Beverly boys lacrosse coach John Pynchon isn’t making any predictions or placing any unnecessary expectations on this year’s Panthers.
He’s simply making a statement.
“I think we had the best preseason we ever had. It’s maybe not the best team I’ve had in preseason, but we’ve gotten better every single day of practice,” Pynchon said. “It carried over from last season. There are high expectations and they know it — and they expect to do just as well as last year’s team, which is kind of great.
“I feel like that’s been missing. If you lose in the first round you didn’t get where you want to go and you lose that experience of playing in those games. These guys have that experience.”
The Panthers lost a lot of talent from last year’s East Division 2 semifinalist, but there are a lot of holdovers.
A huge portion of the offensive firepower — particularly All-American midfielders Dom Abate and Brendan Flaherty — have moved on, as well as key players at attack, midfield and defense. But Beverly does have two of its top five scorers back on board this year and a solid, experienced defensive crew, led by senior goalie Kevin Lally.
“Obviously at the beginning of the year the defense is ahead of the offense no matter what, but where our defense is is really good,” Pynchon said. “Our defense wasn’t a weakness last year; we were just more of an offensive team. We wanted to get up and down and score more. This year it’s going to be that we’ll win when we hold teams to four goals. We might score six or seven, but if we can hold a team to four goals we’ll win. It’s not going to be the same style of lacrosse early on, but who knows?”