Defense will be strength for boys lax
The Northwestern boys lacrosse team certainly opened eyes around the Lehigh Valley during its first season at the high school varsity level. The Tigers finished 6-10 and just a few games shy of a district playoff spot.
With the Tigers’ second year underway, head coach Marcus Janda is hoping postseason aspirations are obtainable this spring.
More than anything, he’s hoping to continue this upward trend of improvement and success.
The rotation will look a bit different without three key pieces to last year’s team. Cole Norman (44 goals and 9 assists) and Zach Anderson (31 goals and 8 assists) were the two leading scorers last spring and have graduated. Riley Nyce, meanwhile, was a steady presence on the defensive end of the field.
“As a second-year program, the goal is to continue to build and develop our program,” Janda said. “To establish a culture that our school and community are proud of, and to compete day in and day out no matter who the opponent is.”
That success will rely heavily on a talented and experienced defensive unit that returns plenty of last year’s key players. Sophomore Taylor Wikert led the team in ground balls a season ago with 83, while also scoring six goals and adding seven assists. Junior Reed Conrey (29 ground balls) will join him along the back to provide a formidable line.
In the midfield, senior Zach Rosamalia returns and figures to be a main scoring threat after tallying 24 goals and 16 assists in 2019. Senior attacker Jacob Dolansky (8 goals and 12 assists) and sophomore midfielder Drew Sabo (11 goals and 4 assists) also look to be in store for more scoring opportunities.
“We return three starters on the defensive end of the field, and we expect that group to be the strength of our team,” Janda said. “Our offense is relatively young and inexperienced, so our success will depend largely on the development of our offense and the performance of our experienced defense.”
Senior attacker Richard Rudolph is a first-year player expecting to play meaningful minutes for Janda. Cade Christopher, Austion Sosnovik, Ty Meck and Evan Anderson are freshmen expected to make an immediate impact as well.
Over the course of the first few weeks of practices, Janda and the Tigers have been working on their fundamentals and lacrosse IQ. He understands how important that is in taking the next step for this program.
“As is typical for a second-year program, we need to focus on gaining experience,” Janda said. “We talk about having a high lacrosse IQ on the field, and that is something that takes time to develop. The most experienced players on our team are still only playing their second season of high school lacrosse, so the players are constantly trying to learn and develop not only their skills, but also their knowledge of the game.”