2023 Season Preview: Huntt to guide girls lacrosse in 2023
Jeremiah Huntt has assisted with the volleyball team and the girls basketball team this school year at Woodstock Academy.
Now, he gets to be in charge of his own program.
Huntt replaces Mikayla Jones as head coach of the Centaurs girls lacrosse team this spring.
“It’s a challenge and I look forward to challenges. I worked in athletics in college and worked a ton of lacrosse games and I always admired the sport and the people who play. It’s different than a bunch of other sports. It’s not easy to pick up so when you stick with it, you appreciate how far you can go and the skill you can gain. We have a lot of girls who are dedicated to the sport and I’m excited to see the energy that they will bring to the program,” Huntt said.
Whenever a new coach comes in, there is a little adjustment period, both on the coach and the player’s sides.
“He’s good, I’m excited to work with him and, hopefully, we will have a really good season with him,” said senior defensive player Lindsay Nuttall.
There is also a little familiarity, however, as some of the girls have worked with him in other sports.
“I worked with him a little in basketball and he’s just a great guy. He’s really good at connecting with us and making sure that we connect with each other,” senior midfielder Lennon Favreau said.
That may be a help for the coach, as well, as this is his first stint as a lacrosse head coach.
“He’s learning and trying really hard,” Favreau added. “He’s watching videos and is really trying to apply lacrosse to how he coaches. I think it’s really important that he makes an effort to learn the game because it is complicated and is difficult to understand at times.”
There are certainly no dearth of players.
Huntt had over 50 athletes come to tryouts for the girls lacrosse team.
But, while there may be familiarity with the coach, the game is another question especially considering its bevy of rules.
“A lot of the girls who try out, it’s their first time touching a stick. They have never watched it, never saw a game. There are a ton of rules so we have to go over what you can and can not do. A lot of people can pick up habits of playing the wrong way so we will have to break those habits and teach the technique, but I think after the first few weeks, we will have everything down and will be rolling,” Huntt said.
Huntt was a contributor to those numbers as he scoured the hallways, looking for athletes who may not have committed to a spring sport.
He brought in freshmen like Sydney Anderson, Vivian Bibeau, Gabby Brown, Kaylee Saucier and Avery Crescimanno.
“I was excited to get girls like that on the roster who have a competitive mindset, are fast, athletic and can pick up the sport well. If you can outrun someone, you’re going to be in a good position. We have a lot of speed and, hopefully, our seniors that are on defense are going to bring that up, too,” Huntt said.
Huntt is a firm believer that defense wins games, especially in girls lacrosse.
He will have experience in the back with seniors Rori Mackenzie, Bryn Miller, and Nuttall leading the way with junior Ava Hovestadt, and freshmen like Anderson and Bibeau coming in to play in front of sophomore goalie Abby Houle. Senior Lily Blair will also help both defensively and offensively.
“We definitely have to play well defensively, to keep the ball from going into the goal especially since the majority of the people we lost (to graduation) were offensive players,” Nuttall said.
Favreau will lead the midfield crew along with fellow seniors Joanna Lin and Gabby Couture. Senior Keynila Hochard, juniors Caroline Harris and Sophia Petrella and sophomores Haley Whitehouse, Kaelyn Tremblay and Abby Converse will all split time between midfield and attack.
Senior Hadley Grether, junior Piper Sabrowski, sophomores Abby Elliott, Maggie Marshall and freshmen Saucier and Crescimanno will be up front.
The Centaurs did lose their top two scorers, Stella Brin (31 points) and Shannon Gagnon (30), from last year’s 4-12 team.
Harris is the top returning scorer as she put the ball in the net 13 times last season. Favreau and Couture had three goals each while Whitehouse and Sabrowski had a pair.
“From what I’ve seen in tryouts, the seniors are ready to go out there, be aggressive and score. I’ve seen some good stuff in shoot arounds,” Huntt said.
A strength will be the team’s leadership which Huntt has relied on early.
“I think the leadership will be awesome,” Huntt said. “Taking over this program and now knowing a whole lot about lacrosse, I’ve been able to go to Lennon and to Lindsay and figure out what we’re doing and what the game plan will look like.”
Huntt said he’s buoyed a bit by the fact that both teams he has already been associated with this season, volleyball and basketball, went from not qualifying for the state tournament a year ago to making it this season and he hopes he will go three-for -three with the lacrosse team making it this spring after missing out a year ago.
“The goal is to get past 4-12, going .500 would be great, making States will be even better. I want to set a feasible bar where they can come into practice and measure themselves as to where we want to get to instead of just ‘Let’s get through the season.’ Anything is possible,” Huntt said.
Woodstock Academy opens its season on the road on Saturday at Norwich Free Academy at 11 a.m.