The Marblehead High boys lacrosse team ended up 12-4 last year to secure the Northeastern Conference title, earning them the 10th seed in the Division 2 playoffs. The Magicians then romped over Hopkinton, the 23rd seed, in the Round of 32, 15-3, before dropping a close 8-5 decision to host Minnechaug, the seventh seed, in a Sweet 16 game.
Veteran Marblehead coach John Wilkens anticipates another winning season with a good combination of veterans and underclassmen dotting the varsity roster. Tryouts for the season started on March 20, and Wilkens welcomed 50 hopefuls to practice. Of the 50 players, 12 of them are freshmen.
“The new guys added some extra spark to the program,” Wilkens said. “We also have experience in each position on the field, but we now have to figure out how it all gels together in games.”
The Magicians coach added, “They all want to improve and are hungry and fired up to do so.”
Juniors Drew Nelson, Eliot Pluss, Wilson Bullard and J.J. Pollender will pose a solid defensive formation in front of senior goalie Finn Maniaci. Maniaci returns after a sensational first year in the varsity net.
Maniaci is one of four captains on the team this year, along with Connor Cronin, Sam Annese and Carter Laramie.
Baxter Jennings, fresh off of winning the slalom in the state championship meet earlier this month and finishing second in the giant slalom, and Cronin, who recently announced on Twitter that he will be attending the Connecticut boarding school Avon Old Farms in the fall, will set the tone in the middle of the field this spring. Laramie will be joined by Charlie Grenier on the attack.
“If we just play our games, we will have a good chance of repeating as (NEC) champs,” said Wilkens. “Masco and Danvers gave us good games last year, and we expect more of the same from them this season.”
After scrimmaging Austin Prep at home on March 25, the Magicians will begin the brand-new campaign on Saturday, April 1, against visiting Winchester. The game starts at 11 a.m.
MHS boys lacrosse schedule
- Winchester, April 1, 11 a.m.
- At Wakefield, April 6, 4:30 p.m.
- At Beverly, April 10, 4 p.m.
- Swampscott, April 13, 4 p.m.
- At Peabody, April 17, 10 a.m.
- Danvers, April 19, 11 a.m.
- Masconomet, April 25, 4:30 p.m.
- Salem, April 27, 4 p.m.
- Beverly, May 1, 4 p.m.
- At Danvers, May 4, 4:30 p.m.
- At Gloucester, May 8, 4:30 p.m.
- Bedford (N.H.), May 10, 4:30 p.m.
- Peabody, May 11, 4:30 p.m.
- At Masconomet, May 15, 4 p.m.
- Winthrop, May 18, 4:30 p.m.
- At Lexington, May 20, 3 p.m.
- At Newburyport, May 23, 4:30 p.m.
- Melrose, May 26, 6 p.m.