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Though it was a tough 2012 season for the North Kingstown boys lacrosse team, one that saw the Skippers finish at the bottom of the Division I standings with a 2-8 record, the team is looking to start taking steps forward in 2013 as they prepare to open their division schedule on Friday against Moses Brown.
It was a successful preseason for NK according to head coach Steve Alviti.
Following a pair of wins in a round robin tournament against teams from Connecticut and a third against Norwich Academy, the Skippers went 1-1 in two non-league games last week, beating Providence Country Day, 10-9, before dropping a 10-8 decision to South Kingstown in their final regular season tune-up.
So far, Alviti likes what he sees.
â€śWeâ€™ve had kind of a good preseason,â€ť said the coach of his initial impressions of the 2013 Skippers. â€śA good group of kids, hard working and we have talent. Just have to see if we can put it all together.â€ť
The Skippers have the talent to keep up with the elite of Division I, according to their coach, though the team is not without its concerns.
Despite a large number of seniors on the team, NK is light on both depth and experience in 2013, as the coach looks to continue to reinvent the program in his second season at the helm.
â€śEven though itâ€™s a big class,â€ť said the NK coach of his returning upperclassman, â€śthere are only five starters coming back. Weâ€™re still a young team with regards to experience.â€ť
There are just five senior starters returning this spring, highlighted by the Skippersâ€™ three captains â€“ Aaron Binek, Kevin McDermott and Cam Fugere â€“ who will shoulder much of the load.
Alviti will also be relying heavily on attack men Johnny Bishara and Colin Vincent up front, while defensemen Ryan Graves and Dan Corcoran will be expected to anchor the back end.
Alviti is hoping a lot of fundamental skill development and a heavy focus on conditioning will help counteract his teamâ€™s depth issues.
â€śWeâ€™re trying to reinvent the program a little bit. What we do and how we do it,â€ť said the NK coach. â€śWeâ€™re going back to basics. Less emphasis on so many offenses and defenses, and more on basic skills and fundamentals.â€ť
His teamâ€™s biggest asset, however, is the mindset they are going to carry with them from game to game.
While it is hard for the coach to put any sort of win or loss expectations after last yearâ€™s down season, Alviti states it will be how the team plays over the course of the season, rather than the numbers, that will dictate his teamâ€™s level of success.
â€śWe just go in, put our boots on and go to work. Our guys never quit,â€ť said the coach regarding his teamâ€™s approach to the tough competition they will face. â€śNorth Kingstown always comes to play. Weâ€™ll see if we can carry that forward.
â€śGoing in and playing good, clean lacrosse [will be our strength].â€ť
North Kingstown is a program with a championship pedigree, having three titles to their credit, the only public school to win at the stateâ€™s top level.
Alviti knows his team can compete and will not run scared from the top private schools in Division I as they begin their return to the top.