Schickler: Looking forward to a promising spring season
Updated 7:20 pm, Thursday, April 19, 2012
The start of the spring sports season has raised some interesting questions and has a few unusual situations.
The Staples girls lacrosse team, for example, has two head coaches. Many people may question this arrangement similarly to their critiquing the New York Jets for having two quarterbacks. Unlike the Jets, I believe this arrangement will work out and defy cliche of, "you can't have too many cooks in the kitchen."
Cathy Schager enters her eighth season as head coach, and because she's facing more personal demands outside of coaching, she will be a co-head coach with Stacy Fierce. When Schager took over in 2005, the Lady Wreckers was once of the weakest teams in the state. Currently, they are legitimate contenders for the FCIAC and Class L titles because she turned the program around.
Fierce helped Staples as an assistant coach from 2005-2009 with her passion and intensity. In 2009, she piloted the Lady Wreckers to an upset victory at Fairfield Warde while filling in for Schager.
The co-head coaches complement each other and work well together. Fierce is a credit to the program, and hopefully, she'll be at Staples for a long time. I predict the Lady Wreckers will win the Class L title.
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The Staples boys lacrosse team has the unenviable task of replacing two players, Matt Yeager and Kip Orban, who are playing college Division I lacrosse. However, Paul McNulty is an outstanding coach and has a talented core back. I predict Staples will make it to the Class L semifinals.
Speaking of replacing top athletes, the Staples boys tennis team will miss State Open champion Danny Hirschberg. Working in the Wreckers' favor is coach Kris Hrisovulos, who hasn't lost a regular-season match in his career. Hrisovulos works well with his players and will lead them to the FCIAC and Class LL titles.
The Staples girls tennis team has depth. Despite a loss to Fairfield Ludlowe, the Lady Wreckers are contenders for the FCIAC and Class L titles, but they need to beat New Canaan and Greenwich in order to win either championship.
One thing the Lady Wrecker rackets should have done was schedule out-of-league matches with Amity and other strong programs. The Staples boys and the Weston boys and girls tennis teams all play tough, non-league opponents. Last year, the Lady Wreckers were seeded below Amity and North Haven despite having the same record as the two SCC schools, which put them on a collision course with powerful Greenwich in the Class L quarterfinals instead of the semis.
Staples would probably beat both SCC schools and a regular-season win over them would help them in tie-breakers if it came down to it.
Weston girls lacrosse enters the season as the defending Class S champions. The Lady Trojans were hoping to win the SWC as well as Class S this year, but they are missing two key players, Taylor Swanson and Morgan Moubayed because of injuries.
If Weston was healthy, it could win both titles, but will settle for just the Class S title. Working in the Lady Trojans' favor is coach Megan Murphy, who improved the squad since she took over last year.
One squad that may be hard-pressed to repeat its previous success is the Weston girls tennis team.
Weston lost three girls who are playing in college to graduation, but working in its favor is the return of Kimmy Guerin.
Guerin won two straight State Open singles titles and watching her play is a reason to look forward to the season.
The Lady Trojans will be hard-pressed to win SWCs, but with Guerin leading the way, they will win their sixth straight Class S title, but it will be closer than the last five years.
Dynasty is the word to describe the Weston boys tennis team. Weston has won 10 straight Class S titles and is the prohibitive favorite to make it 11. In fact, the Trojans would win Class M hands down if they moved up. They will win their 10th SWC title in 12 years.