(March 27, 2015) Worcester Prep boys’ lacrosse Coach Kevin Gates can see the possibilities.
“There’s a ton of potential. If we can put things together we can be pretty good,” he said. “If we can get everyone healthy and playing together this could be one of the best offensive teams I’ve had.”
The attack and midfield is deep with talented players.
“If everything falls into place, the offense can be very good,” Gates, now in his 13th season as head coach, said.
Leading the attack/midfield will be junior captain Wyatt Richins, the 2014 Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
“He’s like a coach on the field. He’s a smart kid and a great leader,” Gates said.
Richins also earned ESIAC First Team accolades and Metro Independent Lacrosse League First Team honors.
“I’ve just been trying to mentor some of the younger guys and get them up to speed with what we like to do around here, just getting everybody to buy into our system,” said Richins, a three-year varsity player. “We have a lot of new sophomores, freshmen and a couple of transfers. Everybody’s been learning and I think it’s going well.”
Richins tallied four goals and an assist in Worcester’s 15-1 season-opener victory over the Wi-Hi Indians in Salisbury on Wednesday. Freshman Tucker Brown (attack/midfield) logged three goals and three assists. Sophomore Patrick Petrera (midfield) recorded three goals and an assist. Sophomore midfielder Reid Carey scored twice and scooped up six ground balls.
Junior Ross Dickerson (2014 ESIAC First Team, MILL Second Team), an assistant captain, won 15 of 17 face-offs. He also had a goal and an assist.
Goalie Wade Walter, a junior, and senior Will Pedigo (short stick defensive midfield) are also assistant captains.
“I think we’re going to be great this year. We’re definitely strong on offense. We need a little work on defense, but definitely we’ll come around and have a strong, solid defense,” Walter, a three-year player, said. “I’m just going to try to be a wall in the goal … I’m excited to be on a good, solid, winning team.”
Walter stopped eight Wi-Hi shots. Ali Khan, a senior, made one save.
“We played sloppy at the beginning, which I kind of expected,” Gates said. “They were so fired up to play. They were anxious to score. There was a lot of anticipation.”
The Mallards scored two goals in the first quarter and two in the second. The boys settled down in the second half and tallied four goals within the first two and a half minutes of the third quarter.
“We were more relaxed in the second half. The guys started to find their groove,” the 2014 ESIAC Coach of the Year said.
Twenty-nine players make up the 2015 squad. Ten are varsity veterans. Last season they helped lead the team to an 11-5 record and its sixth consecutive ESIAC title. The Mallards also competed in the MILL. They lost 15-3 to Calverton in the semifinal round.
Returning on offense with Richins and Carey is junior Staton Whaley (ESIAC Second Team) and sophomore midfielder Carter Hill.
Defensive midfielder (short stick) Owen Nally, a sophomore, and defensemen, sophomore Max Bisaha (ESIAC First Team) and juniors Mike Brittingham (Honorable Mention) and Jordan Osias (Second Team) are also back to compete.
A number of freshmen and sophomores are a welcomed addition the squad this season.
Joining Brown on the attack or in the midfield will be fellow freshmen Sam Cantello, Brendan Miller, Jack Fager, Porter Bunting (long stick) and Reid Odachowski, and sophomore Flynn Mullins.
Freshmen Josh Bredbenner and Matt Wilson will play defense.
Also new to the team are juniors Noah McVicker (attack), Reece Brown (defense/attack), Jason Cook (midfield) and sophomores Spencer Copeland (defense), Trent Marshall (attack/midfield), Rayne Parker (long stick/goalie) and Brad White (defense).
“We have a lot of new guys and it’s exciting,” Gates said. “They breathe some fresh air into the program.”
The Mallards are eyeing their seventh ESIAC championship and they hope to advance further in the MILL tournament.
“I think we’re going to take [the titles] this year,” Walter said.
March 27: Parkside, 4 p.m. (H)
March 28: Bullis, 1 p.m. (H)
April 2: Tower Hill, 8 p.m. (A)
April 7: Bennett, 4 p.m. (A)
April 8: St. Maria Goretti, 4 p.m. (H)
April 10: Calverton, 4:30 p.m. (A)
April 13: Salisbury School, 4 p.m. (A)
April 17: Gunston, 4 p.m. (A)
April 20: Indian River, 4 p.m. (H)
April 22: Salisbury School, 4 p.m. (H)
April 24: St. Andrews, 4 p.m. (H)
April 25: Roosevelt, 1 p.m. (H)
April 27: Stephen Decatur, 5:30 p.m. (A)
May 1: Bishop McNamara, 5 p.m. (A)