It took Connor Mooney quite the trip to get to Williston, but now that he’s here, he plans to stay.
Connor Mooney’s story begins in Wilbraham, Mass, where he grew up and was first introduced to the game of lacrosse. His father was the head coach at Minnechaug Regional High School, where he coached for 27 years. Mooney says that he “learned quite a bit from him as well as other mentors” and that he “had some knowledge of Williston as a program.”
The next stop on Mooney’s lacrosse story was the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he had a successful career, becoming the captain, an All American, and a Scholar All American. He would graduate in 2014 and go onto coach DIII Lacrosse at Western New England University.
In his two years at WNE, Mooney coached five Offensive All Americans who helped the team secure the 2016 conference championship as well as an NCAA Tournament appearance. After this, Mooney moved to coach with 3d Lacrosse, where he now coaches several of their teams, as well as running tournaments, clinics, and leagues in the Western Massachusetts and West Hartford, Connecticut areas.
What brought Mooney to Williston was the sense of togetherness he felt the moment he stepped onto campus.
“I could feel the sense of community, and it was something I wanted to be a part of,” Mooney said.
Mooney is taking over the head coaching spot from co-head coaches Chris Dietrich and Andrew Syfu. Both Dietrich and Syfu will stay on as assistant coaches.
“Chris Dietrich and Andrew Syfu have done a great job leading this program for the past six seasons,” Mooney said. “I would like this program to compete with the top schools in New England,” he added.
The Wildcats are defending a Class B League Champions from last year.
“I have high expectations for this team, led by a great group of seniors,” Mooney said. “Captains Rob Champigny (Rollins), Mason Balch (Bryant), and John Kilcommons (RIT) have lead the right way and made my job a lot easier in my first year,” he said.
“We have strong returners on the offensive side of the ball where we will be looking towards some younger players to step up,” he added. “Gavin Girardin ’19 and Noah Brooks ’20 are two players whom we will be counting on. Kevin Talbot ‘20 is an excellent faceoff specialist for us who has done a tremendous job. “
Mooney is pleased with the performance of the defensemen as well.
“We have a lot of new players on the defensive side, but have been working hard together as a unit,” he said. “Sam Milnes ’18 and Mike Janocha ’18 will be our primary goaltenders for this season. Max Livingston (Wooster) is a leader of the defensive unit, with other players continuing to improve throughout the season.”
The new coach acknowledged the tough schedule the team faces.
“We have a challenging slate of games and being defending league champions the target will surely be on our back this season,” he said. “I was very pleased with the work ethic of the boys in this preseason and look forward to seeing them in action this season. I’m lucky to have this opportunity and I’m looking forward to leading these boys into the upcoming spring season.”