Ocean City Today

Veterans to lead WP offense, anchor defense

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Mar 15, 2018
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli “Once we come together, I think we’ll look pretty good,” said senior captain Sam Can- tello. To win an-other ESIAC championship and compete for a MILL title, Can- tello said the Mallards need to work hard during practice and continue to improve daily.

(March 16, 2018) Coach Kevin Gates will rely on a core group of veterans to lead the offense and defense of the Worcester Prep boys’ lacrosse team this season, along with some new additions.

Running the offense will be senior captains and four-year members of the team, Tucker Brown and Sam Cantello.

“They’ve been playing together for years,” Gates said. “They’ve got great chemistry.”

Brown leads by example and Cantello is more vocal, Gates said. Both were also captains last year.

Brown, who has committed to play Division I lacrosse for Furman University in South Carolina, was the Mallards’ top producer last year.

He scored 69 goals – a single-season record, had 24 assists and led the team in points (93). He was also named Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference Player of the Year as well as a Kelly Award finalist for Best High School Player in Maryland. In addition, he received All-Metro Independent Lacrosse League First Team honors.

“I definitely know what it takes winning three [lacrosse] ESIAC championships and winning some big games against public schools around here,” said Brown, who will play midfield/attack. “We have a lot of young guys, so we kind of have to show them the way and how to play at a faster pace than middle school and JV.”

Cantello finished behind Brown last season with 59 goals and 23 assists, for 82 points. He earned All-ESIAC and All-MILL First Team accolades.

“I’ve been playing lacrosse my whole life, and with Coach Gates his plays and his system for four years, so I’m pretty used to it and I know it pretty well, so I think I can help everybody out,” said Cantello, who will play on the attack. “Once we come together, I think we’ll look pretty good.”

Junior Alec Dembeck, a transfer from Loyola Blakefield in Towson, will join the pair.

“He’s a nice third guy to go with them,” Gates said. “Those three guys is a good place to start. They’re going to create a lot of opportunities and we have guys who can feed off of them.”

Junior Dakin Moore will also play on the attack.

Anchoring the defense will be juniors Cole Berry and Cooper Richins, who led the team in ground balls (60) last year. They were both named to the All-ESIAC Team and earned MILL Honorable Mention awards.

“They’ll be a huge part of what we do on defense,” Gates said.

Behind them in the goal will be senior Jack Fager. Freshman Hunter Gentry has looked good in the goal as well, Gates said.

“They’re both really strong. It will be a battle,” Gates said. “We’ll need both of them. They’re both going to help us.”

Senior Porter Bunting will also play on defense. Sophomores Max Taylor and Alec Willing will take the field on defense and as long stick midfielders.

Returning in the midfield will be juniors Thomas Fager, Jay Gosnear, Owen Tunis and sophomores JP Issel and Sam Tinkler, who will also take face-offs.

Newcomers who Gates will look to contribute include junior Aiden Mullins (midfield/attack), sophomore Gavin Hentschel (defense/long stick) and freshmen John Arrington (midfield/face-offs), Graham McColgan (midfield) and Connor Carpenter (defense/long stick).

Gates, now in this 16th season as head coach, has 28 players on his roster. Fourteen of them are varsity veterans.

In 2017, the Mallards captured their ninth consecutive ESIAC championship title. They made it to the semifinal round of the MILL tournament. The team finished with a 13-6 record last year.

“We’ve got a lot to work on, getting the new kids acclimated to what we want to do, but I think we can be pretty good this year if things fall into place. I like our chances,” Gates said. “We have a good core group back from last year and we have a pretty good new group of kids.

“Hopefully, we just get better every day and the kids are having fun and I’m having fun,” he added.

Cantello and Brown said the team would like to win another ESIAC championship. They would also like to compete for a MILL title.

To accomplish those goals, Cantello said the Mallards needed to work hard during practice and continue to improve daily.

“We lost a lot of players the last few year [to graduation], so hopefully we’ll prove we’re still one of the better teams around,” Brown said. “This should be one of the most fun years I’ve had, now that I’m a senior.”

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