ConVal boys lacrosse looking to retool

  • ConVal Boys Lacrosse vs. Milford
  • ConVal Boys Lacrosse vs. Milford

Any time a team loses 12 players to graduation, most would say that the program is in rebuilding mode.

But not ConVal boys lacrosse coach Pete Ketchum.

Ketchum refers to it as retooling because the Cougars have so many good young players sliding into key positions. And he expects that group to step in and help ConVal improve upon last year’s disappointing finish.

“We lost a number of seniors, so there’s a number of spots open,” said Ketchum. “We have to fill in those gaps.”

Two years ago, the Cougars grabbed the 12th and final playoff spot in Division III, but last season they got off to a slow start and never recovered.

“If we had three or four more games, I definitely think we could have made it in,” said Ketchum of the 2012 campaign.

So the plan is to get things going in the right direction early in the regular season, but the process really began on the opening day of spring practice.

“One of my goals is to make the tournament and that’s what we’re striving for,” said Ketchum. “Our goals are high, which is where they should be.”

With so many open spots on the field and just two seniors coming back, Ketchum had a lot of players to look at and see where they best fit into the newly installed game plan.

“With such a young team, we’re putting in an offense and defense that will be in place for a few years,” said Ketchum. “And our key is that we really want a possession based offense.”

Shawn Broderick and RJ Carney are the only two seniors this season and both return to the defensive unit. Broderick was one of three starters last year on defense, while Carney saw quite a bit of action off the bench. This year, Ketchum is counting on the two to help anchor a young back line.

Sophomore Patrick Joseph made a big impact on the offense last year, stepping right in to help balance the scoring attack with a pair of experienced seniors. And while Joseph is only in his second year, he will be the top returning goal scorer.

Big things are expected out of sophomore Isaiah Taylor on the offensive end as he pairs with Joseph on the front line. Erik Leger, also a sophomore, will hopefully bring his knack for scoring from the hockey rink to the lacrosse field.

“The last couple years we lost all of our scorers and someone has stepped up to make up for it,” said Ketchum.

Junior Riordan McCole and sophomore Stephen Twitchell got plenty of experience in the midfield a season ago and will step into the starting lineup, while the likes of Andrew French, Gray Kuris, Nick Philips and Mike Palazzola will help solidify the unit. JT Clough will also see time in the midfield, while Clay Lyons could play both offensive spots.

Junior Gavin Chamberlain, along with the sophomore group of Patrick Groleau, Isaac Dell, Mason Westover and Chris LaRoche will join Broderick and Carney on defense.

“We’re really looking at a team that’s going to be based around a lot of sophomores,” said Ketchum.

Junior Sean Stinehour, who saw most of the action in goal last year, and sophomore Jason Haley are ConVal’s two goaltenders and Ketchum sees a healthy competition brewing.

“They’re battling to see who gets the starting spot,” said Ketchum.

ConVal is scheduled to open its season today against Monadnock.

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