaufman, sophomore M Reilly Sullivan.