Defending a Legacy: Boys Lacrosse 2017

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Addie VonDrehle

Black rubber flies as junior Harrison Gooley sprints back on defense. The opponent has the ball, and goalie junior Robbie Veglahn is wondering who’s man it is. Gooley sets up in a stance to take on his rival. “I’ve got one,” Gooley yells. Two body checks and a loose ball make for another stop by the lacrosse team’s defense.

Last season, the State winning defense was made up of almost all seniors, the exceptions being now-juniors Gooley and Zane Martin. Since most of Gooley’s playing time came in the last minutes of blowout games, he would be going from the occasional sub straight to the backbone of the defense.

Gooley knew that it would be a struggle to become one of the strongest players on the team, so he worked with Veglahn before the season to improve on his skills. Whether it was lifting in the Carriage Club weight room or throwing the ball on the tennis courts, not a day would go by where the boys weren’t focused on the season to come.

Making sure that his teammates kept their heads up when they made a bad play and were congratulated for making good ones was an important part of the bond between defenders. While it was their job to stop the goals, the boys also made sure to celebrate when a teammate scored one. 

“Every time the offense scores we each have our own handshake with Robbie,” Gooley said. “Obviously none of us ever score but when the team does we still get super hyped.”

Most every team learned to mesh on the field, so it was what happened outside of practice and games that made the Lancers stand out. Before each game, all the defenders would meet at a fellow defensemen’s house to watch film and talk. Studying formations and viewing pump-up videos reminded and prepared the defense for the task ahead. 

The entire team knew what it would mean when they lost their starting defensemen, but nobody knew who would be the person to step up and take control. Once the season came around though, it was clear who the front runner would be.

“Harrison has definitely stepped up this year,” junior Zach Yeo said. “He’s loudest on defense and always makes the hustle plays. He’ll be someone the coaches tell the younger kids to watch, just because of how hard he works.”

With Gooley’s leadership, a persistent team and one common goal in mind, it was the team’s hope that another State title would be possible. Gooley knew it wouldn’t come easily. He also knew that if any team was going to win a championship, it would be the Lancers.