SOUTHINGTON - It was a season saw both how much the Southington boys lacrosse team improved and how far the program still has to go.
Southington had the opportunity to qualify for the Class L state tournament with a win against Glastonbury on the final day of the season Tuesday afternoon. A 19-2 loss, however, brought the season to an abrupt end.
But it was a season that was quite different from the one in 2017.
The Blue Knights went just 2-14 last season and made huge strides in the right direction this year. They went 6-10 and had three games where they only lost by one goal.
“In reality, we were one goal away from making the playoffs,” Southington head coach Ron Chase said. “Last year, we were obviously nowhere close to making the playoffs. So that’s kind of a check mark. We knew it was going to be a rebuilding year. We knew we were young. But I give our guys credit because they never gave up all year.”
Junior Jacob Cardozo went through the team’s struggles last season and said the main goal, along with playing better on the field, was to have a more confident environment for the team.
“When we came into this season, it wasn’t a matter of wanting to do better, we knew that [a year like last season] wouldn’t happen again.” Cardozo said. “We wanted to change the culture of this team. Now we are a lot more positive and it’s just a better atmosphere to be a part of.”
Cardozo will be a huge part of the team next year.
He will be in his senior season and has the ability to play both midfield and goalkeeper. Cardozo showed his versatility against Glastonbury, where he found out just minutes before the game he would be starting in goal. The usual starter, Garrett Brown, had gotten sick the day before the game and hadn’t improved, so Chase sent him home and asked Cardozo to step up.
“Going into this year, he had never played midfield before, but we put him at middy this year because he’s so athletic and we want him on the field and he’s done an excellent job,” Chase said. “Figures, on the last day of the season, he has to go in and play goalie. But he didn’t shy away. He looked at me and said ‘coach, I got it.’ That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s a tough kid and he’s one of those players where I wish I had 100 of him.”
In all, the Blue Knights had just six seniors on the 26-man roster. But Tagan Welsh and Brett Wolff are the only two starters leaving, so Southington will have a lot of familiar faces returning to keep pushing the team in the right direction.
“We’re definitely a young team out there,” Chase said. “We only have a couple of guys leaving and a lot of guys were on JV last year. I’m definitely not using that as an excuse, but I’m proud of our guys. They got better and worked hard each and every single day this year. I’m excited to see what this team can do next year.”
Tyler Roaix can be reached at email@example.com