Brunswick lacrosse surprising everyone

Brunswick School goaltender Tommy Heidt, a junior, looks to make the save during a recent game at Cosby Field. — Dan Burns photo

Brunswick School goaltender Tommy Heidt, a junior, looks to make the save during a recent game at Cosby Field. — Dan Burns photo

Head coach David Bruce and the rest of the Brunswick  lacrosse team have every reason to have a smile.

At the beginning of the season, Bruce had plenty of concerns, whether it was the new starting defense or the team’s question marks at the attack. However, those problems quickly vanished and now the Bruins are riding high.

Instead of gunning for a .500 record this season, the Bruins are once again eyeing a possible Western New England Division I title.

“This is a great season,” Bruce said. “We are a game or two over the midway point, but from where we started and knowing the youth and question marks that surrounded this team, I would say this is a lot better than expected. It’s not a complete shock, but we are certainly excited about where we are.”

The Brunswick lacrosse team has been rolling through its competition and it was only during its game against Lawrenceville that the Bruins picked up its first loss of the season, falling 9-6.

Despite the loss, Brunswick resumed play over the weekend and didn’t miss a beat. Competing in the Katie Sampson Tournament in Philadelphia, the Bruins were able to take double up The Hill School 14-7 and upend Penn Charter, 10-4.

“Coming off a tough loss to Lawrenceville, our first loss of the season, we had an incredible weekend in Philly,” senior captain Charlie Better said. “We bounced back and got two wins against two really strong programs. It was a great trip, just like every year, and it was great to come out with two victories.”

Against Hill, sophomore Marshall Dickson led the way, netting two goals and three assists, while junior Cam Stafford added a hat trick. Sophomore Jack Knight added two goals and one assists, while junior Blake Booker grabbed two goals. Fellow junior Alex Kelly was dominant at faceoffs, winning 14 of 18 on the day. In net, junior Tommy Heidt had seven saves.

A day later, Brunswick took on Penn Charter and Stafford once again helped the Bruins flex its muscle, picking up two goals and three assists. Booker netted a hat trick and Knight finished with two goals. Junior Jamie DeNaut also finished with two goals.

Again, Kelly was a force at the faceoff circle, winning 14 of the 17 faceoffs he competed in on the day. Heidt was yet again stellar in net and finished with seven saves.

With the two victories in Philadelphia, the Bruins upped its overall record to an impressive 8-1 on the season. And those victories weren’t against weak opponents. After beating Colorado powerhouse Kent Denver 7-5 to start the season, Brunswick hosted Deerfield Academy, one of the premier teams in the country, and came away with the 9-7 victory.

“To be honest, before the season started, we didn’t know kind of what we were working with and were hoping just to break .500,” Better said. “That’s a great record in our league. However to be 8-1 at this point of the season is definitely a testament to how hard we’ve worked so far and how well Coach Bruce has coached us to this point. The next five games will determine a New England championship and that’s our goal.”

In addition to those victories, Brunswick netted a tough 9-8 overtime victory against Taft School and three days later came back to take down Chatham, 7-5.

“It’s awesome here,” senior captain Peter Khoury said. “In our league, to string together as many wins as we did prior to our Lawrenceville loss, to be 8-1 overall and to beat Penn Charter and Deerfield is awesome. It’s really hard to put into words what a win against Deerfield or the overtime win against Taft felt like. We accomplished a lot this season, but it’s also important that the older guys on team make is really clear that we shouldn’t be satisfied with 8-1. We want to push for that championship.”

One of the main reasons for Brunswick’s success this season has been its ability to adapt to change.

Over the past few years, the Bruins have been a team that gets out and pressures the other team and tries to score a few in transition. This year Brunswick has been changing it up a bit.

“We still have scored a few in transition, mostly generated from our faceoff guys, but we are being more patient on offense and defense than we have been in the past,” Bruce said. “We are frustrating some of the other teams we play to take errand shots or have shorter possessions than they are used to having.”

“It’s been all about consistency,” Khoury said. “With a young team and a lot of inexperience, we needed to listen to Coach Bruce and take three to four minute possessions on offense to get stall warnings. That helps us get confidence and helps us get the best shot possible and not waste possession. Our defense has been great and Tommy Heidt has been light’s out in net.”

In addition to the change in the team’s style of play, a little friendly competition at practice doesn’t hurt as well.

“The guys who had to had to fight for their positions to get that playing role have done that, but they also remember fighting for that spot and know that guys are pretty close to them,” Bruce said. “We have some internal competition that keeps the guys pushing hard every day. It’s nice to have. Overall they are a poised, young team. They don’t get rattled very easily. It’s a fun group to be around and they are a smart group, so we could throw a lot at them and they’ll adjust pretty quickly.”

While the Bruins are on cloud nine with their season to date, don’t think for a second they are taking it for granted.

“It’s really exciting, but before every game we try and remind ourselves that we are the underdogs and we don’t forget where we were at the beginning of the season and how young we are,” Better said. “Every win is its own great success and it’s really something special to be a part of. The guys are showing up to practice every day and there’s really great chemistry on the team. Knowing that the odds are stacked up against us makes each win  special.”

While the Bruins won eight out of their first nine games to start the season, don’t expect the remainder of the season to be a sleeper. In fact, out of the seven remaining games as of press time, only one team has a below .500 record.

Yesterday Brunswick traveled up to perennial powers Choate, ranked fifth in New England. Results were unavailable at press time.

On Saturday Brunswick takes on Westminster School, ranked No. 7 in New England Division I lacrosse and a few days later the Bruins are still on the road when they travel to No. 4 ranked Avon Old Farms. On May 10, Brunswick finally returns home for a game under the lights at Cosby Field against second ranked Salisbury School

“The remainder of our games are now league play, so we don’t want to take any days off and feel too comfortable with the wins that we have had,” Bruce said. “We don’t want to lose to give us a little spark. We feel good about ourselves. That loss was to a non-league opponent and hopefully we can keep things going against the remainder of our league games. Everybody on this team has played over what was expected from them. They had to step up because of all the youth on the team and that’s exactly what they did.”

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress