Friday, December 04, 2020

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Destined for Greatness? The story of the 2020 OSHS Boys Lacrosse Team

Old Saybrook has not been a hotbed for boys lacrosse powerhouse teams. Despite producing several standout players who broke state records and went on to play at Division 1 schools, a well-rounded team continues to elude the area. The Old Saybrook High School Boys lacrosse team turned in a 2-14 2019 performance. The 2020 season was going to change that. Stepping up into leadership roles were two seniors that have over 15 years of game knowledge between them and both have played almost every minute of varsity play since freshman year. After losing just two seniors last season, this year’s varsity team had the potential to send shockwaves through the league. “We were on track for 3 or 4 players for all-conference and all-state accolades,” says OSHS Varsity Head Coach Jon Mason. “This was going to be the year for our Seniors - when they put it all together and achieve results greater than the sum of their parts,” he added. It was also his inaugural season as head coach. “Senior Alem Tiden was coming back to his old form, after recovering from a shoulder injury freshman year.” Alem was a youth lacrosse standout, displaying a potent outside shot for the CT River Ticks Lacrosse Club. “Alem really worked hard on his strength, shot speed and accuracy - he was on track to set records for the Rams,” said Mason. Senior Captain Matt Murphy ran the defensive unit last season, controlling when to implement zones or revert back to man-to-man coverage. “Matt’s experiences in youth and the high school game has given him a very high lacrosse IQ,” says Mason. “I relied on Matt, as the whole team did, to set the tone.” Senior Captain Ian Mason was set to continue his dominance at face-off as well as responsibilities for beating his men on both sides of the field. “Ian’s true gift is speed and thoughtfulness. One of my favorite things is to watch him work out just how to beat his man at face-off. You can see him working it out - it’s more like chess than lacrosse to him,” says Mason (also the Senior’s father). Senior Defenseman Jake Linder got the surprise nod to move to last season’s starting line up. “Jake proved he can play within the limits of the rules while remaining poised to perform his role well. Jake’s journey in this game has been tremendous and I am so proud to see what he’ll do next. Senior Ed Fernandez was back with the Rams and was looking back to top form. “Ed’s heart is his biggest asset. For as much as I love what he does on the field, it’s how he gets his teammates to play for him that impresses me. Don’t get me wrong, Ed’s confidence and dogged ferociousness make him a threat on both sides of the ball.” Coach Mason believes this year would have been a giant boost for the underclassman. “Having skilled seniors at every position was going to be a great launchpad for these younger players.” We have got a few, like sophomore midfielder Ryan Sliz, junior Jack Adams, sophomore goalie Andrew Souriyamouth who were ready for breakout seasons. Each player earned significant varsity time last season and was primed for major contributions to this year's success. A bright light for the team was an influx of a large freshman group. “We looked to have a good mix of experienced players stepping up as well as some fresh talent to train.” Mason says he was impressed with the turnout of the freshman class at the team's weight training sessions. Mason notes what he loves about coaching at Old Saybrook High School is, “the opportunities available at the size of the school we are. We’ve got new players alongside kids that have been holding a stick most of their lives and it’s my job to get them to work together. The results can be amazing if they trust our process, believe in each other as well as themselves. “We’re looking forward to continuing building a program that propels these young men to roles of leadership, whether that’s on a team, in the classroom or in the workplace” said Mason. ### Relevant images: -12/34 (Ian Mason) -14/34 (Alem Tiden) -17/34 (Matt Murphy)

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