For most teams there is usually one game that it looks forward to all season; the rivalry contest against a neighboring school.
That is not the case for the Prout boys lacrosse team; this season the Crusaders’ will have six.
As a result of realignment Prout will compete in a somewhat new looking Division II-South that features neighbors East Greenwich, Narragansett and South Kingstown, as well as Aquidneck Island foe Middletown.
“We have some kids from EG area, we have a lot of South County guys so there’s three games that are potential rivalries,” Prout coach Tim Ryan says. “I’m excited to play them.”
If these games are anything like the 9-6 South Kingstown win over Narragansett in the season opener Tuesday then it promises to be a very good season for South County lacrosse.
If the Crusaders are going to be successful in the ultra competitive D-II South they are going to need their defense to be their strength
Senior captain Matt Filardo returns to anchor the back line and will be joined by juniors Bryan McCormack and Tom Amaral.
“Defense is going to be a focal point for us,” Ryan says. “…As a defensive unit we want to protect our keeper but also stretch out and pressure the ball.”
Starting the season in net for Prout will be senior Doug Buonanno but Ryan says freshman Sullivan Lindley will also see some time in goal.
As for the midfield it should be comprised of a rotation of seniors Michael Reilly and Justin Mateus, juniors Nyle Sockbeson, Campbell Peck and Nelson Baetjer and sophomore Derek Rubin.
Up front junior Charlie Baetjer and sophomore James Neri will be expected to carry the scoring load, while freshman Ben Alofsin, sophomore Austin DiPietro and potentially one of the midfielders will be fighting for the third attack spot.
If a lot of these names sound familiar there’s a good reason why; a large number of the players expected to contribute on the lacrosse team were also on the hockey team this winter.
Filardo, Reilly, Mateus, Sockbeson, Neri and both Baetjers played hockey this winter so don’t expect chemistry to be a major issue for this team.
“We’ve got a lot of guys from the hockey team this spring,” Ryan says. “That happens every now and then because the sports are similar in certain ways.
“These guys are in good shape. They came off the ice and rolled right onto the field.”
The goal right now is a simple one for the Crusaders; make it in to the playoffs.
Last season as the No. 3 seed Prout was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Mount St. Charles so the Crusaders know better than most that all you have to do is get into the postseason and anything can happen.
“We came up short early in the playoffs last year and I think that was a little frustrating for the guys,” Ryan says. “We had a good group and we were primed to make a good run. We just want to make sure we get a playoff spot.”
Prout opened up the regular season Thursday at East Greenwich (results unavailable at press time) and will be back in action for its home opener when it hosts Middletown at 3:45 p.m. at Christofaro Park.