BBA seniors leave lasting mark on program
BURLINGTON — In 2018, the Burr and Burton boys lacrosse team had just one senior - talented attacker Cam Hedberg.
A year later, the Bulldogs are over-flowing with senior talent.
BBA's senior stars have shown up in a big way all season long, and even in a losing effort to CVU in the Division I state title game Saturday, their talents shined through.
The Bulldogs knew it was going to be a tough task to knock off a Redhawks team that came in winners of the last six D-1 state championships.
BBA put itself in multiple holes, but fought back to make the game close again.
Down as much as seven goals at one point, the Bulldogs eventually cut the lead back down to two, before running out of time in a 15-13 defeat.
While players all over the field played a role in keeping BBA afloat, the effort from the Bulldogs' seniors in that run could not be ignored.
Whether it was Jake Baker fighting through constant double teams to score, Egan Schmitt putting the ball in the net or Steven Schmitt scoring as a long pole and playing stout defense, among a host of others, BBA's elder statesmen did everything they could to give the Bulldogs a chance.
"It's such a privilege to have so many seniors that are all connected like that," said second-year Bulldogs coach Tom Grabher. "That senior makeup with the attitude that it's not hero ball is big. It's about knowing 'I'm not going to do this myself, but we're going to.' That's what we kept hearing on the sidelines."
With the team down late in the game, the seniors felt it was important to set an example for their younger teammates and not give up in the moment.
"We have 10 seniors and all of the younger guys look up to us because in practice we're going so hard and we've been in situations like this in other sports and championship level games," said Baker, who reached 100 career goals this season. "I think it is important for us to set the tone."
That playoff experience, whether it be in lacrosse or other sports, proved essential to keep BBA in the right state of mind, while fighting to come back.
"We're a bunch of grinders. We don't have the most kids on the team, but we just give it our all," Baker said.
That example from the seniors bleeds over to the underclassmen.
Ryan Nolan, a freshman, has been essential on face-offs all season long. Another freshman, Jack Morrison, has already proven himself as one of the top goalies in the state.
Their talent plays a big part in that, but the confidence they get from the older group can not be ignored.
"When the freshman, sophomores and juniors see us doing it, they follow in the footsteps," Baker said. "We've had a lot of young, great kids. Jack, our goalie, and Ryan Nolan, our face-off guy, they're both freshmen and they're two of the most critical people on the field at all times. The support that seniors give the younger kids is great."
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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