The seniors who’ve been with the Warwick Vets boys’ lacrosse team since their freshman seasons have seen it all. When they joined the program, it was in just its second year of existence – and they lived through a second straight winless season. The next year, they were part of the team’s first victories, which ultimately led to a winning season. Last year, they took center stage in what could have been a rebuilding year, won five games and nearly made it to the Division III semifinals.
The ’Canes are hoping this year is really their time to shine. All but four contributors return from last season, and they’re ready to deliver.
“Expectations are very high,” said head coach Fred Schweizer. “We’ve got almost everybody coming back. I always have high expectations, but this being my fourth year, some of these kids have been with me since they were freshmen. They know me and they know how I do things. It’s working out well.”
The optimism is fueled in part by last year’s performance. The ’Canes had to replace a good chunk of their lineup from the year before – and many of the players who’d been lost were the program’s pioneers. With just a handful of seniors, there were some bumps in the road, but the team held its own and lost its first-round playoff game by a single goal.
“We didn’t know what to expect last year,” Schweizer said. “I was pleasantly surprised with the strides they made. They learned a lot and now they’re building on that. They have expectations which are just as high as mine.”
The ’Canes will have some level of experience at every spot on the field this season, a far cry from last year.
It starts in net, where goalie Kyle Corvese is back for his fourth year as the starter.
“That’s huge,” Schweizer said. “His experience and how familiar he is with everything is big for us. He’s come a long way as a goalie and as a communicator. He’s the leader of the defensive corps.”
Corvese is serving as a captain, along with seniors John McNally and Will Hay. McNally will join Corvese in the back as a defender and he brings the same type of leadership to the table.
“Kyle and John work so well together,” Schweizer said. “Having those two back there running the defense, guiding the other players really makes a huge difference for us.”
McNally, senior Tyler Moran and junior Quentin Nason will handle the bulk of the defensive duties after doing the same last season.
Hay, another four-year player, will lead the charge in the midfield. A host of others return, as well, including seniors Steve Zaroogian and T.J. Zincone, junior John Flynn, and sophomores Chris DeFreitas and Mickenzey Pacheco. Newcomers Max Andrade and Dylan Robert are also poised to contribute. Up front, seniors Nate Brotman, Shawn Goff and Cody Sullivan are back to lead the attack.
And the experience is already showing.
“Their strength is how well they communicate,” Schweizer said. “I haven’t had a team that communicates as well as they do.”
The ’Canes also seem to have the right focus.
“We’re working on the basics,” Schweizer said. “I’ve always been a fundamentals guy – ground balls and being patient on offense and defense. We want to allow the other team to make mistakes and then capitalize.”
Now it’s about making good on the potential. The ’Canes have been on the field for a few scrimmages and they’ll open the season next Monday with a 3:45 p.m. game at Coventry.
They can’t wait.
“Their desire and their drive is great,” Schweizer said. “It’s fun to see the electricity on the field. They’re chomping at the bit to get out there.”