2019 boys lacrosse preview

Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 4/12/2019

2019 Preview: Familiarity may breed more success

 

It’s the second year for Woodstock Academy boys lacrosse coach Michael Noel.

That’s a good thing.

“We are motivated this year. They kind of know more how I work and how I want them to work. I think we’re ahead of the game,” Noel said. “I learned a ton last year about what kind of talent we have and I think we’re more athletic this year.”

Last year, the Centaurs doubled their win output of the year before and finished 6-10.

That was just one win away from securing a Class M state tournament berth.

It might be a little tougher this season.

Woodstock Academy was bumped up by the Eastern Connecticut Conference to Division I and will have to play the likes of East Lyme, Fitch, Norwich Free Academy and Waterford twice each.

“That was a little bit of a surprise,” Noel admitted. “I think we’re up for the challenge. We have some great returning players.”

The Centaurs lost only three starters from a year ago.

Ryan Wojciechowski, who finished with 21 goals and 9 assists, will be tough to replace in the midfield.

“He’s going to be missed with his scoring prowess and he was also a very good defender. Hopefully, his little brother (Alex) can step up and take his place,” Noel said.

The Centaurs also lost goalie Carson Hadley to graduation and defenseman Liam McDermott (9 goals, 7 assists) who opted to play golf this season.

A player new to Woodstock Academy, Colin Liscomb, will fill Hadley’s spot in front of the net.

“He transferred in this year and he’s pretty good at goalie,” senior Ethan Holcomb said. “Carson will definitely be missed, but Colin is pretty good”

The Centaurs still have some key pieces in place.

Last year’s leading scorer, Holcomb (25 goals, 18 assists), returns for his final year before heading to Keene State to play lacrosse at the Division III collegiate level.

“It’s definitely special,” Holcomb said of his final year in a Woodstock Academy uniform. “I played (lacrosse) from fourth through sixth or seventh grade, stopped, came back in my freshman year, found I liked it again, and now, I’m going to college to play.”

Holcomb returns in the middle along with sophomore Guerin Favreau (23 goals, 17 assists).

“Guerin and I can run, we found that out last year,” Holcomb said with a laugh. “Last year, he and I had pretty big scoring seasons and I think (Ethan) Haas (16 goals, 4 assists) will step up along with a few other attack men like Seth Libby (1 goal).”

If there is one place that Noel would like to see improvement, it would be up front.

“We were looking for more from our attack last year. We would like to be able to score from the bottom and from X and I think we have the talent to do that this year,” Noel said.

In addition to Favreau and Holcomb, Austen LeDonne (6 goals, 2 assists) and Sean McCusker (4 goals, 1 assist) will patrol the middle with Gabe Geyer as a long-stick middie.

“We are most athletic in the back,” said Noel. “We have Zach Douglas, Bailey Canedy, and Ryan LaTour, who I have high hopes for. I’m hoping these guys learned from last year that they have to keep their composure and not hurt the team. We need to make sure we’re playing solid defense with our feet and our sticks and not just hacking away.”

Will it all add up to, at least, one more win and a state tournament berth?

“I think we definitely have the potential to make the state tournament this year,” Noel said. “It’s always a goal. I’m liking us this year. I think we’re ready, even with being in ECC Division I, to take the next step.”