Defense and gaining experience are the rally calls for the boys’ lacrosse team at North Brunswick Township High School.
North Brunswick coach Christopher Waddell is working with this unit that has been able to post an 8-6 record through the first week of May.
“Well, we’re trying to get our defense in order,” Waddell said. “It is a very young defense. We don’t have a plethora of people at North Brunswick. We only have 27 people in the whole program. So, we’re trying to get these guys some playing time and experience. A lot of guys don’t have that experience, so you see that the lacrosse IQ isn’t where it needs to be right now.”
Waddell is optimistic as well as being pleased with how the Raiders have played this spring.
“We have a big sophomore class. We have 10 sophomores. There’s a lot of talent, but we need to sprinkle these guys in so they can get the experience they need,” Waddell said “We can’t complain too much. We’re 8-6, so that’s not bad. This is the best season we’ve had here in a while, so, again, I’m not going to complain too much. We’ll get right back at it tomorrow.”
Some of the key Raiders agreed with their skipper.
“Like coach said, we need to work on the underclassmen coming in,” junior midfield/ attack Aaron Ahr said. “We’re going to need them,especially when we get tired and need them to come in. We got to work on the lacrosse IQ and catching passes.”
“Individually, we all have things we can work on,” senior goalie Colin White added. “As a team, just working on that cohesion as a unit and playing together as one team. You win in this game by knowing where your teammates are. The biggest thing is cohesion, which we don’t have right now. I’m a senior, but I hope to stick around and work with these guys and get them right.”
The defense took a step back on May 1 when the Raiders fell to East Brunswick High School in East Brunswick.
Waddell was still happy with the team’s effort, especially the play of his goalie.
“Another outstanding game by Colin,” Waddell said. “He had another game under fire. We have a young defense so, he has to play big for us all the time. He’s been great. Just the other game, he got his 500th save for his career. He’s getting it done, even with pressure under fire. Aaron’s always getting it done. Picking up ground balls. Hustling. He scored his 100th point in this game. So, a couple of good things came out of this. I think we over hyped ourselves a little bit. We had a very solid first quarter. We played very good defense. Their face-off guys killed us today.”
“Like coach said, Colin had a great game,” Ahr said. “For the rest of us, we just have to keep working. Our passes have to be better. Better decision making. Yeah, we have to keep working.”
“For me, the defense, my big three has really grown,” White said. “They’re young, and they’re inexperienced, but they work their tails off day in and day out. The defensive poles played hard despite the score.”
The program, predicted Waddell, has a bright future.
“My expectations are good,” Waddell said. “I got a new assistant this year in Brian Buzney. He’s been fantastic. He’s been working with the defense, and the young guys. He’s a former goalie for North Brunswick. He’s been working with Colin as well. By the time the year is over, these guys will have a much better understanding of the defensive schemes. He’s done a great job, he really has. We have plus 25 goals scored versus goals against. Colin has way more saves than goals against. It’s been a really good year, it really has. Brian has been a big part of the resurgence of the program.”
“It’s been our best year for a while,” Ahr said. “We have a lot of young players, so next year, we should be very good.”
“There’s a lot of talent in North Brunswick,” White said. “I’m hoping that this year will get people to invest in the program and expand it. Not a lot of players come from the youth program. They play for four years here. Our inaugural season in 2005, we went 12-1, so it shows that there is talent here. There’s something in the water here that we just have to find. Once we do that, we’ll be fine.”
Waddell praised some of his other key performers.
“Our sophomore, Andrew Richardson has I believe 39 goals,” Waddell said. “[Senior] Graham Randall is our workhorse. He does it all. He has about 22 or 23 goals, and a bunch of assists. Defensively, Kyle Gosner is a senior. He’s just a two-year player. He’s learned the game over night and he’s been great. Like I said, even with a young defense, I’m seeing good things. I can say good things about everyone, but these are our mainstays.”
The Raiders will hit the road on May 12 when they travel to Brick Memorial High School for a 10 a.m. game.