Last year’s lacrosse season for the Panthers didn’t quite turn out like many had hoped. With only three wins, boys varsity coach Anthony Karpouzis has a very clear goal for this year.
“To win,” Karpouzis said in a phone interview.
Karpouzis said that he’d at least like to make it into the playoffs.
The team captains have a similar goal. They’re “trying [to] have a successful year, unlike last year,” said senior captain Nate Haywood.
Some of the struggle from last year was due to the fact that it was Karpouzis’s first year coaching in Holliston and he had to get to know the players and pick the team. Karpouzis said that there is talent, and that the team just needs to get better at “stringing together the four quarters.”
Last season, there was lots of learning about the coaching style and expectations.
The players did not know how Karpouzis wanted to play the game and were “just kind of winging it with him,” senior captain Ben Salley said.
Karpouzis also mentioned that the team would lose some games by just one or two points.
Talking about what he would like to see change, captain Dalton Ring said, “winning those close games. Leave it all out on the field… try in the games against harder teams like Medfield.”
Salley and Ring agree that, for Freshman, the experience can be “nerve-wracking” in the beginning.
But Haywood is confident that “they’ll deal with it…it won’t be that bad.”
The coach and captains agree on what they need to get better at on the field, but off the field, the team dynamic is good.
Karpouzis said that “[the boys] are always together.”
Even new players are excited about being with their teammates. Freshman Ian Haywood said that he is ready for “having fun with the team.”
“Even upperclassmen are close with the underclassmen,” Ring said.
“We’re pretty tight, actually,” Salley said, “We have team dinners and we all just get along pretty well together.”
As captains, they want to “lead by example,” said Salley, “We take [the role as captains] very seriously,” Salley added.
The captains want to be “role models,” according to Ring.
“We try to do the best things we can to lead by example, so we want [the other players] to act how we act and if we do something that we know is wrong then we shouldn’t be captains,” Salley said, adding to Ring’s statement.
“[The captains] will be helping everybody out and creating a fun atmosphere,” said Ian Haywood.
Sports at the high school level are a big commitment, and with practice almost everyday, fitting in time for school is necessary. However, Ian Haywood doesn’t think balancing the sport and the work is what some may think.
“It’s not really hard,” he said, “you just have to do your work when you get it and get it all done.”
According to the captains, Karpouzis wants the boys to focus on school, not just lacrosse.
“School comes first, then lacrosse. And he’s strict on that,” Salley said.
The captains and coach agree on the goals for this season and know what they need to work on.
“[I’d like to] evolve as a leader. And like Dalton said… get ready for college lacrosse,” said senior captain Mike Alibrandi.
“I’m hoping to have probably my best season of my whole high school career,” Ring said.