Last season saw Greenwich High School’s boys lacrosse team win nine of its 10 FCIAC West Division games to capture the division title and produce an impressive overall regular season record of 11-4. In the postseason, however, the Cardinals drew two ultra-tough opponents in the form of a Ridgefield team that was peaking at the right time and longtime nemesis Fairfield Prep.
The Cardinals wound up losing to eventual FCIAC Tournament champion Ridgefield in the quarterfinal-round of the conference tourney, then was edged in a heartbreaker to Fairfield Prep in the first round of the CIAC Class LL Tournament, 9-8, – Prep proceeded to lose to Ridgefield in the tournament’s championship game.
Greenwich enters the rapidly approaching 2022 season with obviously, expectations of winning the FCIAC West Division title again, but it also, of course, wants to make a bigger mark in the FCIAC and state tournaments this spring.
“We talk about the three championships – FCIAC, states and Western Division,” said Greenwich coach Bobby Lutz, who is entering his seventh season at the helm. “The past three years have shown anyone can win it. There’s a lot of good teams in the FCIAC, so it’s about staying in the mix and peaking at the right time.”
“Our goals are to win the Western Division championship like last year, then win the FCIAC championship and state championship,” senior midfielder James Pilc said.
Like last season, the Cardinals have five senior captains, one of whom is Pilc, who also served as a captain on Greenwich’s basketball team this past winter. Pilc will be relied upon for leadership and producing goals at his midfield position.
“From the midfield, I will do a lot of inverting from behind the net this year,” Pilc said. “I did that a lot last year and that’s definitely a good part from our offense and dodging from up top, that’s obviously a key part.”
Lutz knows Pilc will be looked to for his playmaking abilities.
“James Pilc is so shifty,” Lutz said. “He can go by anybody.”
Senior midfielder/captain Flynn Milledge also brings leadership qualities and scoring ability to the team. Like Pilc, he was one of the Cardinals’ basketball captains.
“We’re super pumped, because we have a super talented offense,” Milledge said. “It should be a fun season. We definitely have a very young defense and we’re putting some work into practice – getting the zone, getting the man down. But as seniors, we really have to step up this year.”
Senior Bryce Metalios should once again, be relied upon to lead Greenwich’s group of attackmen. Metalios is coming off a season in which he registered a team-high 56 goals, while recording 17 assists.
“I’m going to try to do whatever the team needs me to do,” Metalios said. “Whether that be scoring goals, I played a lot of X last year. This year, I will try to play a lot more on the crease, trying to finish and take outside shots.”
“A lot of our captains are offensive guys, we have a lot of firepower,” Lutz said. “Bryce is the leading scorer from last year, he can catch and shoot from anywhere.”
The Cards open their 2022 campaign with a road game on Tuesday at Norwalk at 7 p.m. They will stay on the road and visit Mamaroneck on April 9, then will visit Weston on April 11. Their first home game is April 12 against FCIAC rival Staples.
“We lost a couple of key guys last year but we’re bringing back a lot of seniors this year and the offense looks good,” Metalios said.
Senior Quinn Warwick will play several roles for the Cardinals. A FOGO, he also serves as one of the squad’s captains and plays the midfield position, where he should help spark the Cards’ offense.
“Flynn and Warwick are big and tall dodgers,” Lutz said.
Warwick is primed to help give Greenwich key possessions from the faceoff-X.
“I’m excited, but I have to start working harder,” Warwick said. “I’ve been hurt for a couple of months prior to the season and it shows how detrimental that could be for a faceoff guy. Winning and having fun – that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day and that’s what we want to do this season.”
Returning in goal for Greenwich is senior captain Charles Zola, who turned in a consistent 2021 season. The Cardinals need Zola communication and leadership from Zola, since graduated claimed key starters on defense from last season’s successful squad.
“Last year we had a lot of key guys who we are missing, so we have a lot of work to do, but I think we can get it,” Zola said. “We’ll work on it in practice these next few weeks.”
“Defense needs the most attention right now,” Lutz said. We are pretty much brand new at almost all the spots.”
Along with Metalios, Milledge, Pilc and Warwick, senior Wesley Zolin, junior Brian Collins, senior Nate Duffy and sophomore Bobby Jones are among some of the athletes that could aid the team offensively.
Junior Matthew Trimmer is one of the experienced defenders Greenwich returns. Trimmer and senior Brendan Frost must help anchor the defense, which will see sophomores Adam Kim and George Vomvolakis and senior Charlie Zolin get significant minutes.
Fourteen players graduated from last spring’s team, five of whom were standout captains Will Montesi, Chris Cataldo, John Cataldo, Jack Cook and Jimmy O’Malley. Chris Catlaldo was an All-American and First Team All-FCIAC selection, Montesi earned First Team All-FCIAC honors and was an All-State selection and O’Malley was an All-FCIAC Second Team honoree.
Greenwich last won the FCIAC title in 2010 and captured the Class LL state title in 2014.
“We’re just trying to build on the great culture we built the past few years,” Pilc said. “We have to bring it to practice every day, be intense and make sure we’re on top of things.”
Indeed, the Cardinals always eagerly anticipate playing their rivals such as Staples, Ridgefield, Wilton and Darien.
“Since our youth program times, we’ve always been very competitive against other towns,” Milledge said. “We’re ready, we’ve been playing in the FCIAC all four years, all the captains, so we’re super pumped and we’re just going to leave it all out there.”
“Definitely keeping the team together, keeping everybody positive is probably our biggest goal at the beginning of the season,” Milledge continued. “And then we’ll move into discipline and really making this team a family.”
Said Zola: “We had a pretty good year last year, maybe a disappointing ending, but we had a good regular season, so it’s definitely something to build on and improve on this year.”