Saturday April 6, 2013

BOYS LACROSSE

Coach: Kevin Morrison (1st season)

Last year: 13-5, lost to Green Mountain Valley in semifinals

The team: The Bulldogs have a huge turnover from last season, graduating 20 seniors from the program's 12th consecutive squad to reach the Division II semifinals. But Morrison, the former JV coach and a four-year player at St. Michael's College, can rely on goalie Mike Sztorc, one of the state's best as a freshman last year, to support the defense as it takes shape. "Having him as our anchor is a huge part of our defense, but he can also come out and help us clear, giving us the advantage," Morrison said. BBA has an experienced, talented attack led by seniors Sean Paradis and Henry Buckley, and sophomore Tom Morgantini, while senior Bennett Timmerman, and juniors Ben Alexopoulos and Andrew Sherras should offer support from midfield. "We feel pretty confident about our attack," Morrison said. Eli Serota, Brock Pollard, Eric Cerra, Curtis Ross, Tom Lewis and Hayden Audy should all figure in the defensive corps.

Opener: Monday at Mount Anthony

-- Austin Danforth

GIRLS LACROSSE

Coach: Dave Miceli (13th season)

Last year: 13-5, lost to Rice in Division II semifinals

The team: Despite losing leading scorer Brooke Sabol, Charlotte Palmer, Maggie Schroeder, and Michelle Kelly -- who played on varsity all four years -- as well as Jessica Merrill and goalie Kelsey Towslee, Miceli likes the look of this year's team.


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"It's a very athletic group. We've got a ton of speed this year and that's pretty well distributed throughout the team," said Miceli. In addition to speed, Miceli said situational lacrosse will help this year's team be successful -- his players' understanding of the game is like "having coaches on the field" and their ability to know when to score a goal and when to slow things down is valuable. This year's team also benefits from strong senior leadership from Cara Corvino, Kate Montague, Rory Halligan and Jennifer Dorr. In addition, senior Morgan Crabtree -- who transferred to Burr and Burton last year -- is someone who Miceli said is a great athlete and leader.

Opener: April 12 at Hartford

-- Brandon Canevari

GIRLS TENNIS

Coach: Dan Hutner (2nd season)

Last year: 16-1, lost to Montpelier in D-II finals

The team: The goal is still there and there are more new faces -- but Hutner likes what he has with the Bulldogs, who are gunning to reach the Division II finals for the seventh year in a row. "It's quite a challenge but it's a strong team again. They'd like another shot at Montpelier," Hutner said. Last spring, Montpelier snapped BBA's 40-match winning streak -- the state's longest in any sport at that point -- and bid for a fourth straight title. Junior Maddy Pagnucco returns to take over the No. 1 singles spot in her third varsity season, while Gabi Hasaj and Jordan Harmon, both sophomores, are back, too. Gabrielle Vella is a strong-hitting freshman ready to dive into singles. Monica Mas Mir, an exchange student from Barcelona and friend of last year's No. 1 Lucia Matas, should contribute in doubles right away. "There's a lot of talent in this team," Hutner said.

Opener: Monday vs. Otter Valley

-- Austin Danforth

SOFTBALL

Coach: Dan DeForest (30th season)

Last year: 3-13, did not reach playoffs

The team: Burr and Burton has its main core returning this year after graduating just two players -- center fielder Emily Keyes and right fielder Shelby Pistocco. "We're really excited about this because a nucleus of these girls have been playing for three or four years in the varsity so we expect some big things," said DeForest. DeForest believes the team will be more competitive this year as far as a win-loss record as they were competitive in a number of games last season, but were unable to come away with the win. In order for the team to be successful this season though, DeForest said there are a couple of things that will play a role. "Pitching is always a key in girls softball. We need to make our opponents earn their runs," he said. "We need to have our defense play sharp. We need to put the ball in play and let the defense do their job."

Opener: April 23 at Fair Haven

-- Brandon Canevari

BOYS TENNIS

Coach: Pete McNealus (16th season)

Last year: 8-7, lost to Brattleboro in playdowns

The team: Despite losing No.1 singles player Max Gomez, Connor Pearce and Adis Muminovic, McNealus has confidence in this year's team as he has already seen improvement out of some of the holdovers from last year. "This year Brennan Webb will be playing one [and he] has definitely matured and also gotten much stronger from weight lifting and working out throughout the winter," said McNealus. Kevin Walla will be the No. 2 singles player for the team. There are 13 students on this year's roster, but McNealus said that 25 students signed up to join the program. "That was the most in the history that I've ever coached," said McNealus. "I think last year we had 17, which was one of the biggest one's I've ever coached." Due to the uptick in numbers, McNealus said they are exploring the possibility of creating a JV team.

Opener: Monday at Bellows Falls

-- Brandon Canevari