One of the primary goals of the Staples boys lacrosse team over the past several seasons is to defeat at least one of the elite programs in the FCIAC.

It may not be long before the Wreckers are considered in the elite category if they aren't already.

Staples went 16-5 last season and reached the Class L final, where they lost to Fairfield Prep. The Jesuits have ended the Wreckers season three of the past four years, but not before the Wreckers made a lot of noise on the state scene.

"Making it to the final gave us more recognition," Staples' fifth year coach Paul McNulty said. "Getting to that game is an excellent accomplishment, but we had already established ourselves as a team that was able to play with the best teams.

"It's great to be starting the season as the defending public school champions."

The Wreckers earned their first-ever win against New Canaan last year, which helped propel them to an 8-3 conference r

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ecord. Staples is 60-22 over the last four years as it continues to compete with the best teams in the state.

"Every year our goal is to go out there and compete for an FCIAC and state title," senior captain Pat Lesch said. "We fell a little short last year; this year we are looking forward to getting out there and doing the best we can."

Staples lost Colin Bannon and Joey Zelkowitz to graduation. The duo combined for 102 of the 198 goals the Wreckers scored as the team a year ago. McNulty expects more of a committee approach this time around. John Pacilio, Ross Goldberg, Michael Reale, Connor Chamberlain, Tucker Bobrow and Will Johnson will be looked upon to supply the offense.

Staples will be captained by goalie Cole Gendels, Jack Greenwald, Lesch and Johnson. Lesch missed all of last season with a hip injury and was second on the team in ground balls (46) in 2012.

Lesch will be part of a midfield that includes Peter Blevins, Jack Greenwald, Teddy Coogan, Eric Zurmuehle, Ben Schweber and Tim Lahiff.

Staples visits Weston (April 9) and Danbury (April 12) before its home opener against Warde (April 15). That begins a stretch of seven straight at home, which includes dates with FCIAC contenders Greenwich (April 22) and Ridgefield (April 29).

Staples graduated a talented defense that included Quinn Mendelson, who was first team All-FCIAC and Lance Lonergan. Lucas Jackson, Max Fuld, Isaac Paparo, Josh Willis, Nick Moro, Sam Ahlgrim and Henri Rizack will all see time on defense, which could be the strength of the Wreckers once again.

"When you have a defense like that can hold a team less than their average, you have a much better chance of winning," McNulty said.

The Wreckers will likely get a strong test against the Class S champion Trojans in the season opener. Staples prevailed 4-2 in last seasons' defensive encounter.