Holderness School’s Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team just finished an historic, undefeated season in which they went 17-0, won the NEPSAC Lakes Region Championship, and had all three coaches named USA Lacrosse Coaches of the Year.
Led by Head Coach Justin Simon ‘04, a highly respected figure in lacrosse coaching, the team consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic, exceptional teamwork, and unrivaled sportsmanship. The team averaged a stunning 14.82 goals per game and defeated rival Brewster Academy 13-9 in the NEPSAC Lakes Region Championship game. By the end of the season, the Bulls were ranked the 24th high school team in the country by Inside Lacrosse and the 6th high school team in New England by the New England Lacrosse Journal. The team also received the Northern New England Lacrosse League Team Sportsmanship Award, an honor rarely bestowed on such a high-performing team.
Head Coach Justin Simon attributes the team’s success to a roster stacked with 13 seniors - and a shared philosophy that placed the team above any one individual.
“Our mantra this year was key to our success. It was ‘We vs. Me,’” Justin says. “Whether it was the last person on our bench to our leading guy on the field, everyone bought it - which is hard to do with 32 guys. The ‘We vs. Me’ mentality was huge.”
The team boasted an exceptionally deep bench of talented players this year. A number of the team’s players received special recognition for their performance, including US Lacrosse All-American Hans Huber ’23, and Kaden Freelove ’24, named Northern New England Lacrosse League Defensive Player of the year.
Three of the team’s players also received All-NEPSAC recognition, including Huber, Kaden Freelove ’24, and Trevor Fox ’23. Players receiving All-NEPSAC honorable mentions included Dean Driscoll ’24, Emmett Harris ’23, and Chase Picard ’24.
Several other standout players on the team were named Lakes Region All-Stars, including Finn O’Hara ’23, Jackson Ehwa ’23, Nick Purnell ’23, and Lachlan Simmers ’23. Another player, Emmett Harris ‘23, was named a U.S. Lacrosse Academic All-American.
The team’s coaches were also recognized for their outstanding efforts this season. Head Coach Justin Simon ’04 was named USA Lacrosse Head Coach of the Year for the Northern New England region, while assistant coaches Duane Ford ’74 and Ian Casey were named USA Lacrosse Assistant Coaches of the Year.
”From a coaching staff standpoint, we showed up every day and we were organized, we were ready to go, and the guys made our team fun to coach,” Justin says. “I can’t say enough – Coach Ford and Coach Casey were a huge part of our success this year and their complete buy-in was important.”
And the team’s season isn’t over just yet. On June 13-14 they’ll travel to St. George’s School in Newport, RI for the High School Summer National Championship. The tournament will bring together high school teams from across the nation to play in a competitive environment against teams they wouldn’t see in their typical season schedule.
While the team graduated a large contingent of talented seniors this spring (eight will play at Division I colleges next year, and six will play for Division III schools) Justin is optimistic about the 2024 season. The team’s goal, he says, is to put their undefeated season behind them, and start from scratch.
“We bring back a very solid group of kids with phenomenal leadership,” Justin says. “We have four captains coming in that are going to take the reins and run with it.”