Boys lacrosse: Warriors banking on experience

With no shortage of experienced players, the Wilton High boys lacrosse team enters the 2015 season in much better shape than a year ago.

And the experience of last season — of missing out on the post-season — should provide plenty of motivation for the Warriors, who open today at Fairfield Warde.

“We’re coming off a difficult season. It’s not just having experience, but it’s learning from last year, and that experience motivates them,” said Head Coach John Wiseman.

Graduation took away several key players from last year’s 6-10 squad in attackman Brendan Devane (second-team all-state), and midfielders Will Garbus and Dan Baird. But for the most part the team is flush with returning starters.

On attack, Wilton will be led by seniors Michael Lynch, the leading scorer last year, and Charles McGovern, and junior Harrison Koch — all starters last year. Freshman Brian Calabrese could also work his way into the mix before the season ends.

“During the course of the season we’re going to try to work him into the fourth spot or a starting spot,” Wiseman said.

The first midfield line will feature junior Harrison Bardwell, one of Wilton’s top scoring middies last year. Senior Christian Hansson, who played attack last season, will move back to his natural midfield position, while senior Reid Melillo, another returning starter, is another top scorer from a year ago.

Another key returner in the midfield is junior FOGO R.J. Romeo, who will again give Wilton an advantage at the face-off X.

“He’s hopefully going to be there with some of the best guys the FCIAC will have,” Wiseman said.

The second midfield line will draw from what Wiseman called an interesting group of candidates. Returning senior Luke Rizzo and Ben Williams, junior John Maudsley, and sophomores Peter Koch and Harrison Winrow are among those in the mix.

At long stick middie, Wilton returns senior Michael Brown, one of the top poles in the FCIAC, according to Wiseman. Junior Michael McGroarty will also play LSM.

Senior Daniel Sullivan and junior Jared Gladstein will form a strong defensive midfield group, said the coach.

On close defense, the Warriors return their four-man rotation from last year in seniors John Dexter, Tyler Mirabile, Thomas Courtney and Mitchell Kauffman.

But Wiseman said other defenders are in the mix to break into the starting group — sophomore A.J. Hoffmann and junior Cory Macdonald among them.

“There’s going to be a lot of competition on defense,” said Wiseman. “I think defense could be interesting. We have a lot of depth there.”

In goal, the Warriors return last year’s starter, senior Jameson Hill, who will be backed up by junior Matt Brody.

Rounding out the roster are seniors T.J. Savvaides and Hayden von Hoffmann and junior Matthew Ravichandran.

While the schedule is again daunting, it is not as front-loaded with tough teams as in previous years, which should help the team develop, Wiseman said .

While having an experienced team is a plus, Wiseman said the recipe for success is the same.

“Experience won’t be an issue. It’s how do the guys come together as a team and played hard for each other and respect each other,” he said.

Notes: Bardwell and Brown were both honorable mention all-FCIAC last season.

The Warriors have three players committed to play Division I lacrosse: Brown (Brown University), Bardwell (Cornell) and Romeo (Providence).

Team captains this year are Hansson, Melillo, Dexter and Mirabile.