The UAHS boys lacrosse team practice their offensive plays at a boys lacrosse practice. The team hopes to reclaim the title of Midwest champions, which was last earned in 2011.

Boys lacrosse team looks to improve, players express preseason expectations

by carlyTOVELL, ’13

The 2013 UAHS boys lacrosse team has it out for the shamrocks this spring season, as it is the first year the team is ranked under their local and Midwest region rivals.

The Upper Arlington boys lacrosse team came up one point short of their local rivals in the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Association tournament championship. The bears led at halftime against Dublin Jerome but lost 10-9. US Lacrosse Magazine highlights the bears’ downfalls last season in their preseason Midwest boys high school lacrosse regional rankings for 2013.

“Upper Arlington now aims to return to the state final four after missing out last year,” according to the report.

The UAHS boys lacrosse team lost to Jerome twice last season but still won the state tile. The team is currently ranked in US Lacrosse Magazine as fourth in the midwest with Jerome ranked third. The Midwest conference consists of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Senior captain Jake Nolan believes that this ranking could be a factor in helping the bears get back on top.

“It will give the team motivation to get better and keep us grounded,” he said. “I think last year the rankings were about the same, but there is a lot of political twist in some of those rankings, so more than anything I would say the lower ranking is better for us.”

Focusing on his goal to improve upon the pitfalls of last season from losing to Jerome in the regular season and at the Midwest finals, senior Grant Gould also has high hopes for the 2013 team.

“Our goals this year are the same as last year and every year really. That is to win the Midwest [high school boys lacrosse finals] and ultimately the state championship,” Gould said. “We are also competing in the North American Lacrosse Invitational tournament in Detroit with some of the top ranked teams in the nation so we’re striving to win that.”

The two upsetting losses last year have created more motivation for the team as a whole, according to Gould.

Although the team lost 12 seniors last year who had strong leadership roles for the team, Gould said this year the team will have strong returning players who will contribute in decisive ways both on the attacking and defensive ends.

“We lost a lot of players last year such as Tyler Pfister, Zach Powers and Eliot Allen [who] all play Division One lacrosse and were great leaders,” Gould said. “But guys such as Stuart Townsley, Kyle Roberts, and Justin Wick will step up this season.”

Returning to the game this season are senior captains Gus Ackley and Jake Nolan who look for key ways to improve their play. Senior captain Jack Warmolts will be returning in goal as a second-year captain. Nolan looks within the dynamics of the new 2013 team on and off-field, in order to achieve their goals for the upcoming season.

Gus Ackley

Senior boys lacrosse captain Gus Ackley prepares to throw the ball to a teammate at practice. The team’s first game is on April 3 at 7 pm against Dublin Scioto.

“Last year our team had really great chemistry and work ethic,” Nolan said. “The only thing we can do this year is just believe in each other and work as hard as we can day-in and day-out together.” Gould believes that the amount of preseason work the team puts in and how dedicated the players are to win the state and Midwest titles will contribute to the boys lacrosse team reclaiming their 2007 spot on top in the state and Midwest.

Along with each player’s individual work ethic, the bears will be gaining great new talent this year that can take them further than years past and continue with their preseason preparation.

“We have been playing for a couple months [preseason], with indoor once a week,” Gould said.

The boys lacrosse team also have continued with their intense preseason conditioning routines.

“We had lifting three times a week and morning running before school on Mondays and Wednesdays, so there is definitely a lot we have been doing to get ready,” he said.

By achieving its ultimate goal, this year would be the ninth (non-consecutive) year that the bears have taken home the state title under the direction of Coach Wolford. Pressures for the team may be strong but Gould said he and his teammates look for the support of the student body in the upcoming season.

“When other teams make it to state playoffs there’s a huge atmosphere [change], everyone is excited for [the team]… The support of the student body is [essential for] the team’s success.”