Newtown High School’s boys’ lacrosse team will rely on a mix of experienced veterans and improving players stepping up their games as they shoot for success in the South-West Conference and at the state level.
Fifth-year Coach Glenn Adams enters into the campaign with the same aspirations as always. “Our goals as a program have remained the same. We are going to work hard toward bringing home an SWC Championship and Class L state title,” he said.
Newtown was 10-8 overall a year ago, falling in the SWC quarterfinals to Weston and in the first round of states to Greenwich.
Key graduates who have left big shoes to fill are leading scorer Dan Hebert (64 points), who is now at Central Connecticut State University for football; starting goaltender Evan Isaacs (who stopped 60 percent of the shots he faced), now at Wesleyan University; and captain of the defense Jack Kearney (51 ground balls), now at Post University in Waterbury.
“We have a strong nucleus of players returning with varsity experience. We will look to strengthen what was an extremely effective defense for us last season,” said Adams, whose squad held opponents to six or fewer goals 11 times last spring.
The Nighthawks did put forth double-digit scoring performances eight times a year ago, but was also held to just a small handful of goals versus some of the toughest teams they encountered.
“Last season our offense struggled with our lack of experience. This year we will look to reload and add some more offensive firepower,” Adams said.
Newtown is led by captains Alec Beauchemin and Cameron Partrick. Beauchemin, a midfielder, logged 40 points last season, and Partrick, a defender, scooped 18 grounders.
Other key players in the mix are: Jake Ball (attack, 45 points), Deegan Beauchemin (26 points), Chase Wurtz (short stick defensive midfielder, 14 groundballs), Matt Bouton (long stick midfielder, 27 groundballs), Doug Miller (defense, 20 groundballs), Nick Rubino (defense, 19 groundballs), and Jon Rospenda (new starting goalkeeper).
The Hawks will have to adjust to some variations of the way games are played now.
“There have been some rule changes to the high school game, the most significant one being the elimination of the sideline horn. We will look to make a quick adjustment to this rule and use it to our advantage by be able to play at a faster pace and keep other teams on their heels,” Adams said.
In the past, any time the ball went out of bounds along the sideline (not the endline) there was a horn that allowed free substitutions. With the sideline horn gone, all substitutions are on the fly now. There will be no stoppages of play for substitutions unless a penalty is called or a timeout, Adams explained.
The Nighthawks will begin the season on Friday, April 11, with a visit to New Fairfield for a 4 pm start. The home opener is set for Saturday, April 12, when New Milford visits Blue & Gold Stadium for a 4:30 pm contest.
Adams expects tough competition from conference foes New Fairfield, Weston, and Joel Barlow of Redding, as well as from nonconference teams Glastonbury and Staples of Westport — among the tough teams put on the schedule to challenge the Hawks as they make their run at the playoffs.