Leger Hoping to Return to The Lacrosse Tournament
By Christopher Tremblay
Last season, the Norwood boy’s lacrosse team found itself rather thin when it came to players. In fact, the Mustangs had only three bench players on the varsity squad, and instead of being able to develop those players they were instead thrust into the fire and forced to learn on the go. This year, Norwood will co-op with another town that had similar problems on the field, Dedham.
“The athletic directors and principals of both schools got together to put forth a varsity team that will not only have a varsity program, but a junior varsity program as well,” Norwood Coach Mark Nardelli said. “Eventually, the idea is to establish a freshman team as well giving the varsity team the ability to have a feeder program with athletes that know the game by the time, they reach the varsity level.”
Along with two players from Dedham, Norwood’s Kyle Leger will captain the squad through the 2022 season while looking to take the team back to the Division 2 South Lacrosse Tournament. The Mustangs were able to advance into the tournament during Leger’s freshman and junior campaigns but both times fell in the first round. In 2019, Norwood lost 11-5 to Sandwich, the number two seed and last spring was defeated 14-5 by Bishop Feehan, the number five seed.
“The co-op with Dedham this year is going to be interesting to see how two past rivals pan out as teammates,” Leger said. It’ll be a good change for the serious lacrosse players, Together we want to make the tournament as well as a run at the State Tournament. As a captain, I am hoping that I can help bring the team together with both sides playing as one.”
Leger began his athletic career at the age of four when he started playing ice hockey, but it was only two years later when he was introduced to lacrosse.
“I had tried baseball, but I didn’t like it because it was too boring,” Leger said. “Lacrosse was a lot like hockey, so I tried it out and fell in love with it.”
The now Norwood senior continued to lace up the skates in the winter but once the hockey season came to an end it was time to pick up his lacrosse stick.
During the sixth grade, Leger joined 128 Lax, a club team out of Needham where he played until he switched over to Gorilla Lax in Newton two years later. Taking part with a club team helped the Norwood native with his skills and competitiveness. Not only did playing for Gorilla help prepare Leger for his high school career, it eventually helped improve his skills enough to earn a position on a college lacrosse team come next year.
“My skills really took off playing for Gorilla and it got me to where I am today,” Leger said. “I started talking to schools last summer and then took a tour and did an overnight at Wentworth, where I eventually committed last November. Other schools had contacted me, but none had the program (Engineering) I wanted. They had a good lacrosse program as well as academics.”
Entering his freshman year with the Norwood varsity lacrosse team, Leger had no real expectation to see the field all that much, but following two Mustang injuries, he was elevated to play on a regular basis. Despite being thrown into the fire and playing at a much higher pace, the then freshman did all right for himself.
“It took me a couple of games to adjust as I definitely had to work much harder and improve my strength and footwork,” Leger said.
Leger was ready for his sophomore season, but never got the chance due to Covid shutting things down. Despite having no games to play, Leger kept himself busy with training assignments from his club team until things eventually got up and running again. In addition to his assignment, he also got into running the Norwood stadium stairs routinely.
After being denied a high school lacrosse season, he was more than ready for his junior year.
“Last year’s season was definitely a lot different than anything I have ever experienced,” Leger said. “Our roster was really short having only three bench players to sub out. It was a test to play four quarters with little to no help. By the end of the game, we were gassed having played a high intensity game with no time to rest.”
According to Nardelli, Leger is a sharp kid who is always hustling and puts forth a great work ethic.
“Kyle has been a solid foundation piece since he stepped onto the field for Norwood,” the Mustang coach said. “After games he’ll ask me what he could have done better. He puts a lot of work in studying the game. I give him the tools, but he does all the work. As a player, he commands more from me as a coach to push him.”
The Norwood long stick middie began his lacrosse career much like any incoming freshman; didn’t understand concepts but he learned, and by his sophomore season he knew what he was doing.
“Kyle came in raw, but you could see that he had the potential,” Nardelli said. “He was like any other young freshman. By his second year, he was absorbing things and then applying what he learned. I knew that he was a college bound player.”
As Leger gets ready to begin his final season at Norwood, he knows that this year the team will have extra athletes due to the merger with Dedham and is hoping that the squad can make a deep run through the tournament.
“I want to have a really good high school season while getting ready to play lacrosse in college, Leger said. “I’ve gotten stronger, bigger, and have become more of a leader this year and am hoping to help guide this team into the tournament.”