Short roster makes for a playoff hurdle

Asa Saperstein

The boys’ lacrosse team finished the regular season with an 8-6 record, and after a bye in the first round of the playoffs, expects to face Chaminade, a team they beat earlier in the season by a score of 8-7 .

Attacker Reid Hudgins ’18 said the team’s experience playing together the last few years could be an asset heading into the playoffs. He also said that in the face of major injuries, younger players like Brody Listen ’21 and Owen Hudgins ’21 have stepped up.

Midfielder Jared Goldman ’18 tore his ACL tear earlier in the season, and Midfielder Harrison Listen ’19 is out with a concussion.

“[Being out has] made me realize that I miss being out there,” Listen said. “It was fun to see my team rally in the second half on senior night. It was a special moment for that class of very close friends.”

Players said that the team is really missing Listen’s presence, especially since the team does not have many players to begin with.

“[Since] we’re a really small team, we have to work extra to take care of ourselves and play as hard as possible to make sure we’re ready for playoffs when we’re essentially playing every other day,” Reid Hudgins ’18 said.

Despite the short roster, a few players have stood out this season. Paul Rodriguez ’18 now has 42 goals on the season and 25 assists. The next highest scorer is Asher Early ’19 with 31 goals, who put in three of the 13 scored in the final game of the season against St. Francis .

Early said that even though Rodriguez is a great talent, he works very well in the team’s system and has gotten so good by learning to use his body to overpower opponents and find positioning.

Even with such standout players like Early and Rodriguez, Donovan Econn ’19 says the team as a whole has to try to improve on running plays carefully and listening to Head Coach Erik Krum. He also said that, due to the short roster, players need to focus on bringing energy to the game.

“Energy is really important because we have less players than any other team we have played this season,” Econn said. “Whenever someone scores a goal, we usually only have five other people on the bench. I hope that’s something we can change in the playoffs because hopefully we can bring up some kids from JV.”

Although the team’s record this year is 8-6, as opposed to last year’s 16-2, many players do not actually think the team is having a worse year. Hudgins ’18 said that even though the team went 16-2 last year, their competition was not nearly as good as this year. This year, they are challenging themselves to play better teams than last year, like Saint Margaret’s, which is the top team in Orange County right now.

“If we played the same teams as we did last season, our record would have looked a lot like it did last season,” Early said. “The fact of the matter is this year, we’re challenging ourselves. We’re playing a lot of out-of-league teams and out-of-LA teams.”

Hudgins ’18 also emphasized that even though the caliber of competition has been higher, the Wolverines have been able to keep them games close.

“We have more losses this year because we are playing a lot harder competition, but those losses have all been by 1, 2 or 3 goals,” Hudgins ’18 said. “We are definitely competing with those teams, which makes us feel a lot stronger going into the playoffs. We feel that making that change to the regular season has really prepared us for the competition we will see in the playoffs.”

Playoffs start May 1, but it has not yet been decided who the Wolverines will face off against. The opponent will likely be released today. The Wolverines expect to get a bye, then face Chaminade.