Few leagues in the country are as competitive as the Western New England League.

Among the contending teams in the league’s Division I:

* Salisbury, with arguably the nation’s top senior in Maryland-bound attackman in David Solomon, a transfer from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes in Arlington, Va., and Virginia-bound Tyler Scales, one of the top defensemen in the country. (Salisbury did not lose another game after falling to Boys Latin in its opener last year.)

* Deerfield, with an always strong defense and premier attackman Jimmy Bitter.

The list of premier programs in the league goes on.

One of them is Brunswick, located, of course, in Greenwich, Conn.

The Bruins, as usual, are stacked with talent.

Among the team leaders is co-captain David Better, a left-handed defenseman who has committed to Yale.

Before we get David’s thoughts on the season, be sure to weigh in with your thoughts on the league race. (On the right panel of this page, just scroll past the “New Comments” and “Popular” tabs and click on “Poll,” and then cast your vote from the choices available, or write in your choice if it’s not listed.)

Here’s David’s perspective on the season:

What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Most of the team has been playing at the SoNo Field House in Norwalk during the fall and winter, which has been a great way to keep our sticks in shape. In addition, the guys that aren’t playing a winter sport have been working hard in the weight room and shooting balls in the gym every day. We are also starting to do some indoor sessions by position as well so that we are ready to go by the first day of practice.

How does your schedule look, including scrimmages, and what games are you looking forward to?
Our schedule is awesome this year. In particular, I am loooking forward to the games we will be playing over the second week of our Spring Break. In Florida, we will play St. Andrews, as well as Kent-Denver, one of Colorado’s best teams. We will then travel to Philadelphia to play Germantown Academy. Episcopal (Pa.) and the Katie Samson Invitational are the two other big out-of-state tests we’re looking forward to. In our league, we have our usual slate of tough games, highlighted by home games against Deerfield and Salisbury.

What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Will Driscoll, our goalie, is primed to have a great season for us in his first year starting. He has been on varsity for three years and has waited for his opportunity and he is ready to go. Brian MacFarlane, a senior LSM, quietly had a great year last year and will be counted on to shut down teams’ top midfield threats this year. Another player looking to make a big impact is John Baker, a junior defenseman who transferred from Darien this year.

What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
Our offense returns five out of six starters from last year and looks to be potent. Led by senior attackmen Bo Stafford (Georgetown) and Conrad Oberbeck (Yale), as well as junior midfielders John Kelly (Georgetown) and Billy Heidt (Dartmouth), our offense will have the ability to score in bunches. Our transition game has traditionally been one of our strengths and we’ll look to continue that trend this year.

How do you think your team and some of the teams you play each year compare to the premier public school teams from the region talent-wise and otherwise?
I think that anyone who has watched one of our games knows that our league stacks up with any in the country. Every year our league is loaded with some of the best talent in the country and every game is highly competitive.

While the PG issue is always hotly debated, there is no question that they create a deep talent pool and as a result, players from our league are well prepared when they make the jump to the next level.

One thing that I think sets our league apart is the amount of multi-sport athletes each team has. If it’s not a lacrosse PG you’re going up against, it’s a hockey recruit, or a football recruit, which makes for a faster overall game. It’s a shame there are scheduling restrictions because we would welcome the opportunity to play more of the top public schools from the region.

* For background info on David, click here.

Brunswick 2011 schedule

MARCH

Wed    23                    St. Andrew’s (in Florida)                                2 p.m.
Sat       26                    @ Germantown Academy (PA)                     12 p.m.
Wed    30                    Open

APRIL

Sat       2                      Deerfield                                                         6 p.m. (tentative time)
Tue      5                      @Episcopal (PA)                                            4:15
Sat       9                      @Loomis
Wed    13                    Taft
Sat       16                    Salisbury
Mon    18                    @Gunnery
Wed    20                    OPEN
Sat       23                    @Hotchkiss (Alumni Weekend)
Wed    27                    Lawrenceville
Sat       30                    Downingtown Town East (PA) @ Katie Samson Lax Festival ­in Philadelphia

MAY

Wed    4                      @Choate
Sat       7                      @Westminster
Wed    11                    @Avon
Sat       14                    TP or Millbrook
Mon    16                    Millbrook or Trinity-Pawling
Wed    18                    @Kent
Sat       21                    @Berkshire

* For schedules for teams from throughout the region, be sure to check out the “Schedules galore” thread, and scroll down to the comments portion for the most recently released schedules.

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Posted In: Fairfield lacrosse, Player's perspective

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19 Responses to “Player's perspective: Brunswick's David Better, senior defenseman”

  1. slacrosse says:

    Good content but his information about their league being “set apart” because they have more multi-sport athletes is tremendously inaccurate!

    I give Bwick alot of credit in putting out high quality teams (w/o PG’s) that compete with prep schools with PG’s. They have a good academic draw and do a great job in recruiting top kids particularly from Fairfield county. They should play more local high schools other then Greenwich. What are the “scheduling restrictions” mentioned?

  2. Joe Lombardi says:

    slacrosse -

    While there are multi-sport athletes at other programs, including, of course, Rye, for example, David is quite right. Few, if any high school leagues, have the volume of talented multi-sport athletes you will find in the Western New England League. In fact, the WNEL also has many three-sport athletes, which is extremely rare.

    As for the scheduling restrictions, the large number of league games prevents many crossovers. Playing Greenwich as their crossover is obviously their No. 1 priority. It’s a heated rivalry for obvious reasons.

    • slacrosse says:

      Joe,

      We’ll have to agree to disagree big time on this. All the information I’ve read over the yrs from a wide range of lax publication sources, roster details, etc, etc. clearly show, at least to me, that in the tri-state area and NATIONALLY the vast, vast preponderance of lax players on teams are multi-sport athletes!!

      • Joe Lombardi says:

        Actually, we do agree. That statement is definitely true. I was just saying that it is also indeed true you will find even more multi-sport athletes in the Western New England League than other leagues in the area, and a good number of three-sport athletes. I had initially thought you were disputing that fact. Yes, absolutely true about multi-sport athletes playing lax. I’ve talked about it many, many times, of course.

        • slacrosse says:

          Joe,

          Sorry but guess we’re still not on the same page. I’m saying that WNEL does not have more multi-sport players then other leagues in the area. Would need to see numbers pointing to Bwick, other WNEL schools having more multi-sport lax players then Darien, Greenwich, New Caan, Town, Jay, Mahopac, etc, etc, etc. Maybe the actual numbers support your case but I don’t see it.

          • Joe Lombardi says:

            Slacrosse,

            It would be difficult if not impossible to get stats on that. But I think David’s main point, is that in the WNEL, there are so many multi-sport standouts (many of whom are playing other sports like hockey or football in college). So that you not only go against top lacrosse talent but top athletic talent all-around. I think that’s completely true.

            A good barometer may be to ask, what lax standouts from other leagues or sections are playing hockey or football in college? So the point is, partly because of the PG factor, you not only go against premier lacrosse players but so many premier athletes in general. I think that was the main point and I agree with it.

  3. NYmike says:

    For my two cents – you are talking about boarding schools that are essentially Jr. College programs athletically, and many (most?) of their athletes go there for a specific sport, then use other sports to cross train, as their specific sport will hopefully be the bread and butter to a top college, along with the academic rigor these schools provide – but, the sport aspect makes these kids standout to the big time academic/sport schools that they otherwise may not have access to, one without the other (academics and athletics). Then there are issue with PGs and Deerfield has had major problems with that among their peers to my nascent understanding. But reading through the Player’s Perspectives on the blog, the preponderance of top Laxers are mutli-sport athletes – and I am sure that every one, to a man, can’t wait to leverage and devote, finally, all of their athleticism to one sport in college and to one goal, no matter the level – 1) a conference championship, 2) a seed in the national championship, and 3) a ring.

  4. Lax Novice says:

    Congrats to David on his achivements and best wishes for a successful senior year. I’ve known his Dad for a number of years and am happy for him that David is so poised and prepared for the next stage of his lacrosse and college career.

    Regarding the three-sport question, it’s simply a matter of numbers that the prep schools need to have more multi-sport athletes than the standard public school. Salisbury has 305 students total, from first year through PGs, for example. David Better is one of 84 seniors at Brunswick School. So participation in a different sport each season is a requirement, and a part of the culture of these institutions.

    It should be noted that Brunswick is at a distinct disadvantage as a day school competing against the boarding schools in their league. The profile of Brunswick’s student body is, generally, limited to families in the tri-state area, with many coming from the Town of Greenwich itself. Compare that to a NE boarding school that is attracting students from around the US and internationally, in addition to the presence of post-graduates who are using a 13th year at the behest of their future college to grow academically as well as athletically, and you have quite a structural difference in the makeup of the student body. It’s to Brunswick’s credit that they choose to compete in the same league with schools with these inherent advantages.

    Lastly, we are fortunate that at the present time boys lacrosse on the public school level is still a viable road to compete on the NCAA level. In hockey, for instance, other than the Minnesota HS system the path for US players to compete on a Division 1 level is principally the boarding school route, and the Founders League (of mostly the same schools that make up the NE West in lacrosse) in particular serves as the gateway to NCAA hockey in New England. For all of lacrosse’s reputation among the general public as a sport for elitist preppie rich kids there is much more direct participation from the public school ranks than in either basketball or hockey on the college level. The question is will the relative lack of growth of lacrosse on the NCAA level relative to the significant growth in youth players lead to an increase in offers being made to older prep school graduates. Will the demonstrated increase in recruiting HS sophomores and juniors eventually lead to a presumption that a PG year at a private school serve as a de facto redshirt year before joining the college ranks? How would the introduction of the 20-year old freshman impact the strategies and quality of the college game? For now, thankfully, those are questions for years down the road.

  5. NYmike says:

    Lax Novice – I humbly bow to your excellent post. A PG year and a redshirt year creating a 20 yr old freshman, certainly bad for the sport in college. A nice thing is the sport’s move west and if only the Big Ten and the ACC could get buy-in from all conference schools (men’s and women’s) in the next 5 years, coupled with the national talent pool growing, it would mitigate the need for the silly 10th grade and younger recruiting that seems to go on that is injurious to the sport in my opinion. And did MML actually draft underclassmen this year?? Not a good thing.

    And yeah, not wanting to co-opt David’s accomplishment! Discussion better left to another thread. Good luck at Yale!

  6. HV Lax says:

    No question about Brunswick having a higher percentage of multi-sport average than the average HS lax team, which is also a very high percentage. With all due respect to slacrosse sounds like his beef is with Brunswick not playing his beloved Rye.

  7. Bruins Lax says:

    The league schedule doesn’t allow much room for crossovers for Brunswick. May Rye and Brunswick can scrimmage because they’re so close?

    • slacrosse says:

      Yeah would be nice. Dedomenico of Bwick played with some Rye kids on the HV team this past summer. Good kid and player (FO,Middie).

  8. slacrosse says:

    HV Lax,

    Would luv to see it but no prob with Bwick not playing Rye (I’m happy with us playing Greenwich this season). Just would like to see them play a few other HS (inc LI) in the Met area other then Greenwich. Much more competitive game for them to travel 20 minutes and play Darien vs going to Philly to play Germantown. Realize there are scheduling issues/restrictions.

    • goldcoastlax says:

      slacrosse,

      there is no lack of initiative on brunswick’s part in terms of scheduling…they have tried to schedule darien every single year but like you said, darien feels the need to go down to philadelphia instead of playing in what would surely become a great local rivalry. as for the new york publics, they are not allowed to play brunswick due to the fact that brunswick plays in a league with PGs

      • slacrosse says:

        Interesting. Yeah thx for reminding me about that NY rule. Ridiculous!! So what if Bwick plays PG schools as long as BWICK does not have PG’s. Leave it up to NY sports admin to screw another thing up!

  9. I-95 Lax says:

    Lax Novice’s point about the ratio of multi sport players at Brunswick is right on the mark. It’s pretty impressive too actually.

  10. B-Lax says:

    Great job, David. Good luck this season!

  11. HV Lax says:

    See what you can learn on this blog slacrosse? I forgot about that silly rule too.

  12. immondils says:

    God, life changes faster than you think.

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