Men’s Lacrosse Ready to Stick It to the Haters
by Israel Gomez
Although this year’s men’s lacrosse team had a bumpy start to their pre-season, the team is working hard to prepare for success in the upcoming season.
For many years, Michael Peet was the head coach of men’s lacrosse, but in Dec. of last year, the team learned he would not be returning for this season. He instead opted to take up a teaching position at Amundsen High School, leaving the team in quite the pickle a couple months before the beginning of the season. Captains were left with the task of both organizing and running all the conditioning, and then tryouts. Thankfully, Dan Applebaum, a player’s club team coach, took up the mantle last Monday and has since been working with the team as head coach.
Understandably, this coaching situation surprised some players. Some were worried the season would be in turmoil if the team could not adjust to their newly found coach; others were worried Applebaum would be too inexperienced to lead the team to a successful season. However, after only a week of practice with Applebaum, any and all worries from the team have been addressed. According to defensive captain Joseph Reynolds, Adv. 809, “All of the players definitely like this coach more and have adjusted almost immediately. He actually teaches us how to improve, and it’s easy for me to say that every player has most definitely improved for the week and a half the season’s been going.”
On top of Applebaum’s success with coaching in his first week, his arrival has also generated more interest for the team. He previously played lacrosse on a professional level, having once made it to the final round of tryouts for Israel’s lacrosse team, regarded as one of the best lacrosse teams in the world. This impressive background has motivated some new players to try out, and has assured veteran players that he is the real deal. According to Reynolds, “The coach is taking the team very seriously, and so is the rest of the team. We have a dress code, a daily lesson plan, new uniforms, and even with all of that we’re still able to have a good time.”
Hearing the team is having fun while working hard to improve is definitely a good sign of things to come. It is rather inspiring to hear that the team has such a positive outlook after facing the coaching dilemma.
However, the team cannot afford to get comfortable. A high level of rigor in their practices will be a key factor in helping the team reach their goal to be better than ever this year. They finished last season winning four out of nine games, which was a better performance in comparison to previous seasons. With a new coach and improved practice routines, the team is determined to make a mark this season. Reynolds said, “I’m feeling pretty confident about the upcoming season. I think our biggest challenge will be coping with our small numbers, as we only have about 17 people. We only need about 10 to field a team, but since it’s such an active game we’d need about 10 more to be comfortable with substitutes. We also will have to make a name for ourselves, as losing our coach definitely didn’t improve our already-tainted image.”
Whether or not people see the team’s image as tainted, the team is determined to wipe the slate clean and prove themselves, regardless of the ups and downs in their pre-season. When the program was in jeopardy, captains and players pulled through and took responsibility to make sure they were prepared for tryouts. It is this determination to overcome any challenges placed before them that may very well push the team to heights never before reached by Northside’s men’s lacrosse.