What better way to begin the season, than with a home win?
How about a win before the home crowd against a nationally-ranked team?
That’s exactly what the Brunswick School lacrosse team accomplished Tuesday against Georgetown Prep in an early season matchup involving a pair of national powers.
Ranked No. 3 in the 2022 Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power Rankings, Brunswick started its season in style, posting an impressive 12-7 victory over Georgetown Prep at chilly Cosby Field.
“I think we’ve got a lot to build on from this win,” Brunswick coach David Bruce said. “Georgetown Prep is a really good, seasoned team, they’ve already played eight games, so I’m really proud of how our guys played and performed. To beat a team like Georgetown Prep is pretty impressive.”
The game marked the first of what should be numerous impressive wins for the Bruins, who have 17 players on their roster that will play lacrosse at the collegiate level. A season ago, Brunswick earned a record of 14-3 and finished its 2021 campaign ranked fourth in the nation. With a strong nucleus of athletes returning from last spring’s highly successful squad, the Bruins have once again, set the bar high for themselves.
“Our potential is insane and our expectations are high – to the moon,” Brunswick senior long stick midfielder/tri-captain Will Donovan said. “We have so many weapons and so much depth, with younger guys, junior and seniors. I think this is a really special team, because we’re starting to build that chemistry.”
Brunswick boasts a successful tradition since joining the New England West 1 Conference in 2006. They have won the ultra-competitive conference three times (2014, 2017, 2018) and have notched top-four finishes in the conference each season since 2009. Bruce has amassed a coaching record of 187-56 (including Tuesday’s win) since taking over the helm in 2006 and the Bruins have finished among the top-10 in the national rankings six times during his tenure.
Besides playing their usual tough New England West Division I opponents, Brunswick will face nationally-ranked non-conference teams, one of which they defeated on Tuesday in the form of Georgetown Prep, which was ranked ninth in the Inside Lacrosse national rankings entering the game.
“We’ve got a great schedule, a great group of guys who are still working to become that team,” Bruce said. “They’re really tight, they like each other, they trust each other and that’s a good way to start any season.”
In Tuesday’s season-opening triumph, junior attackman Will Coale made quite a debut for the Bruins. Coale produced a game-high five goals in his first game for Brunswick to spark the winning effort.
“Will Coale had one of the best games I’ve every seen anyone have,” Bruins senior attack/tri-captain Henry Caponiti said. “He’s going to be a big part in our success this year.”
Senior midfielder Leo Hoffman recorded a hat trick, while senior midfielder Will O’Connor, sophomore attack Casey Quinson, sophomore midfielder Hudson Hausmann and senior midfielder Owen Guest tallied one goal apiece for the victors.
The Bruins brought an 8-4 lead into the fourth quarter, then increased their advantage on Georgetown Prep when Quinson scored off a dodge 52 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Coale tallied in transition at the 8:29 mark, then scored again with 6:19 remaining in the fourth quarter, making it 11-7. Senior goalie/tri-captain Luke Schlank was stellar in goal, making 13 saves for the Bruins.
“It means a lot to be a captain of this team,” Schlank said. “We’re just building off last year. We’re a really tight team it feels good to get the first win under our belt. They were a tough team, but our defense held them off.”
“Defensively, we played great, 6-on-6 defense, maybe we gave up one or two goals,” Bruce said. “Mistakes by us in transition led to their goals. Schlank played terrific.”
Caponiti, who will continue his lacrosse career at Georgetown University, will be relied upon to help lead the Bruins’ attackmen. As was the case Tuesday, Coale should spark the attack unit, along with junior Jackson Wolfram (committed to Brown, working his way back from an injury). Sophomores Payton Anderson and Casey Quinson are among some of the attackmen who should ignite the Bruins’ offense.
Guest, who will play at Harvard next season and senior Michigan-bound Will O’Connor, are defensive midfielders, while junior Tomas Delgado (committed to Duke) and Hoffman (committed to the University of Pennsylvania) should help set the pace at midfield. Senior Charlie Johnson, who will take his lacrosse skills to Duke, plays close defense and Will Donovan, who is headed to Notre Dame, is one of the squad’s key long stick midfielders.
Junior Hunter Spiess (Princeton) and junior Luke Michalik (Yale) are among some of the key defenders supporting Schlank (Georgetown) in goal.
“It goes beyond the starting four we have so much depth on defense, juniors and seniors,” Schlank said. “I trust the guys in front of me they make my job easier. We know we can go out there with anyone.”
Junior Andrew Greenspan, a Notre Dame commit, takes the faceoffs for the Bruins, who travel to rival Deerfield Academy on Saturday, then host Kent School on April 6.
“I feel good about this game, we got the first game jitters out of the way,” Caponiti said. “We were all fired up to play our first game of the season and we’re looking to move forward in the season against a good team. We have a game against a tough Deerfield team on Saturday.”
Seeing Caponiti back on the field is a pleasant site, after he had to train and undergo months of rehabilitation to return from a knee injury.
“It feels amazing to be healthy and back on the field with all my friends and just representing the school and alumni that played,” said Caponiti, who also served as one of the captains of the Bruins’ basketball team.”
“We have the talent, we just have to build that chemistry,” said Will Donovan, whose brother, Andrew, a junior midfielder, has also committed to Notre Dame. “Today, we were a little sloppy, we had a few mistakes in there, but it was a good start and we’re going to get better every game. We want to come together as one unit.”
Some of the Bruins’ home games include matchups against Loomis Chaffee (April 9), The Hill Academy (April 13), Hotchkiss School (April 23), Darien (May 5) and Avon Old Farms (May 11).
“The wins will come, but our goal is to play unselfish team lacrosse,” Bruce said. “We’ve got a lot of all-stars and we have to share the ball and share the spotlight.”