Last year, as a junior, Foxborough lacrosse goaltender Greg Stamatov led the Warriors on their deepest postseason run in program history with a senior-laden team.
This year, the senior netminder, who’s ranked as the nation’s 100th best Class of 2012 player by ESPNHS, is prepared to take the Warriors a step further – to their first-ever state championship appearance.
We chatted with the Villanova signee after the Warriors’ 10-3 win over Barnstable on Friday to talk about the new season:
Q: So catch us up on what you’ve been up to since we saw last lacrosse season. Seemed like a busy schedule.
A: It was a great summer, [with the New England Select Lacrosse League Whalers] we went to the Brine Shootout, a tournament at Rutgers, King of the Hill in Pennsylvania, and those were all really good tournaments. We came in second at the Brine Shootout and that was an unbelievable tournament. We upset Tri-State from New Jersey. We lost to Calvert Hall (Mary.) in the finals, but we beat Boys Latin (Mary.) and Haverford (Penn.). But it was a great summer and I got to see some serious rubber. I feel like I got a lot better and then, all winter, we’ve all been working since November, taking shots.
Q: You were among the Massachusetts contingent at the Warrior 40 at Harvard Stadium. What was that experience like?
A: “It was crazy. It was so fun. Everyone’s the same, but with a little hint of where they’re from, you know what I mean? Everybody became good friends, it’s a just a matter of everyone meeting everyone. It’s just crazy because the talent is so good. I saw a lot of great shots.”
Q: It looks like you once again have a very strong defense in front of you this year. How much of a goaltender’s success goes back to those poles?
A: “This year, the two returning players on defense are me and Al Noonan. We know the defense like the back of our hands. But our younger guys are fast and talented and they can grasp it real quick. We’ve got fast defensemen, but they can run anything and, with that kind of D, nobody can run inside of us. I think the strength of the team is our defense. If we’re playing good on the back end, then our offense can build off of that. We just want to get a quick stop and then get the ball down field. That’s the way to hurt another team. Then, we get to rest, and we’re fresh when they come back at us. I think that’s something that can take us far in the postseason.”
Q: Speaking of which, this team is coming off its furthest postseason run in program history. What did last year’s success mean to this program as a whole?
A: “That’s the best our town has ever done and that team was almost all seniors, but even with them being gone, we still know what we want to do, and that’s to go another round further, which would be the state championship. That was a crazy ride, and we beat some great teams. But now we know what it takes to get there as a group. That’s just going to set us up even better going into this season. It’s not the same guys, but it’s the same system, same mentality.”
Q: There have been a couple of early season Hockomock League surprises so far (Mansfield, North Attleborough), but how do you see the league playing out?
A: “It’s going to be an interesting year for sure. What do I think? … (Trails off.) I don’t know what to think. I guess I think that I’m ready for anything to happen. But we don’t change our game for anything depending upon the opponent. We have some different defensive schemes and different offenses, but when it comes down to it, it’s just all about hustling to loose balls and executing the systems … If we stick to our fundamentals, we’ll be able to stick with any team.”