Senior Bradlee Lord cradles the ball during a lacrosse game against Radnor on April 19. The boys won 7-4 and currently have a record of 8-2. Photos: Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE
As the boys’ lacrosse team takes the field, it is obvious that they are in sync. Watching the perfect passes and shots on goal, it is easy to see how this team ended up becoming Under Armour’s top-ranked high school boys’ lacrosse team.
The team has enjoyed tremendous success recently, with back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011, after being named runner-up in 2009.
With 37 athletes, the lacrosse team is not only a competitive team, but also one with a close-knit environment.
“We have a big team and I think the seniors do a good job of integrating the younger players into the culture,” head coach Brian Samson said. “We work hard but still have a lot of fun. It’s a competitive team, but they really enjoy the game and they work really hard to support each other.”
This support is not only seen on the field, but in the team’s other activities. Like many athletes on ’Stoga sports teams, the boys often meet up for a pasta dinner or even to grab a slice of pizza after a tough loss. After a recent 11-12 loss to New York’s Garden City School, the entire team went out to Bravo Pizza to share a meal.
“The team is like one big family,” senior Connor Frisina said. “We all hang out together outside of the lacrosse field, which is why I think we have a lot of success.”
For many players, there are even tighter ties between teammates. While there are no brothers playing together on this year’s team, there have been many families that have played under head coach Samson.
“It’s been nice to know the kids and know their families for a long time,” Samson said.
Sophomore Pierre Atkinson sprints down the field during a lacrosse game against Radnor on April 19. The boys won 7-4.
The family tradition of lacrosse can be traced back to elementary school for many, with local leagues opening around second grade. Many lacrosse players were introduced to the sport by following in the footsteps of their older siblings.
“You weren’t supposed to start until second grade,” senior Jordan Klunder said.” But my older brother was in second grade at the time and my mom found a loophole. It was Bradlee Lord and I as the only kindergartners in the league because we were playing with our older brothers.”Because these athletes get such a young start, they are skilled veterans by the time they reach the high school level.
With 22 seniors, the team has the maturity, depth and experience for another successful season. However, Samson said it will not always be an easy road to victory.
“We try to tell them that it’s just the icing on the cake,” Samson said. “It’s nice to be recognized for our accomplishments, and it’s something they are proud of. But at the same time, they understand that it comes with a lot of hard work, and to maintain that status they will have to continue to work hard.”
With the support of their teammates, ’Stoga lacrosse players plan to continue working hard in order to achieve their overall goal.
“We all have the same goal, which is winning the state championship, so we try to focus on that as much as we can,” Frisina said. “Our team definitely has the players to be the best team in the nation, but I think we still have a lot to prove and to work on to get there.”