The 2022 season was one in which the Newton High School boy’s lacrosse program, with new head coach David Gallucci leading the way, made great strides that may very well be long remembered.
“This season we had many quality wins over programs never defeated before in program history [since reinstatement in 2010], as well as other quality wins and close losses against teams in higher divisions,” Gallucci said. “Playing better competition will continue to benefit our program in the future, and coming off a season where we broke the record for most wins in a season [since reinstatement], we will look to continue to improve over the next several years.”
A number of student athletes on the team emerged as leaders for the Braves this year.
“Senior captain midfielder Donato Bevacqua allowed his actions to lead rather than his words,” Gallucci said. “He was a two-way midfielder that excelled on the defensive side of the field, but created a lot of transition for us and acted as an effective offensive player for us as well. Senior attack/midfielder Ryan Lynch is another leader who leads by action, Ryan’s skill and ability was often something I would hear the kids in the youth program talking about. Senior attack Robert Giordano is one of the most inquisitive and curious athletes I’ve ever coached. Gio was our X attackman with a craving to master the position.
“Junior defenseman Pasquale Festa with a young defense this year, Pasquale took ownership, especially when things needed to be adjusted. His IQ of the game and his ability to study the opponent and adjust is extremely impressive.”
Indeed, a number of players impressed the coaching staff with their noticeable improvements throughout the season.
“Junior defenseman Matt McLean showed an incredible will to improve and the results showed on the field,” Gallucci said. “By the end of the season, he developed really nice take-away checks and became a leader on our defense. Senior long stick midfielder Heath Lestz started the season as a shortie, but we moved him to LSM before our second game. He made an immediate impact not only on the defensive side of the ball, but in transition as a part of our clearing game.
“Sophomore LSM Matt Teets [...] became a force for us in between the restraining lines this season. As the season went on, his takeaway checks improved, as did his ability to play in open space, effectively playing on an island. Junior midfielder Robert McCullough transformed from a great athlete playing lacrosse, to a great lacrosse player [...]. Freshman attack Ty Guzzo, what can you say about a freshman on varsity who puts up 46 points and scoops up 55 ground balls. We’re looking forward to many more successful seasons from Ty for years to come. Junior goalie Rylan Ivaldi [...] was making very athletic saves and becoming a threat with the ball in his stick in the transition game. Junior midfielder Evan Robinson and sophomore midfielder Evan Parker both improved as the season progressed. Parker, by our last game, became a go-to offensive threat for us.
“Sophomore attack Brendan Lynch saw more and more time [...] and made some big plays that made an impact in close games towards the end of the season. Senior defensive Midfielder Brandon Castellanetta found a role on our team as a defensive midfield specialist, playing man-down, as well as even situations. He caught on extremely quickly and by the end of the season, became a gem on the defensive side of the ball, allowing our offensive middies to get a rest.’’
Newton tallied an overall record of 11-7, with a mark of 5-1, good enough for second place, in the Colonial Division. They also recorded five victories in the Pooley Division.
They advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Group 1 Sectional Tournament before they were defeated by Glen Rock. Newton topped Kittatinny in the first round of the North Jersey Group 1 Sectionals.
“We return all of our goaltenders, most of our defensemen and have many talented defensemen in the pipeline,’’ Gallucci said. “Offensively, our talented senior class paved the way for the next generation of skilled lacrosse players who will seemingly fit into our offensive schemes. The concepts and fundamentals learned this year will pay off for our younger players in the long run.’’
“Playing better competition will continue to benefit our program in the future, and coming off a season where we broke the record for most wins in a season [since reinstatement], we will look to continue to improve over the next several years,” said head coach David Gallucci.