After conditioning and practice since late February, the boys lacrosse teams have high hopes for the coming competition. A lack of experience, however, could hinder their chances at a winning season.
With a varsity and JV team of five seniors, two juniors, 10 sophomores and 12 freshmen, the lacrosse program will take on the rest of its games as a pair of fairly young teams.
“We lost a couple of quality players [last] year, so we will just need to have some younger players step up and help fill the spots,” senior co-captain Shane Kuse said. “We have a lot of younger players that have potential, and they will just get better over time.”
After losing five seniors and leading scorer David Marley last season, the team has a lot to live up to. But the surge of new players who joined the team have been a positive addition to the returning athletes, sophomore Scott McAfee said.
Having the younger players “will give us a bigger bench, which we did not have last year by any means, and we really need one,” said McAfee, who is not playing currently because of an injury. “It’s a lot of running, and it takes a lot of endurance and stamina to play to the whole game, so you need a backup to come in every once in a while, which the freshmen [and new] sophomores could do.”
Last year a JV team with one substitute made it difficult for players to cool down. But with new team members playing the roles of subs predominately, the captains are confident in the possible accomplishments this spring.
“The most challenging thing is going to be making sure we are playing hard the whole game,” Kuse said. “I feel we can compete with any team, but if we slack off for even a couple minutes, it could decide the game.”
McAfee is unique in that he injured his foot the first day of practice before he could even participate in the playing season, when the majority of injuries occur. Right now the team needs every athlete it can recruit to avoid a shortage of players on the field.
Despite having one player already out for the season and the potential for injury that comes with the sport, Kuse’s outlook on what the Bruins can accomplish has not changed. Even with an experienced player on the sidelines, he believes the team’s strong and determined defense will still be the key to winning games.
“Our defense is going to be a strong point of our team this year. [Senior defender] Sam Kloeppel and [sophomore defender] Seth [Johnson] played well together last year and will only be getting better this year, [and] we have [senior] Jacob Whitt in cage who is a very good goalie,” Kuse said. “So our defense will give us a very good chance to win games this year.”
Despite a first game cancellation due to inclement weather and wet fields this past Sunday, the team looks forward to a game on Rock Bridge field this Saturday against Wentzville at 10 a.m.
But sophomore JV player Jeremy Cary fears for their first performance.
“Our coaches have been talking to us a lot about plays lately, and I think varsity is ready, but JV needs a lot more work,” Cary said. “Last year we lost against them, so I hope our numbers help us [because] we [have] a lot of freshmen and sophomores.”
Although Cary may have doubts, Kuse is holding out for a good season. Even though his long term goals for the season are to win state, he knows the team must start with hard work and focus during practices and future games to give the talented youth an opportunity to succeed.
“I believe that we are able to have a good season, but for now we just have to take it slow, put in the hours at practice and play hard in every game,” Kuse said. “If you are not trying to be the best team possible or win as many games as possible, then why even compete?”
By Kaitlyn Marsh