The Montclair High School boys lacrosse team’s record might not have been sparkling, but “development” was the operative word for the Mounties.

Montclair showed at times that it has plenty of potential, especially in a victory over Ridgewood. The squad came close to upsetting Bridgewater-Raritan in the North Group 4 state quarterfinals.

The Mounties finished with an 8-11 record. In falling to Bridgewater-Raritan, they almost took down the team that ended up winning the Group 4 title and reached the Tournament of Champions semifinals.

"The season was tough at times, but the development that occurred from the beginning to the end of the year was impressive," said Montclair head coach John Diehl. "We had a lot of young players filling very important roles, and they were challenged all year, right from the get-go. The final product was impressive."

Montclair was tied with Bridgewater-Raritan in the final minutes, but the Mounties fell, 11-8. "We played great lacrosse in the quarterfinal of the states against Bridgewater, even though the result was not what we wanted," Diehl said.

 The team’s best victory was probably a 7-6 triumph over 11-win Ridgewood on April 21. "Our players stepped up at a critical point in the season and got a big-time win over a very respectable opponent," the coach said.

Seniors Solomon Brennan, center, and Konrad Miklaszewski (71) were named to the All State Group 4 teams for their work this past spring. Miklaszewski's work on defense earned him All State Group 4 first team, and Brennan was named to the Group 4 honorable mention list. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Seniors Solomon Brennan, center, and Konrad Miklaszewski (71) were named to the All State Group 4 teams for their work this past spring. Miklaszewski's work on defense earned him All State Group 4 first team, and Brennan was named to the Group 4 honorable mention list. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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Leading the way for the 2022 Montclair squad were three players who were named to the All State Group 4 team: senior Konrad Miklaszewski, senior
Charlie Schmitt and junior Luca Ward.

Miklaszewski was also named the All Super Essex Conference American Division defenseman of the year. He garnered an All NJILL Fitch-Pitt first-team nod.

"Konrad is an exceptional
defender. He earned All American and defenseman of the year honors for a reason," Diehl said about Miklaszewski, who will play at Yale University next spring.  "We will miss him."

Schmitt was a brick wall in goal against a tough schedule and collected both All SEC American second team honors and All Fitch-Pitt honorable mention. He averaged almost 10 saves and allowed seven goals per game.

"Charlie really became a verbal leader in all facets of the game,"
Diehl said. "He was a great presence between the pipes the past two years."

Ward led the Mounties in goals with 34, and the coach hopes for more in 2023. "Luca is the toughest player on our team, pound for pound," the coach said. “He had great games for us this year and was one of our leading point scorers. We will lean on him a lot next year and will expect him to lead the offense."

Montclair junior Luca Ward (77), shown firing a shot against Bridgewater-Raritan in the state playoffs, was named to the All State Group 4 second team as he led the Mounties with 34 goals. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Montclair junior Luca Ward (77), shown firing a shot against Bridgewater-Raritan in the state playoffs, was named to the All State Group 4 second team as he led the Mounties with 34 goals. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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Along with Miklaszewski, junior Ian Muchineuta was pegged for the All SEC American first team. Muchineuta notched 12 goals and 14 assists this past spring, but his versatility was his biggest strength.

"Ian rarely left the field this year," Diehl said. "He faced off, played
defense and offense. He will be a great leader next year, and we will expect a lot from him."

Another top player who will be missed is senior Solomon Brennan, who led the Mounties in points with 27 goals and 30 assists. Brennan racked up All American and All Fitch-Pitt second team honors along with All State honorable mention. "Solomon was a very consistent attackman for us," the coach said. "He is very balanced in his points and registered a point in every game this year."

One of the top up-and-coming players is sophomore Drew Pfeifer, who registered 21 goals and 11 assists. He, like Brennan, collected All American and All Fitch-Pitt second team honors while also garnering All State honorable mention. 

"Drew is a physical presence and had a very impressive season as a sophomore starting midfielder," Diehl said. "We will expect a lot from him next year."

In addition to Schmitt, Brennan and Miklaszewski, the other senior on the 2022 team was Seamus Podwoski.