Boys lacrosse continues to be a sport struggling to find a varsity foothold in Bristol schools, with St. Paul leading the way, but all local squads taking a step back in terms of victories this season.
The Falcons went 8-8 before losing in the first round of Class S state tournament play, while Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern both ended the year with 3-13 records.
Yet while the teams struggled to find success, several individuals once again stood out as top players, and the best six of those have been selected for our honorary 2017 All-Press Boys Lacrosse Team.
The picks include five all-conference performers and a third-time selection in St. Paul senior attacker Eric Passeck. Picked for the first time were a pair of repeat All-WCLC selections in St. Paul sophomore Kevin Ashworth and Falcons junior Darek Wiecki, along with three All-CCC South selections in Bristol Eastern junior Alex Durand, Bristol Central senior Cody Hildebrand and fellow Rams senior Connor Staubley.
Durand returned to the Lancers this year as an all-conference selection last season who could play both attack and midfield.
Passeck and Ashworth were back with St. Paul as returning all-conference attackers, who picked up right where they left off.
In the Falcons’ first game of the season, against Bristol Central, Passeck and Ashworth accounted for 10 of the team’s 15 goals.
“Kevin and Eric can play. Flat out, they can play,” St. Paul coach Chris Kennedy said at the time. “They’re quality players here, they’re quality players on their summer teams. They’re just lacrosse players through and through. So I knew they were going to come.”
He added, “You get the ball to Eric and Kevin, they’re going to do good things with it.”
Also doing good things was Darek Wiecki, who repeated as a First Team All-WCLC defender.
Hildebrand scored 11 goals with eight assists for Bristol Central, also collecting 32 takeaways and eight interceptions. He’ll be continuing his lacrosse career at Felician University.
“He was one of our captains, a returning captain from last year,” Rams coach M.J. Gissas noted. “He was one of our leaders on defense. At the beginning of the season, he said, ‘Coach, I want to play offense.’ I coach him in summer league and I let him play short stick. When he came to me, I said, ‘I have no problem with you playing offense or defense, but you need a long stick in your hand.’ And that ended up working out. He was a good compliment to Connor on offense. On defense, he was lights out as far as takeaways and as far as stopping the break. He was our best defender, by far.”
Staubley scored 40 goals with 20 assists and will be going to Bowdoin College, where he’ll continue his football career.
“He was our main offensive threat,” Gissas said. “He cleared ball for us. He faced off for us. He did it all on offense. He also played some man-down defense. And in special circumstances, if two or more long poles got penalties, we threw a long pole in his hands. He’s a big kid and he muscled his way through the defenses we played this year.”
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800, or firstname.lastname@example.org