BERNARDSVILLE, NJ — The Bernards boys lacrosse team will open its 2021 season Tuesday at home against Gov. Livingston expecting to contend for a championship.
"We are going to be very good. We should be in the hunt for a sectional title and a group title," said 12th-year head coach David Brothers.
The Mountaineers will take the field with four, and potentially more, Division 1 prospects. They include senior midfielders Braden Fitzsimmons, who will play at St. John's University; Patrick Caldwell, who will play at Wagner; and Matthew Sardis, who will play at Johns Hopkins; and senior attack Zack Zukowsky, who is leaded to Lafayette.
As sophomores in 2019, Zukowski had 42 goals and 32 assists, Fitzsimmons had 40 goals and 13 assists, and Caldwell had 29 goals and 19 assists.
Bernards, which has a remarkable collection of athletes across all sports in its Class of 2021, has four senior standouts on the defensive side, as well: Mark Baumert, Evan Farlow, Gavin Chieff and Jack Gutjahr. Farlow is headed to Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, where he will play lacrosse.
"These players," Brothers said of his core of seniors, "are all very good (or) outstanding."
"We have an explosive team who can win faceoffs, we are very fast, have a very good defense and a solid goalie," Brothers said.
Junior Nick Paterno is the goalie. Other juniors who will play in the rotation should include midfielder Sean Doran and attack Harry Kauffman. Freshmen David Brothers, an attack, and Jake Caldwell, a midfielder are talented enough to break through this season, too.
There's such an abundance of talent that the coach felt no need to mince words about their potential ceiling.
"This was a championship group in eight grade, unbeaten as freshman and 13-5 as sophomores," he said. "These kids are fast and explosive. We're looking to win conference, division, section and group this year."
The rest of Somerset County and surrounding areas have been put on notice.