Col. Zadok Magruder High School’s Ryan Martindell said he was worried after the 2013 season. The Colonels boys lacrosse team had gone 2-11 and the then-freshman, who had been playing competitively since second grade, was unsure that he’d ever get to play on a winning team while at the Rockville school.
“It was extremely frustrating going through games to watch especially because I’d been playing lacrosse so long,” he said. “It was frustrating to get blown out by teams that I knew weren’t great.”
But what a difference a year makes. After a 5-8 season last spring and a 7-0 run in the 2014 Performance Summer Lacrosse League, Martindell and his Magruder teammates have plenty of cause for optimism and are hoping that next season the team can do something it hasn’t done in more than a decade: finish above .500.
Martindell, a rising junior, said he saw signs of the turnaround early last season after victories over Gaithersburg, 12-2, and Wheaton, 21-9, teams that Magruder defeated in close games during his freshman year.
The Colonels carried their spring momentum into the summer, outscoring their opponents 72-22 while playing with a full team while playing in the Black Division.
“We’ve just been putting a lot in the offseason, been working hard,” senior Logan Refosco said. “We have good players that are developing more and more and we’re just building team [chemistry] and we’re just working together more, which leads to more goals and wins.”
Magruder also played Winston Churchill in an exhibition game, a loss that third-year coach Stephen Burrows described as an “eye-opener.” Burrows said he hopes that the team can play in the more competitive Red Division next summer.
“This is a year we were looking for a big step up, and the summer is sort of validating that,” said Burrows, who inherited a team that went 1-12 in 2012.
Players have started putting more time into the sport, in and out of season, Martindell said.
“They were taking practice more seriously, taking drills seriously, and showing up on time,” he said.
Added teammate Josh Ferentinos: “We’ve been improving pretty steadily. More kids have started caring about it, actually caring about it.”
The Colonels expect to return most of their key players, including six of their top-seven point scorers.
Martindell, an All-Gazette honorable mention selection last spring, led the team with 40 goals and ranked ninth in scoring among all Montgomery County Public Schools players, according to montgomerymdboyslacrosse.org.
“He’s a bigger attackman, he’s pretty strong,” Refosco said. “He’s not the quickest but he gets the job done. He kind of just pushes through things and gets a lot of goals.”
The Colonels went on a three-game win streak midway through the season to get to 5-4, before dropping their last four games. The final three, which included an 8-7 playoff loss to Germantown’s Northwest, came by a combined five goals.
“Offensively, we’ve been scoring a lot of goals and the defense has come a long way too,” Martindell said. “... [The goal is] definitely to get nine wins and also make it past the first round of the playoffs.”