While most of the other spring sports teams were practicing within the comfort of the VHS gymnasium, the boys’ lacrosse team was on Centennial Field practicing in the pouring rain. With their first pre-season scrimmage the next day against Randolph, the Hillbillies had no time to spare.
The boys’ lax team comes into the season very young but also very experienced. While the Hillbillies bring back only one senior, Captain Ian Garsman, they also return 6 juniors who all have 3 years of varsity experience.
Head Coach Marc Brien says that he has a team of talented lacrosse players but more importantly talented athletes and fierce competitors. The team is full of 2- and 3-sport athletes which Coach Brien says will only help counteract the team’s relative youth. Junior Captain Colin Farawell medaled in the State Wrestling Tournament this past winter, while Greg Schiffenhaus, also a captain, put up big numbers on both the ice and gridiron.
“The captains have done an unbelievable job. They let me handle the X’s and O’s and they take care of everything else. This team has some of the best work ethic and commitment I’ve ever been around. I asked the team to do 2 things to get ready for the season: Show up in shape on the first day of practice so that we don’t have to ease into things and secondly come into the season with some stick familiarity. They did both. Our stickwork was better on the first week of this season than it was on the last week of last year. We are capable of very successful season.”
Cooper Neale’s broken ankle has healed up nicely and should be close to 100 percent by the time the season starts. Jack Denton, Greg Keating, Max Kellun and Tom McManus were all cited as integral parts of the 2010 campaign. “This is a great group of kids. They just get it.”
The preseason has not been all good news however. Junior Marc Cortese blew out his knee on the first day of practice and will likely miss the entire season.
Taylor DelColle will assume the role of goalie for the Hillbillies. DelColle, who has never played goalie before this season, has some big shoes to fill taking over for graduated All Conference goalie Brett Radolski. Coach Brien is very pleased with Taylor’s progress. “Taylor has adjusted more quickly and smoothly to the position change than I could ever have hoped. He is making great strides and we are excited about him starting the year in net for us.”
The Verona boys will be competing in the newly formed Super Essex Conference. Coach Brien says that all the games are winnable but they could just as easily be beaten by any team in the conference. “We have to bring it to every game. If we bring it, we should be fine.”
The future of the boy’s lacrosse program looks bright with 44 players currently in the program and only one graduating senior. The Lax team opens up on April 5 against MKA at Centennial Field. Watch MyVeronaNJ’s Calendar page for the dates of all the games.