Boys Varsity Lacrosse eager after bitter end to 2018 campaign

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Boys Varsity Lacrosse eager after bitter end to 2018 campaign

Tyler Yakimisky, , Co-Editor-In-Chief

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Coaches at the varsity high school level are hired to win and win a lot, and the Athletic Department was in need of a winning coach for the boys lacrosse team.

Members of the lacrosse program believe they finally got their guy in Zach Michals.

“The coach was the JV coach for [most of my high school] years, and he stepped up to the varsity level this year, and so far it has been leagues above what it has been in the past,” senior Anthony Oleinik said.

Michals has been called more of a players’ coach, implementing game plans and executing practices based on what his players believe is necessary for improvement.

But he also promotes concepts that will impact the program in the future.

“He’s been with the program for the last four or five years, and that helps with something we’re really stressing, [which] is just consistency,” Assistant Coach Christopher Sellers said. “We’re looking to establish something for the freshmen and underclassmen going forward.”

Michals’ first test as varsity coach came in the form of a home game against Grayslake Central High School on Friday, March 15. Grayslake defeated MHS during last season’s game before playoffs.

“We [were] really looking forward to playing Grayslake Central our first game because every time we play them, it’s a really good game and really competitive,” said junior Joshua Fordham, who returned this year from an arm injury that forced him to sit out last season.

The team ended up losing to the Grayslake Central Rams 5-1.

One player said that game was a good way to see their progress as a team, though.

“We got to test ourselves against what ended us last year, which makes it a good continuation from last year to see how far we’ve come,” Oleinik said.

This game served as a starting point for the team toward a goal set by the new coach.

“Our coach said that if we win four out of the first five games, he’ll take us to a steak dinner, so we all want to get that done,” Oleinik said.

The varsity team ended up going 3-3 in their first six games, unfortunately losing out on that steak dinner.

While the team did fail to meet this goal, they still remain focused on their main goal.

“Wins are always good, but they aren’t essential,” Sellers said. “We’re really looking to build a lasting program that’s going to go forward and build on stuff.”

No matter how many hardships the team faces this season, players said they will continue to believe in this year’s team motto: “Next play– if we make a mistake or have something go wrong, we’ll fix it for the next play and [not] dwell on it,” Oleinik said.

Specifically, the team plans to lean on its defense when the team encounters tough games and moments.

“On the defensive end, we are very, very strong,” Oleinik said. “We have me, Christian Mendez [senior] and Cody Cornier [junior] who are all returning players, and [we] only lost one starter from last year.”

In fact, many guys on the team have said they are already taking strides forward from last year.

“Last year we had some problems where we didn’t go hard at defense, and some people weren’t focused. This year we have really worked on staying focused,” Fordham said.

While practices and games have become more intense as the season progresses, the team remains optimistic.

Oleinik said, “Coach has made it clear that solid short-term goals will lead to success in long-term goals, so we’ll start small and hopefully go from there.”

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