‘Seasoned varsity players’ make up Decatur lax squad
(March 17, 2017) After graduating 15 players, many of whom were key contributors, the Stephen Decatur boys’ lacrosse team struggled a bit last year as only seven of the 24 players on Coach Scott Lathroum’s roster were varsity veterans – and just three of them had been full-time starters in 2015.
This year, 15 players out of the 23 on the Decatur team are veterans.
“We have seasoned varsity players this year. They have at least one year of experience under their belt,” said Lathroum, who has led the team for 13 seasons. “They have a much better understanding of what is expected of them and what they need to do to win. They have more size and strength. They grew and got stronger.”
Throwing new lacrosse material and concepts at them, Lathroum said the Seahawks are picking things up much quicker.
“It’s a totally different team from day one last year,” he said. “By leaps and bounds they’re better. A handful of kids played this summer and that helped them.”
Senior Tucker Cordial echoed his sentiments.
“I think the group is coming along pretty well,” he said. “Last year at this time we were a lot further behind, but now we’re doing pretty well.”
Cordial, who will play left attack, has been on the team for three years. He received Bayside South Honorable Mention accolades for his performance during the 2016 season.
“As many of my teammates can tell you, I am loud – sometimes a little too loud – but I can definitely portray what needs to be done from talking [and help] direct people on the field,” he said. “I hope to orchestrate some offense and contribute with both goals and passes.”
Lathroum said he expects big things from Cordial as well as junior attackmen Parker Wheeler and Charlie Coates (Bayside Second Team).
“They need to take care of the ball, be very good ball handlers, make good decisions and play hard,” Lathroum said.
Junior Collin Eichelberger (Bayside HM) returns in the midfield along with seniors Robbie Duke and Spencer Sharp. Newcomer Kevin Beck, a sophomore, will join them in the midfield.
Senior Tyler Keiser (Bayside First Team) and junior Hayden Zaiser (Second Team) are back to lead the defense. Senior Zac Cioccio will return to the goal, hopefully in the next few weeks as he is currently sidelined with a broken collarbone.
“I feel like we have a big connection on this team [and] chemistry,” said Zaiser, a three-year varsity player. “A lot of us have grown up together and play a couple different sports together.”
With captain and face-off specialist Dryden Brous graduating, Lathroum said there was a huge question mark as to who would take over that position this year. Brous, who plays for Division II Lynn University in Florida, was the only player the team lost to graduation. By winning a majority of the face-offs he took, Brous was key in generating the Decatur offense last season.
The burning question may be answered as Lathroum said he was impressed with newcomer, sophomore Collin Eitel’s face-off performance during a recent Play Day.
Battling some injuries, Lathroum said he can’t wait until everyone is healthy so he can get the entire team out on the field. Despite only having 14 players for last Saturday’s Play Day in Queen Anne’s, Lathroum said he saw some good things.
“I’m excited with what I’ve seen so far. The offense is moving the ball well, we’re playing good defense, winning face-offs and getting ground balls,” he said. “We don’t have any superstars, so it will take a group effort to win. We need to play good team defense, good team offense, work the ball, be patient and be intelligent in what we do and I think we’ll be successful. We have to work together.”
Lathroum said the goals are for the Seahawks to improve every day, for them to play hard and get healthy.
Decatur finished 2016 with a 4-9 record. The season ended in the 3A/2A East Regional tournament first round with an 8-7 overtime loss to Parkside. Lathroum said the Seahawks want redemption this year when they battle Parkside.
He would also like to win the Bayside South and compete for a conference title this year.
Zaiser said returning to the Bayside game is a big goal for the Seahawks.
“We need to put in a lot of work. It’s going to be tough,” Zaiser said.