By Wayne Witkowski
New Egypt High School’s boys’ lacrosse team, which went from doormat three years ago to winning a share of the Burlington County Scholastic League (BCSL) championship last season, is optimistic it can continue its upsurge this season.
“The seniors went from winning four games as freshmen to nine games as sophomores to winning in the league last year,” said coach Brendan McCarthy, as New Egypt finished in a three-way tie for the BCSL title with Delsea Regional High School and Holy Cross High School. “They went from being whipping boys to having a chip on their shoulder last season, and now they have the bull’s-eye on their backs.”
Three players graduated from last year’s team that came one victory shy of the school record in a 12-4 season and won its first division championship. It lost its state tournament opener to Robbinsville High School.
Many returning players are seniors looking to leave an even bigger mark, with perhaps another division championship and an advance into the state tournament.
“The key is they have to stay focused and not let the moment get too big,” McCarthy said.
The Warriors have the firepower with two scoring standouts expected to be in the 200-point career club who are headed to college careers in the fall: middie Kyle Prouty, who will play for Johns Hopkins University, and attackman Brady Manion, who is headed to Arcadia University.
Last season, Prouty reached the 200-point milestone with 208 after scoring 56 goals and logging 23 assists. He has 141 career goals.
If he stays healthy and continues at the pace he set last season, Manion should reach that 200-point mark by midseason. He has 179 career points and 103 career goals coming into this season. Manion recorded 46 goals and 32 assists last season.
“They’re as good a one-two punch as you’ll find anywhere,” McCarthy said.
Prouty also played on the basketball team that reached the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group I semifinals and finished one game out of first place in the BCSL Freedom Division race.
They’ll look to provide a comfortable cushion for returning goalkeeper Chase Durkin, who is a senior.
“He looks good — a very smart kid who picks up things very easily,” McCarthy said. “He’s deceptively quick and does a lot of filmwork to judge [opposing players’] tendencies.”
Senior defenseman Jake Kear, an all-conference football player for New Egypt’s division championship team last fall, and Dylan Manuguerra will give Durkin ample support. The rest of the defense continues to be built and is wide open.
The Warriors open the regular season at 3:45 p.m. March 29 at home against nonconference opponent Egg Harbor Township High School. They begin league play April 4 at Holy Cross.
New Egypt opened its scrimmage schedule March 13 against Howell High School.
Attackmen Zach Young, a junior, and Bob Farrand, a sophomore who also was the fullback on the football team, will bolster the offense. Mario Reed is working toward a big senior lacrosse season as a middie after missing most of the football season with an injury.