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Featured Multimedia: Game primer for 2017 Staples boys’ lacrosse opener


By Cooper Boardman

Staples Boys’ Lacrosse Head Coach Paul McNulty on his 2017 team. The Wreckers open their season tomorrow at 11 a.m. versus Bronxville (NY).



TOUGH TO SAY GOODBYE: Staples lost 41 percent of its offense, entire defensive back line and starting goalie to graduation. The team had 11 commits, a program record, but all but four have moved on to the next level. Michael Reale ’16 (Richmond), Connor Chamberlin ’16 (Monmouth), Matt Johnson’16 (Coast Guard), Josh Willis’16 (Union), Ross Goldberg’16 (Colorado College), Sam Ahlgrim ’16 (Marist) are all gone. Reale and Chamberlin were the team’s two leading goal scorers, Reale and Goldberg were the top three assist leaders, Willis and Schwaeber paced the team as the top two ground ball leaders and goalie Peter Burger—now playing club lacrosse at George Washington—saved 61 percent of shots he faced while Schwaeber won 64 percent of faceoffs.

RECORD SETTING YEAR: Staples won its first ever FCIAC playoff game over rival Greenwich at home, 13-8 last May, which McNulty called “a program win for us”. The team also sent 11 players to the next level, 12 if including Peter Burger ’16 who is playing club lacrosse at George Washington.

WHO WILL STEP UP?: The core of Syracuse bound Tanner Wood ’17 and Johns Hopkins commit Evan Zinn ’17 will bolster the Wrecker squad in 2017—the pair has combined for 93 goals over the last two seasons, including a combined seven goals and three assists in last year’s FCIAC quarterfinal victory over Greenwich.

OUT OF STATE, IN THEIR COMFORT ZONE: Staples is 6-0 against out of state opponents since the beginning of the 2015 season, with the team’s last loss coming in April of 2014 to Fox Lane (NY).

CREAM OF THE CROP: The schools Staples players are committed to are having extremely successful seasons in 2017—four of the teams represented on the Wreckers’ roster are represented in the national top 20 rankings, two of which are in the top ten.

AGAINST THE BEST: The Wreckers went 4-4 against opponents that qualified for the FCIAC playoffs last season, including two victories over (4) Greenwich and a win against (2) Ridgefield.

FCIAC DOMINANCE: The FCIAC boasted five teams that all cracked the top 25 in the national rankings at some point during the 2016 season—Staples, Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield and Greenwich all made it into the poll, and Darien finished as the number two team in America in the final national rankings. FCIAC teams won two of the state’s three state championships, the league’s squads made up six of the eight Class L quarterfinal teams and half of the semifinal teams. Of the seven FCIAC teams in the Class L state tournament, only two lost to non-league opponents.


LAST YEAR RESULT:  The Broncos fell to Pleasantville (NY) in the Section 1 Class C Final, 4-3 in double overtime.

MEET THE BRONCOS: The team went 11-9 last season and returns eight of its ten starters. With two players playing at the D-I level next season, Bronxville boasts a strong core group of upperclassmen, and Head Coach Tim Horgan believes leadership and experience should pay dividends in close games.

CONCERNS: The team’s depth is an issue—there are just five seniors on the roster.

VERSUS CT: The Broncos are 2-1 versus Connecticut opponents and 1-1 versus FCIAC opponents since 2014. Bronxville defeated Greenwich 14-4 in 2015 but lost to the Cardinals 7-4 in 2014.

EXCELLENCE: Bronxville has won four Class C titles in five years and won the New York State Class C state championship for the first time in program history in 2014. The team’s two stars—Ara Atayan ’17 and Zach Swartz ’17—were on that team as freshmen..

ATAYAN ATTACK: Ara Atayan leads the Bronxville offense this season as an upperclass attackman. He will play collegiately for the defending national champions at the University of North Carolina, and the senior—who notched three goals against Fox Lane (NY) on Thurs.—was actually the first player in his 2017 class to announce a commitment back in 2014.

THE NEXT LEVEL: The Broncos had four college bound players that graduated from last year’s squad, including Reilly Walsh ’16 (Duke) and Andrew Harwood ’16 (Colorado College).


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