(March 29, 2019) John Moeser had a successful season leading the Worcester Prep varsity boys’ basketball program for the first time this winter. He is also the new coach of the school’s boys’ lacrosse team.
After 23 years as a teacher and coach at Calvert Hall in Baltimore, Moeser made the move to the Eastern Shore. When he interviewed for the boys’ lacrosse head coach position, he learned the basketball coach job was open as well. He was hired for both.
A handful of the boys on the lacrosse team played basketball for Moeser over the winter, which made the transition from one sport to the next a little smoother, because they knew what to expect from the new coach. He also knew some of the boys from subbing at Worcester.
“They know how I operate,” Moeser said. “They bought into the system and they’re playing well. They’re very coachable.”
Worcester alums Garvey Heiderman and Stephen Pappas, as well as Tom Incontrera, join him.
“It’s an experienced staff that’s been around the game,” Moeser said. “They know the game from the player and coach's perspective.”
Moeser said they are focusing on paying attention to detail and fundamentals and working to break bad habits.
“It’s the little things that will help you win games,” Moeser said. “There’s new drills and a new approach to things and they’re handling it well. We’re trying to maintain intensity in practice.”
Moeser has 26 players on his roster. Nineteen of them are veterans and are joined by seven freshmen this season.
Worcester went 6-6 last year. The Mallards earned the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference regular-season title. There was no ESIAC championship game last year.
Worcester also competes in the Metro Independent Lacrosse League. The team’s season ended in the MILL semifinals.
Moeser said the team has experience in the starting lineup, as five of the 10 are seniors.
“We’re going to depend on the upperclassmen,” he said.
The attack will be led by seniors, Moeser said, which includes Alec Dembeck, a captain, Owen Tunis and Jay Gosnear.
Dembeck finished second in scoring last year, with 22 goals. He also had nine assists. Dembeck received All-ESIAC honors. Tunis earned honorable mention accolades.
Sophomore Graham McColgan and the Moore brothers Dakin, a senior, and Brugh, a sophomore, will play in the midfield.
Moeser said the team is solid in the defensive end backed up by a strong goalie, sophomore Hunter Gentry.
“We have a lot of returning defensemen with field experience,” he said, including senior captains Cole Berry and Cooper Richins (long stick midfield). Freshman Brice Richins will also play defense.
“I feel like I’ve become a pretty good voice for the defense and our younger goalie, helping him step up and giving him and the younger kids some confidence in their game,” Berry said. “I’m able to see everything and communicate with the rest of the team on what’s happening, who’s going to slide [and] who’s going to guard who.”
Both Berry and Richins have been on the team since they were freshmen.
“I think I’ll be able to lead by example. Being around here four years, I know what it takes to win our conference, win games, and I think I’ll be able to help our team,” Richins said. “On the field my role as a long sticky middy, I’m playing a little bit of offense and a little bit of defense as well. I’ll be able to help out on both ends of the field, talking to our defenders, talking to our goalie and being able to communicate and work with our offense and face-off group as well.”
Richins, Berry, Gentry and McColgan were presented All-ESIAC honors for their performance during the 2018 season.
Richins was also named to the All-MILL First Team. Berry took home a Second Team award. Gentry and Dembeck received MILL honorable mention distinction.
Worcester gets into the swing of things fast a furious, with three games a week over the next few weeks.
“It’s been a good transition. It’s been fun,” Moeser said. “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to coach here. I’m looking forward to [the season].”
The Mallards hope to lead the ESIAC this year and advance to the MILL championship game, which they have yet to accomplish.
“Getting a MILL championship, that would be a cool experience to be the first team to do that,” Berry said.
“I’m really excited. I think it will be a great year,” Richins added.