New team still wins

Boys’ lacrosse succeeds after losing 25 players

Milutin Todorovic, staff writer

Senior Captain Spencer Vandenberg, trapped in the corner of the field, passes the ball to junior teammate Drew Duffy while senior Captain James Sennott maneuvers his way across the opponent. After Sennott receives the ball and scores, he looks towards the South student section as a mob of blue and gold jump in the stands.

This year, the team has six seniors, and while 25 players graduated last year, Head Coach Matt Larsen said the team is hungry for success. He added the team hopes to improve on last year’s 11-7 record.

Vandenberg, in his last season, said that he started to act more as a teacher than a player by instructing his teammates about different strategies. Duffy said the captains assist the team by boosting their confidence and providing strategic advice.

“[Our] coach gives us great pep talks before every game,” Duffy said. “We talk about [our plans] for defense and offense, and then our captains are with us as a team trying to get these fun chants going that we have had for four years.”

However, over the last five years, the team has been focused on changing the program’s culture, Larsen said. He emphasized benevolence and maturity over athleticism to shift the stigma attached to the program, which was perceived as coarse and harsh.

“My goal is to create a community in our program that [builds] mature men and [makes] sure they realize that lacrosse is not everything and ends at some point,” Larsen said. “Them learning to mature will help them be more coachable on the field, [which will lead] to winning.”

The team is thriving on both ends of the field, Larsen explained, as they have built great chemistry leading up to the first game against Rolling Meadows on April 8, which South won 13-1.

“We have a lot of younger players [on offense] and [many] players that weren’t able to play last year due to injuries, but they’re looking like they’re hitting on all cylinders and ready to get going,” Larsen said.

Duffy said it is important to show off their new skills to Glenbrook North.

“We went one on one with them last year,” Duffy said. “We beat them, and then they, unfortunately, beat us in the playoffs. So I’m excited to play against them [on May 15] again and show how much we’ve improved and proved to ourselves that we can beat them.”