Norwood Boys Lacrosse

Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
April, 2019
Article Body: 

It was a tough final year for Norwood lacrosse competing in the Bay State League (BSL) last spring. The Mustang’s boys team was without two of its top players leaving the squad rather young and inexperienced on the field. Under first year Coach Dan Reyes, Norwood was only able to manage one win in their final BSL stint, but the coach is looking for things to move forward as the team moves into the Tri Valley League.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this squad will be much more experienced as the youth of a year ago now have a lot of playing time under their belts,” the Norwood Coach said. “They had to grow up quickly last year and learned the system on the fly. We will also be getting our injured back.”
Getting back on the field this spring after injures that sidelined them last season will be senior captain and midfielder Jake Smelstor and junior close defense/long stick middie (LSM) Teddy Willet. As one of the team’s tri-captains, Smelstor, who has already committed to Ithaca College to play lacrosse, brings a high lacrosse IQ to the field. The Mustang offense will also revolve around the senior. The coach doesn’t want this midfielder to shoot as much, instead he wants Smelstor to be more of the main feeder to the rest of his teammates. In addition to his experience, Willet will bring good stick skills to this year’s team.
The other two captains for the Mustangs will be middie Mark Dunn and LSM Joe Spadorcia. Together with Smelstor, Reyes is looking for leadership from his captains while they develop the younger players in terms of proper attitude, work ethic and maturity that comes from growing as an individual as well as a team.
“Last year, we knew that it was going to be an uphill battle, especially with our injuries,” Reyes said. “Coming into this season, the positive is that the athletes have developed, especially some of the freshman and sophomores who are going to be formidable players for us this year.”
A few of those younger players Reyes will be looking to help the Mustangs regain their integrity on the field will be Harry Leduc (attack/middie), Jared Shea (middie) and the team’s most improved player last year, Abdullah Khalil, who was playing the sport for the first time. According to Reyes, Khalil works extremely hard at improving his game while bringing a physicality (the senior also plays football) to the game that leads to intimidation.
The team will also be looking to a couple of incoming freshmen who should be able to help immediately in Ben Ryan (middie attack) and Kyle Ledger (defense).
“As the youth coach in town, I am familiar with both Ben and Ryan’s play,” Reyes said. “Both athletes have strong stick skills, work hard and already know the system. They have also developed through club play and are much more advanced.”
Offensively, Norwood will be relying on Smelstor, Ryan, Dunn and Leduc to be finding the back of the net for the Mustangs as well as Jake Mannering. Mannering, who will see action as a middie and an attacker and Reyes is expecting good things from him this upcoming season.
Keeping the other team off the board will be first-year varsity goalie Mike Catalano. The junior spent last season with the junior varsity club due to the fact that the Mustangs had a senior minding the net on the varsity level. Thus far. Catalano had shown tremendous potential in the net with great reflexes and should really help the team.
As Norwood gets ready to play in its first season in the Tri Valley League (TVL), Reyes is quiet optimistic about his team’s chances.
“We will definitely be able to improve upon our one-win season from last year and at a minimum, we should be able to finish in the middle of the pack,” Reyes said. “Competing in a new league and having only secured one win last year, we should be able to surprise a few teams. That one win does not reflect who we really are, we were young and missing a few of pour top players.”
Reyes went on to say that he doesn’t measure success by wins.
“Our goals are to grow, improve game by game, and commitment to hard work,” he said. “If you have all three of those going for you, then you’ll be successful.”
Here’s hoping that the Mustangs have all three things going for them and that the inexperience that the team suffered a year ago turns the corner and capitalizes.