After coming off of a loss in the state championship last year to EGR, the varsity boys lacrosse team looks to redeem itself. Senior captains and four-year varsity players Bryce Clay and Patrick English look to lead the way for the Rangers, along with key returning juniors Tate Hallock, Luke Majick, Logan Wedder, and seniors Kyle Basch and Andy Trapp. The Rangers will be a very experienced team even with losing 13 players and head coach Patrick Clay after last year. Clay spent one year at the helm before stepping down and handing it over to Andy Shira. Shira has been on the Ranger lacrosse staff for five years but now will be the one in control.
“The experience of our top guys is definitely our strength,” Shira said. “Almost all of our starters from last year are returning this season, and we have senior leaders like Bryce Clay and Patrick English on the offensive end of the field who have been on the varsity team since they were freshmen, so I’m really looking forward to them leading the younger guys.”
This season Shira has several goals for the team, and he says they are no different than in the past: be conference champions, regional champions, and compete in the state championship. All the coaches also try hard to teach the guys lessons on and off the field.
“One major strength of this team is our offense,” Patrick English said. “We really have a lot of guys who are able to score and create offense this year. All of us have been playing together for a long time now and really understand each others’ playing styles. The most we have to work on as a team is just staying consistent.”
There are plenty of things to look forward to for this team, including a road trip down to Indianapolis early in the season to play two games. Bryce said that this trip is really good for the team because it is always fun and there’s even better competition.
“It’s nice for the guys to get away early, stay the night with all of their buddies on the team, and learn more about each other individually and as a team,” Shira said.
A big game the players are looking forward to will be against Brother Rice, a historic rival.
“We’re fortunate enough to have Brother Rice on our schedule this year,” Shira said. “I know all the guys are looking forward to that game to have a chance to knock them off, but to do that we just have to make sure we’re taking it one day at a time and not taking any days off.”
Although the team has many strengths that will propel them through this season, they also will face some obstacles along the way. Coaches and players will not only be looking up to the returning starters but also looking for the new guys and underclassmen to step up and take on a role within the team.
“Our depth at certain positions is a question,” Shira said. “With so many guys on top who have been around for years, some guys who might not have seen as much time [on the field] in the past are now going to be called upon to step in and contribute.”
The Rangers’ first game is on Wednesday night against Reeths Puffer. The offseason work and training has been accomplished and now it is time for the team to get together and show what they can do.
“The team is going to look phenomenal this year. The guys are excited to get out and play someone other than ourselves, and as coaches we are excited too,” Shira said. “A lot of guys have put in a ton of work since the end of the season last year and we can tell it’s already paying off for their individual skills, which will ultimately boost the entire skill of the team. Whether we win or lose, we have to remember to always play as a team.”