With a new coach, only five returning players and a goalie who had never played a game in net, the Watkins Mill High School boys’ lacrosse team has all the ingredients for a rebuilding season.
But in spite of their youth and inexperience, the Wolverines opened their season with an 8-5 victory against Gaithersburg on Friday.
Dean Wess led Watkins Mill’s offense, registering seven goals and an assist, while winning 12 of 16 faceoffs. Senior goalie Jonathan Zuniga had a strong game, recording 12 saves in his debut in net.
“He’s the least of my worries,” coach Dave Hafer said of his first-year goalie.
Hafer said he was dismissed as Northwest’s coach after guiding the Jaguars to an 8-7 record last season.
He inherits an 8-5 Watkins Mill team that has “virtually no experience at many positions” — including two starters on defense that had never played varsity before — but his goal is to finish with a winning season, he said.
“I’m still learning what these kids can do,” Hafer said. “… They have to come out of nowhere.”
The Northwood boys’ team started its 2014 campaign with an 11-5 victory against Seneca Valley. Senior attackman Kevin Moreno, expected to lead the Gladiators in scoring, registered a team-high five goals in the win.
Northwood is coming off a 5-8 season in 2013 and has a combined 12-27 record over the past three seasons, according to LaxPower.com. With nine returning starters and just two seniors graduated from last year’s team, coach Steve Puhl said this is the best team he’s had since coming to Northwood.
“Getting to .500 this year I think is a realistic expectation,” he said.
It wasn’t a storybook debut for Thomas S. Wootton’s Shannon Holliday, but the competition should only get easier for the first-year coach after a 13-6 loss to Bullis School in the season-opener.
“We hung in there with a really great team and I’m very excited for the rest of the season,” said Holliday, the younger sister of Quince Orchard coach Jennifer Holliday Mohr. “I think that this could be a pretty good year for Wootton lacrosse.”
The Patriots went 11-3 last season and lost several of their key players to graduation, but also return some of their top talent. That includes Ellie Kobylski, who scored four goals in the Bullis loss, and her twin sister Cece Kobylski, who anchors the defense.
Look for freshman midfielders Kelly Schuler and Ilana Wolf to make immediate contributions.
“I think the girls are pretty happy with the way the season started. Although it was a tough loss I’m glad we started the season with Bullis,” Holliday said.
The Sherwood girls’ team, a season removed from its historic run to the 4A/3A state finals, began its season with a 17-3 victory against James H. Blake on Friday. Sophomore Taylor Andrews led the Warriors with four goals while Natalie Sebeck, Emily Kenul and Kristen Lauda tallied three apiece. Sebeck also had five assists, registering a game-high eight points.
Sherwood went 16-1 last season, defeating Howard in the state semifinals before falling to Broadneck in the championship game.
Whatever the reason, offense came at a premium in Friday’s season opener between the Quince Orchard and Montgomery Blair girls’ teams.
The Cougars took a 2-1 lead at halftime and made some second-half adjustments to defeat the Blazers 6-4 in the low-scoring affair.
Quince Orchard coach Jennifer Holliday Mohr said she had never seen a lacrosse game with only three goals at halftime.
“I think that for one, my defense played really well, and my attack couldn’t get through their defense,” she said. “… I think overall, both of the defenses played extremely well.”
While senior Krizia Livia scored three goals to lead the Cougars’ offense while senior goalie Umbar Kassa, a third-year starter, recorded 12 saves.
“Blair was a good team, it was good competition,” Holliday Mohr said. “I was very pleased with how my team played.”
How they rank
1. Our Lady of Good Counsel
2. Academy of the Holy Cross
3. Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
How they rank:
1. Georgetown Prep