Senior-led preseason practices build skill and unity for boys lacrosse

The boys lacrosse team wasted no time when it came to preparations this year. The team began preparing for this season not long after completing the 2014 season. Its preseason fitness regimen included agility and weight training, intensive training camps, and captain-led practices. As coaches cannot run practices before an official conference-mandated preseason time begins, captains and seniors on the team orchestrated much of this off-season work.

“We need to be in really good shape, we need to improve upon our effort, and in a lacrosse game we need to be sprinting the whole entire time, so being in-condition definitely helps,” said attacker Stephen Clark ’15. Clark and other players on the team worked together to stay fit and practice, improving newcomers’ as well as their own skills and introducing new players to the program.

Starting the season off with a 4–5 loss against Christian Brothers Academy, the team now has a record of 2–4. “[Our loss against CBA was due to] a lack of experience playing because we haven’t played a full scrimmage yet in the year,” said Co-Captain Joe Hawes ’15.IMG_1264

The unity built during preseason training has allowed the boys to establish cohesive relationships on and off the field, despite the fact that the team was not able to go on its traditional trip to Florida. According to Clark, the team is doing well without having had the opportunity to bond on a preseason trip, however there is still room for improvement.

“[The unity] has to be worked on: with so many sophomores they have to blend with the seniors and it takes a little while,” said Head Coach Peter Stanton.

An increased number of sophomores at the attacking end of the field who are new to the varsity level meant that it took time for sophomore players to develop the relationships that are needed to act as a cohesive team.

According to team members, team unity has been strengthened by the choice of captains. Unlike in previous years, all three captains are starting defenders. “[The seniors] are the backbone of our team—our team is built on defense,” Stanton said.“[It gives] our young offense a chance to develop the chemistry that they need.”

Having an experienced defense has given other team members an opportunity on the offensive end.

“All of our captains are on defense, so we’re lacking a little bit of leadership in the offense,” Hawes said. “We are looking for Chris [Diver] ’15, and maybe some of the younger guys like Rory [Helstrom ’16] to step up and take charge of the offense.”

The starters are comprised of many underclassmen, including Johnny Lopez-Ona ’17. Lopez-Ona scored four of the team’s seven goals in its second game against South Brunswick High School.

 

Stephen Clark ’15 (#14) and Rory Helstrom ’16 (#11) dodge Notre Dame High School defenders on April 10. PHS lost 9–8. photos: Catherine Curran-Groome

Stephen Clark ’15 (#14) and Rory Helstrom ’16 (#11) dodge Notre Dame High School defenders on April 10. PHS lost 9–8.
photos: Catherine Curran-Groome

Even with underclassmen on the team, there is a wealth of experience on the field. Co-Captain Jackson Andres ’15, Division I commit to Drexel University and an all-American lacrosse player, plays multiple positions, has scored seven goals already, and has had twenty-one ground balls in the first four games.

“For a lot of teams when a [defender] goes on offense [the opponents] are not really respecting him, [however] Jackson is one of the better kids on offense anyway so when they don’t cover him as well he scores every single time,” Lopez-Ona said.

The team’s goalie this year, Kenan Glasgold ’15, will attend Babson College this fall to play Division III lacrosse. “[Glasgold] always keeps everyone level-headed,” Lopez-Ona said. He had 152 saves last year and has been on varsity since his sophomore year.

This season, the team hopes to utilize the combined strengths of veteran players and newer recruits, as well as a heightened team unity, in order to end the season with a winning record.

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