The Mount Greylock boys' lacrosse team will look to build off a successful maiden voyage into the world of varsity competition.
The Mounties finished on top of the inaugural Berkshire County lacrosse standings and qualified for the Western Massachusetts tournament last season. They suffered a 9-7 loss to No. 11 Cathedral after earning the No. 6 seed. The Mounties were one of three Berkshire County teams to qualify for the tournament, and were the highest seeded county team.
"We definitely want to be back [in the tournament], but it's one step at a time," coach Jeff Stripp said. "If we are fortunate enough to get back there, we want to go deeper. I think that loss to Cathedral took some guys by surprise. I think the guys who are returning remember that and want to move on from it."
Stripp says in the second season of Berkshire County varsity lacrosse, he is starting to see more lacrosse players opposed to athletes who play lacrosse. He believes this season should be an even better year of competition as the programs move forward.
The Mounties' offense will have a familiar feel to it this year. Brett and Michael McCormack both return after being at the center of the offense last season. Hank Barrett and Ethan Ryan will also return to the lineup.
Returning to anchor the defensive end of things will be Matt Hogan, Daivon Clement and Niko Santore.
"What I'm really excited about is that this is a group of guys that really like to share the ball," Stripp said.
With an experienced core and some new pieces joining the squad, the Mounties might look to change things up this season. Stripp believes his team will benefit from the addition of a few strategies this season.
The talent on the team will allow the Mounties to have several different offenses and defenses in place that they can run at different times.
"I'm a big believer that, as a coach, you have to adapt each year to what type of personnel you have," Stripp said. "This year we have some personnel that will give us a chance to run a bunch of different sets both on the offensive and defensive side of things."
With just a few days before the start of the regular season, Stripp is excited about how his team has looked so far. The Mounties had a tri-scrimmage with Pittsfield and Wahconah and have also taken on Berkshire School in exhibition matches.
"I think we have a good handle on a lot of the spots so far," Stripp said. "I'm pleasantly surprised by what I've seen. Anything within the first week is hard to judge. I'm really happy with the effort and enthusiasm that I've seen out of all of the guys."
The Mounties will also feature a bit of youth this season. Freshman Cal Filson and eighth-grader Patrick Storie are the top candidates to fill the goaltender vacancy. Stripp expects that both will see a decent amount of time this season.
"I'm really encouraged about our freshman class," Stripp said. "We have a lot of young kids who are eager to learn the system and help the team."