Spring Sports Previews: Lacrosse
Jul 21, 2015 at 12:26 PM
Grand Haven’s varsity boys lacrosse team was fantastic last year.
If early-season results are any indication, this spring’s version may be even better.
Through two games, the Buccaneers have outscored their opponents, 30-3. Grand Haven opened its season with a 16-3 demolition of Mattawan, then followed that up with a 14-1 crushing of Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
“This was a great way to begin a very challenging season in which we are moving to Tier 1 with more talented competition,” Bucs’ coach Murle Greer said.
The Buccaneers are loaded with talent at several different positions. Leading the way is junior attack Trevor McNamara, who has nine goals through two games, including seven goals against Mattawan.
Backstopping the Bucs’ defense is senior captain Dan Gignac.
In between is a solid group of players including brothers Jeff Olson, a senior, and Matt Olson, a sophomore, in the midfield. That pair have dominated faceoffs for the Bucs early in the season.
Another pair of brothers, senior Matt Mulcahy and sophomore Nick Mulcahy, anchor the Bucs’ defense, along with Brody Smith.
Long stick middie Ryan Maguire has also played outstanding defense to start the season and is also one of the team leaders in ground balls.
The Buccaneers were Tier II champions last year. They’ll find the sledding tougher this season as they move up to Tier I, but Greer sees a lot to like about his squad, including a humble and hard-working attitude despite the early success.
“We are right where we should be, but we need to stay hungry and keep improving,” Greer said.
LAKERS OFF TO STRONG START
In their second year as a varsity team and fifth year overall, Spring Lake’s boys lacrosse team is off to a fast start, highlighted by a 10-9 double-overtime win against Zeeland. That win gave the Lakers a 2-1 record heading into a long Spring Break layoff.
“Going into our program’s fifth year, it is amazing where we started from and where we are now,” coach Doug Sharp said. “This year our lacrosse program is fielding 10 teams with over 200 Spring Lake kids playing lacrosse from fifth through 12th grade, both boys and girls.
“On varsity, we have begun making that transition from a team still learning the game to a team working on the finer points of the game. This is a finesse sport when played at a high level and our players’ lacrosse IQ’s are really beginning to understand the game.”
It helps that the Lakers return 17 players from last year’s team.
Four-year starter Jack McKeough is a team captain who will be one of the team’s top attackers this spring, while Collin Betten is also a four-year starter.
In the midfield, Harrison Palmer, Michael Tomaszczyk, Chase Slagboom, Zach Kennedy and team captains Cadan Kleinheksel and Adam Roberge are back for the Lakers.
Defensive standouts include Jackson Falkowski, Gabe Giddings and Cory Stratz, while Dan Zwart and Drew Carey will share time in goal.
New faces to watch for include Tucker Jenerou and Chase Palmer, along with Alec Palmer and Tyler Strandberg.
“After finishing last year at .500, we expect to be above that and we are off to a nice start with three games under our belt before Spring Break at 2-1,” Sharp said.
HAVEN GIRLS SHOW VAST IMPROVEMENT
A year ago, Grand Haven’s varsity girls lacrosse team was in major rebuilding mode, having graduated a majority of its players from the previous season.
This spring, the Buccaneers are reaping the benefits of last year’s growing pains.
The Bucs opened their season with a 17-1 win over Spring Lake, which is in its first season as a club team.
While that win won’t be indicative of the type of scores the Bucs will post against more established programs, it did show that there’s plenty of talent and athleticism on the field for coach Kim Vincent’s team.
“We’re trying to build a culture of being competitive,” Vincent said. “The kids are fit physically. They’ve really bought into it. They’ve been in the gym, working on speed as well as stick skills.”
Vincent listed senior Hillary Land as one of her top players this spring.
“She’s been on the team for four years, and she can play defense, offense, midfield. She’s great at ground balls. It’s been a real pleasure watching her play.
Lindsay Larkin is looking at playing at Sienna Heights next year. She’s really solidified our defense.”
Regan Rohrs is a feisty player for the Bucs, while Maddi Bryant is a solid contributor at both ends of the field. Stephanie Szymas is a senior captain in goal who switched from soccer to lacrosse last year and has made a huge impact.
“She’s a very dedicated athlete who works so hard at her craft,” Vincent said. “She’s a great leader with a good attitude.”
SL GIRLS DEBUT CLUB TEAM
Hannah Richter, a 2007 Spring Lake High School graduate, had never played lacrosse until she went to college and joined the team at Aquinas.
Now she’s back in Spring Lake guiding the Lakers’ club team.
“We had a middle school team last year, but still, only a handful of girls have ever played lacrosse before,” Richter said. “The girls are all very excited. They’re having fun.”