Last week couldn’t have dragged out any longer for Northwest High School boys lacrosse player Simon Michnick.
The senior entered the week just five goals short of the 100th of his career. Slowed by a knee injury, Michnick went without a goal in an April 15 game against Quince Orchard and scored three against Gaithersburg on April 17. He thought he’d have his chance on Saturday against Col. Zadok Magruder, but the game was rained out. Even the rescheduled contest on Monday was delayed because of a shortage of referees.
“It seems like as I get closer and closer, it’s till so far away,” Michnick said on Sunday. “I’ve definitely been putting a little more pressure on myself because I know I’m so close and I’m thinking about it every time I get the ball. But I try not to think about it.”
Even before scoring his 100th goal, Michnick was already the leading scorer in Northwest history and the senior attacker played a big role in turning the Jaguars into a division contender.
Northwest coach Dave Hafer first saw Michnick play eight years ago. Hafer said even then he knew Michnick could develop into a top player.
He said Michnick’s quickness, power and dodging ability are superb, but his intelligence is what really sticks out.
Hafer remembers teaching Michnick inside rolls and a combination move Hafer calls the Rocker Series. In the Rocker Series, players are taught a series of moves, each which builds on the previous move and is meant to slowly and consistently break down defenders. Michnick learned the sequence after one lesson.
“I’ve coached some great attackmen, including my son, and Simon got it in one try. He’s the only one to do that,” Hafer said.
Michnick hasn’t been dominating the scoring sheet this season like in season’s past.
In part, it’s because of a right knee injury which has been nagging him since spring break. He has been forced to sit out some practices and he had to chance his pregame routine because of the injury.
He missed the game against James H. Blake High School while competing in a national chess tournament, which Northwest won, in Tennessee.
As defenses pay more attention to Michnick, his teammates are also scoring more. As of Monday, Michnick shared the team lead in goals at 19 with Mark Wiley.
His presence helped particularly in a season-opening win against Poolesville High School.
After scoring three goals and drawing much of Poolesville’s defensive attention, Michnick used it to the team’s advantage. In the closing minute of the game tied at 11, Michnick went behind the net without the ball. When he moved out from behind the net, Poolesville’s eyes and bodies moved his way, allowing Zack Notari to score the game-winning goal.
Michnick had a chance to score his 100th goal against Albert Einstein High School on Tuesday. He entered the season knowing exactly how many goals he needed to reach 100, but the individual achievement is only part of what he hopes to accomplish this year. Only a deep run in the playoffs would make the year a complete success.
Playoffs weren’t even a thought early in Michnick’s career when the Jaguars were winning one or two games a season. Now, at 5-4, they have a program with a chance at making that playoff run.
“I’m going to miss him. I only have two or three more weeks with him and that’s not good,” Hafer said. “He’s just a solid kid. He’s the kind of kid where, even if [Winston] Churchill or somebody had him, you’d say ‘I’m going to have a role for this kid on this team.’ You’ll find a role for this guy. You’ll want him on your side. There’s no doubt about it.”