Worcester Academy Lacrosse Works to Improve On and Off the Field
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
“Coming into this season, our guys set two goals,” Worcester Academy coach W. Michael Mallett said. “The first one was to have a winning season and finish above .500. The other was, as the guys said, to ‘be classy,’ and that means to represent themselves and the school in the best way possible.”
Reclaiming Their Reputation
The team’s second goal came out some perceived ‘chippy’ play by the Hilltoppers over the past few seasons. Senior captain Nate Crowley believes the team is ready to put that in the past, and establish a new team identity.
“In the past few years, we’ve sort of gotten a bad reputation,” Crowley said. “There’s been some scrappy play and things like that. So, we’re just working toward representing the school in a better way and showing that we’re a smart and classy team.”
The Hilltoppers will have to be smart this year, as their roster lists only 18 players. They will have to manage the game well to make up for a lack of depth, and finishing games strong has been an emphasis in practice.
“We’ve just got to be smart and finish games,” junior goalie Dan Radel said. “We just have to minimize mistakes throughout the game. Don’t take penalties or turn the ball over, things like that. If we do that, I think we can have a good year.”
Program On the Way Up
The Hilltopper lacrosse program has only been around in its current form since 2002, the year Mallett was hired to resurrect a program that had not competed in decades. The team will break in its brand new turf field today as it opens the season at 4 pm against Lexington Christian Academy. Though Mallett is pleased with the direction his program is headed, he stresses that it is about more than lacrosse.
“The guys play because they enjoy playing the game,” Mallett said. “But, as a coach, you do it to provide an opportunity for personal growth and challenge. The things they learn last longer than those 60 minutes they are out there on the field.”
Worcester Academy will look for Radel to again be solid in net this season, and Crowley returns for his fourth season on varsity for the Hilltoppers at defense. While the defense returns some veteran bodies, the attack is being largely retooled this year.
Luckily, junior Sandro Secino has stepped up and become the Hilltoppers’ "go-to" attacker. He will have to play well, and raise the level of play of those around him if Worcester Academy is to meet their goal of a winning season.
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