GHS seniors Gregory Perry (left) and Jared Mozeleski (right) will help lead boys lacrosse this spring
Glastonbury boys’ lacrosse kicked off the spring season with a loss at Wilton on April 10.
It was the program’s first official game in 682 days, dating back to the Class L tournament when the same Warriors program from Wilton eliminated them on May 29, 2019.
“We went back to the basics, knowing that there is a whole year of lacrosse lost,” said head coach Scott Hinchey, who is relearning most of the roster, “We’ve been trying to be patient and make sure we’re teaching the little things more. This year is totally different, we have three players that have played varsity in the past, so we really have to teach the little things and we’re filling roles and trying to teach lessons along the way.”
Senior Gregory Perry and Jared Mozeleski are two of those players with varsity experience, playing supporting roles as sophomores in 2019.
“Everyone here has been biting at the bit, just waiting to get back out here. Not only knowing we get the chance to play, but to play for something and play for a state championship is definitely special, especially for our senior year,” said Perry.
Mozeleski added, “I was really pumped to get back out here and lead the younger guys our senior year. We can go out on a high note and at least have a full season. We were really excited.”
Two years after debuting on varsity, the pair are now in leadership roles for a Guardians squad that is small in roster size but deep in talent.
“Last year we had around 33 guys, we were kind of deep. This year we don’t have that same experience and we have a lot of younger guys,” stated Perry, “It’s just about everybody understanding and buying into their roles. We just have to do our job. If we can do that we’ll be successful.”
The long wait in between action centered around the COVID-19 pandemic and the complete shutdown of high school sports, which started less than a month before the 2020 lacrosse season was set to begin.
Mozeleski, who is a year-round lacrosse player, was forced to sharpen skills on his own, “For me personally, I was shooting out on the wall in my back yard, just trying to get reps and practicing. Obviously we couldn’t get the team together during quarantine but it was important to do it on your own and get the reps in, whether it’s the gym or the wall.”
Summer and club leagues allowed the players to knock the rust off, but bonding between the current team will have to happened on the fly for a group that hasn’t been together since before the Tiger King was a thing.
“Our seniors have set that tone and provided that leadership. They definitely have the urgency of knowing that it’s their year to contribute,” said Hinchey, who is has been part of the program since 2005 and in his eighth season as head coach.
“They’re also buying into the right role on the team,” he added, “We also have some talented younger players, so certain seniors need to know that my role may not be a starting role, it could be a secondary role that they can do well. It’s more of a quieter class, that’s their personality, but they’re growing into that leadership.”
Prior to the season opener in Wilton, the team played a physical, intense scrimmage against Guilford.
Hinchey could see the progression of the team in real time, evidenced by a rough start followed by a solid finish, “We made some selfish plays and didn’t try and find the open guy as much as we should have, but we grew from that and rallied late and started doing that. Our last four or five goals came off nice assists, and that what we like to see. Early in the game we were forcing it a little too much and that’s part of being young. I thought we turned some of those negatives into positives.”
Hinchey added that the team’s primary goal is to embrace the opportunity this spring and, as always, aim for a conference title, “Every day is a blessing that we can get out here and play. The coaches are happy to be out here and so are the players. Win or lose, we’ll get better.”
The loss to Wilton, a 14-6 defeat, was a good measuring stick for a Guardians team that faces an extremely competitive early-season schedule.
Cole Wallace scored two goals and dished out an assist, while Matt Harding added two more goals in the opener.
Kayden Hinchey tacked on a goal and an assist, Colin Hersom had a goal, and Josh Heaney and Holden Conroy each tallied an assist.
Senior Graham McLaughlin and junior Ryan Bell each took turns in goals. McLaughlin got the start and Bell took over in the second half.
“They both have different skill sets,” Hinchey said of his rotating goalies, “They’re both solid and in the mix. That’s one position that I think we have a lot of strength.”
It has been a brutal last 13 months for all high school athletes, so the seniors want to make the most of this opportunity.
“It’s been definitely a roller coaster. I play football too, so we had to go through that, not knowing if we had a season or not,” stated Perry, “A lot of sports around the country have been going through that so it’s definitely a great feeling to be back out here. Just being able to turn the page, we just have to make the most of what we have right now.”
“Our goal is to lead the team with the highest intensity that we can and obviously win conference,” added Mozeleski, who is helping captain the defense, “We’ll see what happens in late-May, early-June. We just have to play to the best of our ability.”
The Guardians rebounded from the season-opening loss, picking up win #1 with a 15-4 victory over Hall on Monday.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin