Gilford lax fully loaded in 2011
|Gilford lacrosse midfielder Andy Upton, a top skier in the winter, will be counted on to help lead the Golden Eagles back to the postseason. File Photo. (click for larger version)|
April 11, 2011GILFORD – After falling to eventual state champion Derryfield in a close playoff game last season, the Gilford High School boys' lacrosse team has a wealth of riches to work with this time around, with the bulk of that squad back this spring.
"We have a significant portion of our team back," said Gilford coach Dan Kallmerten. "We lost Pat Donahue who was the all-time leading scorer and record-setter for assists at the school so that'll be a void, but I like what we have to work with."
After finishing 9-5 during the regular season last year, Gilford beat Merrimack Valley in the first round of the postseason before falling to Derryfield.
"We played them real tough for three quarters but they were able to outscore us in the fourth quarter and pull it out," Kallmerten recalled.
Gilford shouldn't have many problems scoring goals this season, as the team boasts a solid collection of talent in its attack corps. Seniors Alex Boucher, Nick Gagliardi and Connor Sanborn all have experience up front, while transfer Steven Hickey, who had an outstanding winter on the hockey team, looks like he should be quite an asset as well. Freshman Tre Galligan is another likely contributor from the rookie ranks.
"I feel pretty good about the attack," explained Kallmerten. "So comfortable, in fact, that we'll probably use Andy Upton at midfield because we lost a little there."
Upton can play just about anywhere for Gilford, and his presence in the midfield should solidify a unit that also includes stellar junior Brendan Murphy, seniors Forest Aldridge and Christian St. Cyr, and sophomores Sam Prescott and Matt Dean. Chris Dormody and Benton Mitchell will both also have significant roles as middies while sophomore Ryan Brown is someone who could play midfield or attack.
"Andy Upton has been a first team all state selection for two years running so wherever I put him, he'll do fine," explained Kallmerten. "We chose to move him to midfield because we were really surprised with the play of Galligan, Hickey and a couple other guys up front. That allows us the option to strengthen our midfield.
"Upton and Murphy, who had a great year last year and can dodge and run really well, will likely team with Prescott on a line while Aldridge, St. Cyr and probably Matt Dean will do the same," he continued. "The third line looks like Mitchell, Dormody and possibly freshman Chris Medlin at this point."
If the attack is looking to be a strength, the Gilford defense will really be strong, led by seniors Brendan Demo and James Seager. Junior Eli Stockwell is also a part of the unit while sophomore Guy Rice was an honorable mention selection as a long-stick midfielder. Ben Morris also developed well over the course of last year and should be right in the mix.
The group is brought together by veteran goalie Norm Harris, as the senior enters his third year as the starter. Kallmerten also feels comfortable if sophomore Brett Hanson is called into action in goal.
"When you're younger as a coach, it's all about offense but the older you get, defense increases in importance," explained Kallmerten. "Harris, Seager and Demo, those guys are invaluable in the back. Norm has been to the playoffs two years in a row so he knows what it takes at this point to make it deep in the postseason."
Preseason results have also been promising for Gilford, as the Eagles scrimmaged several teams in higher divisions with favorable results.
"I have 11 kids who basically played full-time in the varsity last year," Kallmerten said. "We've got a couple players stepping in that are just as talented so there's a lot of potential there. We just have to make sure we finish games and get some Ws on the board."