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Lacrosse cradles hope despite struggles

Posted By Maarten Van-Genabeek On April 14, 2010 @ 12:36 am In Sports | Comments Disabled

The Boys’ Lacrosse team began the preseason this month with the intention of reversing the program’s recent struggles, but early indications show that the squad will face more adversity than it has during the last three seasons. During this span, South has failed to qualify for the state tournament.

“We just didn’t do what we needed to, Head Coach David McCallum said of a main cause of his team’s hardships. 

The adversity is twofold; both a lack of offseason preparation and an injury-battered depth chart pose as the most difficult obstacles this year.

The team’s injuries and unconditioned state has led to the season being deemed as a rebuilding year by its coach.

For some players, the problems appear to be straightforward. “There is a lot more everyone could have done to prepare the season, junior Max Levine said.

Conditioning has been the number one problem for this year’s squad, prohibiting the team from shifting the focus to developing talent and fine-tuning skills.

According to Head Coach Dave McCallum, a significant percentage of the team did not lift weights throughout the offseason. “If we have five out of 20 guys lifting on our team, we cannot compete with teams who have 20 out of 20 guys lifting on theirs, he said.

Lifting is important, especially in a contact sport such as lacrosse, as strength can be a valuable asset on both offense and defense.

The overall fitness of the Lacrosse team has been a weakness, as well. Improving endurance, strength, and speed requires devoting valuable practice time to fitness and not to the sport.

“Coming into the season I did not expect to do as much running, but now we have to, McCallum said.

The offseason produced more woes that lack of preparation. The Lions must play without integral pieces of the team, including senior Nick Caggiano, and senior and captain Wil Mason.

Caggiano, whose broken collarbone, and Mason, who underwent wrist surgery, project to return to the field this week. The addition of both players hopes to serve as a spark for the team.

“The returning players should provide a big boost for the team for the rest of the season, Levine said.

The injury bug continued through tryouts, as junior Danny Baker broke his wrist while competing for a spot on the team.

“The biggest challenge will be lack of depth on our team, senior and captain Max Vasiloff said.

The platoon of skilled and experienced players was severely depleted when the Class of 2009 graduated the team’s top Lacrosse players, including goalie Tim Donovan, Joey Ives, AJ Koger, and two-year captain Dan Marks.

Replacing these Dual County League (DCL) All-Stars will be difficult to accomplish without depth.

The Boys’ Lacrosse team is not fortunate enough to benefit from having depth. “We lost a lot of starters from last year, so it has been difficult to adjust to a whole new team, senior Alec Sherman said.

Replacing Donovan, the team’s star goalie last season, has been a tremendous issue, as the Lacrosse team did not have another goalie waiting his the wings. “We didn’t have a goalie until the start of the season, so it has been hard for him [the goalie] and the team, Sherman said.

Gaping holes in the roster, and a lack of significant participation from the sophomore and junior classes, have opened up opportunities for the program’s freshmen.

Three freshmen currently play with the varsity squad, and many more hold starting positions at the Junior Varsity level.

“We have a very young team. The freshmen have been doing a good job, but it is definitely something they, and the whole team, have to get used to, Sherman said.

While the freshmen’s involvement may offer valuable varsity experience, the physicality of the game increases the risk of injury to underclassmen.

“It’s a shame when freshmen have to play at the Varsity level, McCallum said. “It’s not fair to put a 14-year-old against an 18-year-old. 
A big freshmen class, with players on junior varsity and varsity, means the Lions will have a lot of young talent to build on in the future. “The freshman class this year is extremely talented, Levine said.

The upperclassmen with varsity experience should serve as ideal role models for the freshmen.

“We have a group of good senior players and a couple a juniors who have varsity experience, Vasiloff said. 

The team is now working hard to regain lost ground during the preseason. “We are playing catch up to the other teams, Head Coach David McCallum said.

Lacrosse players have not written this season off yet, despite an 0-4 start.

“The team is discouraged right now because we just played four of the top teams in the state, but the upcoming schedule looks brighter for the rest of the season, sophomore Conor Minihan said.

The players are looking to put their struggles behind them and regain control of their season.

“We know that we screwed up in the offseason, Levine said. “We have to make sure that everyone stays positive and plays hard during games. The season isn’t over, and there are plenty of chances to make the tournament.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/lacrosse-cradles-hope-despite-struggles-2/

URLs in this post:

[1] Girls’ field hockey prepares for comeback season: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/09/24/girls-field-hocket-prepares-for-comeback-season/

[2] Lacrosse shoots for dominant defense: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/lacrosse-shoots-for-dominant-defense/

[3] Girls’ Basketball holds best shot at success: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/girls-basketball-holds-best-shot-at-success/

[4] Chemistry creates contenders: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/chemistry-creates-contenders/

[5] Transition year will benefit 2010 season: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/transition-year-will-benefit-2010-season/

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