Brunswick’s boys’ lacrosse team was the best in the state a year ago, going undefeated and winning the program’s second Class A championship. Graduation took its toll, however, and the Dragons will have a lot of new faces this spring.
Junior Christian Glover is a key returner who will look to lead Brunswick deep into the playoffs once again.
A year ago, everything Brunswick’s boys’ lacrosse team touched turned to gold.
The Dragons beat the state’s two most storied powers, Cape Elizabeth (in an overtime epic) and Yarmouth, during an unblemished regular season, then capped a memorable playoff run by downing South Portland, 13-9, in the Class A state final, avenging a loss from the year before.
They scored a mind-boggling 278 goals in 16 games and surrendered only 98.
But while last year’s team was senior-laden, to say the least, the 2016 Dragons have the daunting task of nearly starting from scratch.
With that said, anyone writing them off might grow to regret it.
“This will be a true test for our program,” said Brunswick coach Don Glover, who enters his 19th season. “It’s a nice challenge coaching-wise. From adversity comes opportunity.”
Brunswick graduated 16 seniors from its championship team and three other players didn’t come out this spring. Among those who departed are reigning Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year and All-American Cam Glover and league all-stars Matt Brooks, Ezra Rogers, Ian Schlosser, T.J. Sullivan and Kyle Woodruff.
As a result, the Dragons are basically starting from scratch.
“We’ve been breaking it down and fine-tuning things,” Don Glover said. “We do have some really good athletes.”
This spring, Brunswick will be paced by returning league all-star, junior Christian Glover, one of the state’s best longstick middies, and senior goalie Logan Ouellette, who backed up Mitchell Smith a year ago.
Seniors Keenan Andrews and Cole Hillis and junior Josh Dorr saw limited time in 2015 and will play bigger roles this season.
Junior middie Ben Palizay is also expected to make an impact.
Other reinforcements are on the way as well.
“Players from JV have been eye-balling spots on varsity,” Glover said. “They’re blue collar grinders. The guys understand that we need to play good team defense and have fundamentals on offense. We have to stick to the basics. It’s a simple team approach. We need to be gritty, get ground balls and possess.”
If the personnel turnover wasn’t challenging enough, the schedule will make things even tougher.
Brunswick opened at home versus Edward Little Thursday and goes to rival Mt. Ararat Thursday of next week.
The Dragons have to battle the likes of Class A rivals Lewiston and Messalonskee and their crossover games will be even more challenging, as Class B South powers Kennebunk and Yarmouth await, as do Class B North contenders Maranacook and Morse.
Despite it all, Brunswick expects to be one of the top teams when all is said and done.
“We want to play our best in June,” Glover said. “We’ll get better each week. Our goal is the same as it’s been a long time. We want to win our conference championship and play in the last game of the season.
“We’ll miss last year’s group, I loved them, but this year’s group has something to prove.”