Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Poolesville boys lacrosse team is the same on paper, but not on the field

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There was no magic recipe to the Poolesville boys lacrosse team’s terrific spring. It was neither major personnel additions nor any intricate on-field strategies that turned the Falcons from a mediocre 5-9 to a 3A⁄2A⁄1A Division Championship-winning 9-4 in just one year.

Basically, it came down to some old-fashioned hard work.

‘‘I told them at the beginning of the season, ‘It’s about how bad you guys want it,’” said head coach Eddie Zacharek. ‘‘We just turned the team around this year. The guys worked really hard in the offseason, they all went to offseason camps, and a lot of good players returned. They were hungry and they wanted it.”

Though the players didn’t change much, they looked completely different right from early April. After dropping the opener to perennial power Churchill, the Falcons won their next seven games in a row, netting double-figure goals in each and outscoring opponents, 104-31. They were especially dominant in their division, winning all five of their games by an average of 11.6 goals per game and none by less than nine goals.

If being hungry was what keyed Poolesville’s resurgence, perhaps no one had an appetite quite like attackman⁄midfielder Dylan Haas. Only a junior, he was the team’s captain, leading the Falcons in overall points. He will likely finish in the county’s top-20 scoring list for the second year in a row. More importantly, as Zacharek put it, ‘‘He gives 120 percent, he’s excellent on both sides of the field, and he has more heart than probably any player I’ve ever seen.”

Haas was flanked by another junior middie, Andrew Gardner, a tandem that have been playing together since they were youths. Aside from the midfield line, Poolesville featured a slew of experienced players, especially up top and in the back. Seniors Mike Chamberlain and Benton Ward, while fellow seniors Kyle Corfman and Pat Moore joined Haas for a team that scored 10 or more goals in eight of their nine wins.

Though they lose a lot to graduation, the future is still bright for the Falcons. They’ll return Haas and Gardner, plus several other young players. Zacharek points out freshman Cory Thomas, who has the potential to be a star attackman.

Though they lost to Carroll County’s Century, 16-4, in the quarterfinals of the 2A-1A West playoffs over the weekend, 2008 was a season to remember for Poolesville.

‘‘Just from last year’s record to this year’s record, and me being my second year of coaching,” Zacharek said, ‘‘we just really had a good year. The theme of this year was unselfish lacrosse and we worked the ball around good all season.”