Due to heavy graduation losses, some observers might expect the Ridgefield High boys lacrosse team to take a slight step back this spring. Then again, the Tigers are the type of program that keeps generating skilled players capable of replacing the skilled players who have left.

Ridgefield finished 16-5 last season, losing to New Canaan in the FCIAC semifinals and Darien in the Class L state semifinals. But gone are many of the main players, including midfielder Peter Dearth and defenseman Chase Levesque, whom both made the All-FCIAC and All-State first teams and were named to the Connecticut All-American squad.

Nevertheless, veteran head coach Roy Colsey likes what he has seen during the pre-season.

“We have some solid pieces and just need to develop an overall identity,” said Colsey, whose team starts the season tomorrow (April 6) at Danbury. “[The] pre-season has been great with the boys working hard and earning their spots.”

Five of those spots belong to returning starters: Senior attackman Drew Fowler, senior midfielder Chris Costello, junior midfielder Greg Gatto, junior long-stick midfielder/defenseman Luke Gaydos, and junior defenseman Noah Isaacson.

“Drew Fowler leads the offense as our lone returning attackman … his overall field awareness and leadership is critical to our success on the offensive end of the field,” said Colsey. “Last year's FOGO, Chris Costello, will also stay on the field and play some offense this season as he is very athletic and shoots the ball extremely well.

“Greg Gatto is one of the best midfielders in the state, as is Luke Gaydos at LSM/defense,” added Colsey. “Noah Isaacson leads the defense with his gritty, unselfish play and excellent ground ball ability.”

With leading scorer Schuyler Blair and Mark Galione both graduated, juniors Dawson Muller and Reid Kagan move into the starting lineup to join Fowler on attack. “Dawson Muller has looked great (during the pre-season) breaking down his defender, while Reid Kagan has been great as an inside/crease player,” said Colsey. “Attack looks to be a nice mix as they move the ball well and are very unselfish.”

At midfield, sophomore Weston Carpenter will start alongside Gatto and Costello on the first unit. “Gatto will garner a lot of attention from opposing defenders and should create some open space for Carpenter to score some goals,” said Colsey. “Wes has had an excellent pre-season and we are expecting big things from him.”

Senior Seth Boehle and junior Michael Dobson team with Isaacson on close defense, and sophomore Daniel Parson takes over as goalie after serving as a backup for most of last season. “Parsons should be solid in goal; he had won the starting job by the end of last season as a freshman,” said Colsey. “We are fortunate to have an excellent goalie behind him in junior Malcolm McGrath.”

Also expected to contribute right away are two freshmen: Short-stick defensive midfielders Luke McGarrity and Ray Dearth. “Both of these guys are super athletic and will lead the transition from defense to offense with great speed and field vision,” said Colsey.

Notes: The Tigers’ first home game is Saturday, April 15, against Medfield (Mass.) at a time to be announced.

In addition to Medfield, Ridgefield has non-state games against New York teams Yorktown, Briarcliff and John Jay.