Lacrosse settles into stride as playoffs approach


Paul Rodriguez ’18 attempts to run past a defender during a league game against Oak Park High School. Credit: Cameron Stine/Chronicle

Dario Madyoon

With three quarters of the regular season done, the lacrosse team is ending the 2015 season in stride despite its difficult schedule.

In an unusual scheduling quirk, the Wolverines played four straight league games on the road, which they split, winning two and losing two. However, the Wolverines will end their regular season with three straight home games, starting with a 17-4 win over Oak Park April 23.

“It was definitely nice coming back home,” head coach Erik Krum said. “We were a little tired in the games before, but we had our feet back under us tonight. We had high energy, the team was playing together and we played all four quarters.”

A common theme in the squad’s losses this season has been a dip in offensive efficiency. The Wolverines scored 10 or more goals in seven of their nine wins, and are undefeated when they reach double digits. However, the team scored only 4.5 goals per game in their four losses, and lost all of those games by five or more goals.

“How we want to keep offensive consistency is not only through physical toughness, but also through mental toughness as well,” Krum said. “We have to have our boys firing mentally at all times. They have to be focused when they’re passing, focused when they’re catching and they have got to be running the offense.”

The team has been getting consistent play from Phillip Thompson ’16, who has 47 goals so far this season, and Zac Harleston ’17, who has 20. However, the Wolverines have also benefited from improved play from Sultan Daniels ’18, who has seven goals.

Phil Thompson '16 looks for an open teammate during a Mission League game. Credit: Cameron Stine/Chronicle

“I think that [Daniels] has made a lot of improvement this year and serves as a great role model for other players,” goalie Troy Hattler ’18 said. “He is always working and playing hard.”

Despite losses to Palos Verdes, the top-ranked team in Southern California, and second ranked Loyola, the players aren’t worried about facing teams like those in the playoffs, and are happy with their progress so far this season.

“We are somewhere around the three-seed in Los Angeles, which is justified considering we only lost to the first and second seeds,” Paul Rodriguez ’18 said. “Nonetheless, I don’t feel like we pay much attention to rankings week to week and are instead focused on each game. I feel pretty good about where we are, and I know that the tough teams we face aren’t going to be any different than the teams we are playing now in season so we as a team are ready and excited for playoffs and the chance at a CIF championship.”

“We really have not worried about the playoffs yet,” Hattler said. “We are taking the games one by one and will cross that bridge when we get there.”

However, even when playoffs do come, the team won’t be looking to change its game-tested system too much.

“We have a lot of confidence in our offensive and defensive systems, so I don’t think we will be making any major changes going forward,” Rodriguez said. “Our key will be to remain together as a family and trust in one another. If we stick together, we can accomplish a lot this postseason.”

The team’s next game and regular season finale is Saturday against Crespi.