Like season’s past, Greenwich Academy’s lacrosse team’s schedule features ultra-challenging foes, a welcome sight to a squad with high expectations.
“In order to play your best, you have to schedule the best,” Greenwich Academy first-season co-head coach Halley Quillinan Griggs said.
“Our team is really excited to play the best teams in the country and test ourselves,” GA senior co-captain/midfielder Ava Butz said. “I know that we’re also one of the best teams in the country and we hope to beat those teams.”
Quillinan Griggs and Katie Johnson, a Greenwich Academy graduate, who has helped guide the program for numerous seasons, are GA’s coaches. In June of 2021, Quillinan Griggs was hired as co-head coach of GA’s Varsity A squad by athletic director Martha Brousseau, a position Melissa Anderson filled since 2014. Anderson, who was with GA’s lacrosse program since 2006, transferred to Massachusetts with her family, where she is serving as a history teacher at The Rivers School.
“It’s fun, we’ve had a lot of fun,” Quillinan Griggs said. “Katie went to school here, so she knows the traditions here, she knows how this school works and coaching alongside her to learn the Greenwich Academy community has been great. The team has welcomed me with open arms.”
Greenwich Academy will scrimmage Greenwich High School on Thursday, then has games against Bethlehem Central High School, Ridgefield, St. Anthony’s, old neighborhood rival Sacred Heart Greenwich, Westminster School, Hackley School, Taft, Loomis Chaffee, Wilton and Hotchkiss.
“We play the hardest teams on our schedule in the first few weeks, which is tough, but I think we’re going to have a great season,” said Butz, who will play lacrosse at Cornell University next season.
In its scrimmage against Wilton – one of the premier teams in Connecticut – Greenwich Academy played well, as the Warriors edged them in a back-and-forth game, 7-6.
Senior Maddie Holden, who will continue her lacrosse career at Duke University next season, will help lead GA’s midfield play along with Butz. The duo are the team’s captains.
“It’s a lot of fun leading a group of great girls, I’m looking forward to it,” Holden said. “Being a part of the team has always been positive, everyone on the team is amazing and it’s always fun to go out and play with everyone.”
Greenwich Academy’s midfield features Butz, Holden, senior Taylor Glanville, who will take a good portion of the team’s draws and junior Ellie Burdick, who will also see action at the attack position. GA should receive plenty of offensive production from its group of midfielders.
“We have a lot of depth in the midfield, which is great,” said Butz, who also served as one of the captains of the school’s ice hockey team. “On offense, what really sets us apart is all seven of us are threats. We are not just looking to a few players here or there and I think that’s going to help us be successful.”
On defense, returning is junior Ellie Johnson, who has committed to play lacrosse at Stanford University.
“Ellie Johnson is a force,” Quillinan Griggs said. “Most teams don’t have an Ellie Johnson, so we’re able to really take away a team’s top offensive threat with her and around her we’re a relatively young unit in terms of youth.”
Junior Rebecca Arpano, gives GA an experienced goalie, who has excelled in previous seasons. Freshman Lila Volpe, sophomore Molly Moore and junior Sienna Tejpaul are also among some of the squad’s defenders.
“We’re really young in terms of experience alongside Ellie, but she’s doing a great job of leading that unit and Rebecca Arpano, she’s a veteran in goal, so we have veteran talent at every unit,” Quillinan Griggs noted.
Burdick, who has committed to play at Dartmouth, should also see some action at attack, along with patrolling the midfield, sophomore Dylan Casazza, is expected to help spark the attack unit and junior Mimi Novak is also starting at attack. Freshman Katie Barr and senior Emily Greenhaw also play at the attack position.
“Something that sets us apart on attack is that we’re all threats, but on defense, our communication is also great – we’re really good at talking to each other and letting each other know whether that slide is there,” Holden said.
Sophomore Brooke Bertrand and freshman Ruby Montanez are defenders, while junior Winnie Welch, junior Kate Haffenreffer and sophomore Amelia Lewis are midfielders. Freshman Chloe Cook is among the team’s attack players.
“On the draw, Taylor Glanville is working hard, Ava Butz is remarkable on 50/50 balls,” Quillinan Griggs said. “We’re going to get the ball a lot this season. Offensively, we just have to execute.”
“Our goal is to get better every day,” Quillinan Griggs said. “We’ve scheduled a really fun and challenging schedule with a lot of opportunities.”
“We want to just give everything we have every practice and every game,” Butz noted. “We care that everyone is hustling at all times and working as a team.”
Said Holden: “I’m looking forward to winning with all my girls and have fun. Scoring those goals on attack and get the ball back on defense.”