This spring marked a season of learning and building for the Greenwich Country Day School boys lacrosse team, which recently concluded its inaugural season as a varsity squad in the Fairchester Athletic Association.
And the Greenwich Country Day team indeed, learned plenty, built up its team chemistry and roster, and oh yes, had fun during the process.
“It was our first year and it was a lot of fun for all of us,” GCDS coach Andy Copelan said. “We had an unbelievable group of guys and families and we started creating a strong culture. We are a new high school in the midst of building both the boys and girls programs with young rosters. Our programs have great groups of kids.”
The Tigers were supposed to compete in the FAA last season at the varsity level, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the 2020 spring season. Therefore, the team tested their skills against their more experienced varsity level FAA foes for the first time this spring and they produced solid results.
Greenwich Country Day registered a record of 4-7 overall and placed fifth in the FAA boys lacrosse standings.
“We felt like we were really competitive, we were in most of our games,” said Copelan, whose team will return most of its roster next spring. “The school has high aspirations for their athletic programs and our foundation has been set. We had to start somewhere and we got off to a good start.”
The Tigers 2021 season began with a 14-10 season-opening loss in a game in which they showed their offensive potential. Following the loss, GCDS earned its first win of the season by posted a 15-11 victory against Kingswood-Oxford.
Also among Greenwich Country Day’s four victories was a 10-8 triumph against FAA opponent Rye Country Day School.
“Our team learned a lot and competed really hard,” Copelan said. “A couple of our losses were games where we lost by only a couple of goals, where we couldn’t close teams out. Then there were some games where we were overmatched physically, but I was impressed with our team’s willingness to step up each game and battle.”
Greenwich Country Day’s roster included one senior, several juniors, two eighth-graders and numerous freshmen. Sophomore Tito Miguens helped pace the Tigers play at the midfield position, while Charlie Benincasa, also a sophomore was one of the squad’s defensive standouts.
Eighth-graders Dylan Kellan and Griffin Flood helped spark the squad throughout the season, while freshman Kyle Short was the team’s leading point-scorer. Juniors Cooper Johnson and Ben Offit were among some of the team’s top midfielders and sophomore Jay Dercole helped ignite the offense at attack.
Copelan brings a wealth of knowledge to the lacrosse field. Prior to arriving at Greenwich Country Day School, he was the head coach of the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team from 2008 until 2019. He served as an assistant coach at Maryland (2006-2008) and was the head coach at Marist College (2004-2005). While playing lacrosse at Bucknell, Copelan played a pivotal role in the team winning four straight Patriot League championships and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2001.
Also employed in Greenwich Country Day’s Alumni and Development Office, Copelan is the head coach of the Waterdogs Lacrosse Club of the Premier Lacrosse League. The Waterdogs were an expansion team in 2020. Games in the Premier Lacrosse League begins soon and lasts until September. His wife, Caitlin, is the girls varsity lacrosse coach at GCDS.
“It’s all lacrosse all the time in family,” Andy Copelan chuckled.
Copelan’s coaching staff includes assistants Colin Dunster and Taylor Nissi. A 2010 Greenwich High School graduate, Dunster was an All-American and All-State midfielder for the Cardinals, before continuing his lacrosse career at Bryant College, where he became the school’s all-time leading scorer. He was drafted by the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse his senior season at Bryant.
Copelan is certainly optimistic about the future of the program, after the team set a solid foundation this spring.
“We had great feedback from the kids, parents and families,” he said. “We are in the process of building something special here.”