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Senior attacker Jack Dacey and the Guildford boys’ lacrosse team were looking forward to another deep playoff run again in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic threw the season into question. Dacey led the Indians with 75 goals in 2019. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior goalie Devlin Ahlefeld hopes to stand tall in net for the Indians this spring, provided that high school athletics are allowed to resume in a shortened season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior James Wrynn was penciled in as a major part of the Guilford boys’ lacrosse team after tallying 37 goals and 14 assists last season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The Guilford boys’ lacrosse team put together one of its best seasons in recent memory last spring. The Indians finished with an overall record of 16-5 on their way to making the final of the SCC Tournament and the semifinals of the Class M State Tournament. Head Coach Brian White had high hopes for what Guilford could potentially achieve during the 2020 season. However, the coronavirus outbreak has put a halt on all spring sports, and White doesn’t feel too optimistic that action will resume this year.
“There’s not much that [the CIAC] can do. There’s just no time for it. I think school is going to get nixed, and I don’t see us playing a game this year,” White said. “It’s unfortunate for our seniors, but we have to put the health of our players above all else.”
Guilford entered the year without the services of attacker John DeLucia, who graduated following a 2019 season in which he made the All-SCC First Team, was named the SCC Co-Player of the Year, and became the first Indians’ player to receive the U.S. Lacrosse Bob Scott Award for Connecticut for his leadership, play, and work in the community. However, despite losing DeLucia, Guilford was still slated to bring back a savvy pack of battle-tested veterans for the 2020 campaign.
“John DeLucia was a big part of our team, and losing him for this season was definitely going to hurt, but we were set to bring back 12 or 13 seniors that were all big contributors,” said White, whose team also graduated fellow All-SCC First Team recipient Miles Gabriel. “It’s depressing that they’re not going to get a chance to show what they’ve got.”
Attacker Jack Dacey, an All-SCC First Team selection last year, is one of the seniors on Guilford’s roster. Dacey scored a team-high 75 goals and also tallied 30 assists in 2019. Defender Owen Nizolek, who made the All-SCC Second Team, and goalkeeper Devlin Ahlefeld are also two essential members of the Indians’ senior class. The same can be said of senior attacker James Wrynn, who scored 37 goals to go with 14 assists last season.
If these athletes aren’t able to play this year, Guilford will be saying goodbye to several talented seniors without giving them one last chance to take the field. They also won’t have the opportunity to work with the Indians’ up-and-coming players.
“It would be difficult to start from square one again like that,” Coach White said. “The underclassmen gain valuable experience and knowledge from the seniors, and it’s a tough situation that we might not get a season.”
While any campaign is still in question, Coach White has been in constant contact with his athletes just in case it does come to fruition.
“I’m trying to keep in touch with the kids to make sure they’re staying in shape and on top of their game,” said White. “If we end up having a season, we will be ahead of the competition, and it will be good that we are staying ready.”
Outside of lacrosse, White is also a social studies teacher at Guilford High School. Like many other teachers, he has been administering lessons online in recent weeks.
“It’s an online platform that we’ve been using throughout this pandemic, and it’s been challenging,” White said. “It’s certainly challenging, but it’s also a different experience. The kids have been doing a great job of maintaining their focus throughout this process.”
White has coached Guilford for the past 15 seasons. In that time, the Indians have advanced to the SCC championship game on seven occasions.
“We’ve had a lot of success in my time here as head coach,” said White. “These kids have come in and worked incredibly hard, and I’m really hopeful that we can repeat that success in the years to come.”
Whether his team takes the field next month or next year, Coach White has all the confidence in the world that Indians will be ready to go whenever the whistle blows.
“We’re going to be losing a lot of guys if a season doesn’t happen this year, but we have to compensate,” White said. “We can’t make any excuses, and we’ll be ready to play whenever our number is called.”
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