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Coach says boys lacrosse is 'better overall'



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Front row (from left): Trevor Dean, Garett Muscott, Louie Urban, Lars Joergen-Kotate, Dominic Regan, Alex Schlueter, Jared Tasch, and Marco Campagiorni. Second row: Austin Kreshock, Ryan Kimbrough, Nathan Tilley, Adam Bell, Alex Sorgatz, Noah Grove, Tristan Taraski, Fisher Stuk, Alex Waslowsky and Gavin Fritz. Back row: Coach Greg Normand, Garett Stuk, Tommy Churchill, Dominic Biolchini, Owen Bachusz, Scott Randall, Mitchell Scott and Ethan Duke. (click for larger version)
April 23, 2014 - It's been a tough start for the boys varsity lacrosse team being five weeks into the season and having only played one game due to poor weather conditions.

"I have a 16 game schedule coming back from the break, playing three times a week which means we don't get a lot of time to improve or practice, so that makes it tough," said Head Coach Greg Normand. "But we've been playing year-round and I think our kids have gotten a lot better. Like anything else when we play the games we'll see."

He did note that their season opener against L'Anse Creuse was a 5-4 win.

Normand said he has 19 returning players to the team who "bring experience."

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"They know a little bit better what we're trying to accomplish within our system and most importantly they're better players now," he said. "So, instead of having to teach catching and passing, I actually get to teach them how to play lacrosse within our system better."

Leading the charge are senior defensemen Dominic Biolchini and Owen Bachusz. "I expect Owen to have a really good season," Normand added. "He and Dominic are our mainstay defensively. They are the ones who provide us with the biggest opportunity to win."

On the attack side, Normand is looking at junior Noah Groves who plays the "X-position," which is like the quarterback of lacrosse. Along with Groves will be Scott Randall who will be returning to practice this week after a broken collar bone and rounding out the attack will be Lars Joergens-Kokate in the crease.

This forms what I believe is one of the better attack units in the area," Normand added. "They've played in the system for a while so they've done very, very well."

Also on attack is freshman Gavin Fritz, who was the leading scorer in the first game, according to Normand. "That surprised the squat out of me," he said. "He's going to be a good edition to the attack side."

At Midfield Normand is looking to Austin Kreshock who is the face-off guy and leading scorer from last year. His linemate will be junior Nathan Tilley along with sophomores Ryan Kimbrough and Louie Urban.

"It's a pretty solid midfield," Normand said, who pointed out that they are "fortunate to have a great defensive midfielder" in senior Alex Schlueter.

"Alex is probably the grittiest kid on the team and provides us with great presence defensively," he noted.

Finally, a key essential on the defensive side is none-other than junior Goalkeeper Jarrod Tasch. "He has unbelievably quick hands, a very calming influence on the offense and defense and is just a good kid to have in the huddle, but mostly he's a good player," Normand said. He's not big but he's got the quickest hand of anyone I've had in awhile. When you have (good) goal tending you can do an awful lot of things."

Coming off an 11-5 season last year and second place in the league, Normand said they've stepped up a notch in competition after moving up to Division One this season.

"We've upgraded our schedule dramatically to play the kinds of teams that we didn't play before and we're increasing what we're trying to accomplish," he said.

As for the league, some have gone up, while the others aren't as good as they were last year, but he won't know until they play them. He sees West Bloomfield and Rochester Adams near the top.

Normand said the team's strength lies in the fact that they are better as a whole.

"There are no more projects on this team. There are no more guys that we're keeping and trying to make them play better. Everybody has been with me now three years and they can all play," he said. "All 25 guys on the roster can be on the field at any point in the game and that hasn't been true as we were building a program (in years past)."

The goal of the season is simply to "improve, learn the sport and enjoy themselves."

"Mostly I just want them to play better lacrosse," Normand added. "If you come to a game this year and watch the team I think you'll see a game of lacrosse that you haven't seen before because we can play now and I think that changes it."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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