New modified program signals brighter future for LHS lacrosse
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The growing pains of a popular high school sports program are so much easier to live with when there’s such a bright future on the horizon.
Lockport High School’s lacrosse program is energized with the addition of a board of education-supported modified program next year.
Lions head coach Scott Reddinger said it’s the missing link in a popular sports program that has exploded from the start into one of the most highly participated at LHS.
“Every one of the teams that we compete with in Section VI has a modified program. That’s been our only missing link and we’re very excited,” Reddinger said.
“We’ve just had tremendous numbers. We had 40 kids trying out for varsity and our junior varsity had astronomical numbers. Last month, the board of eduction granted us permission to begin the fundraising process to implement a modified lacrosse program next year. We’re halfway there.”
Added Lions senior defenseman Glenn Cascia, “You look around Lockport and everyone has a stick in their hands. Now we’ll have modified program that can help develop these younger players to the point where I can see us competing with every team. We have the athletes for it.”
Reddinger’s lax Lions opened their 2013 campaign Tuesday with a solid 9-4 victory at Lewiston-Porter’s all-weather surface field. They’ll open their Section VI Class A large school campaign at 5 p.m. on April 10, hosting Clarence. Other teams in their division, all powerhouses, are Orchard Park, Frontier and Lancaster. West Seneca East will join Class A beginning next spring.
Lockport enters the season on many positive notes, after finishing 3-13 a year ago. Key losses to graduation include Aaron Quast, Brandon LaRoach and Brendan Gleave. Among their 2012 victories was a fifth consecutive Canal Cup win over rival North Tonawanda, which began its lax program with Lockport a little more than half a decade ago.
Key returners this year include Cascia and fellow seniors Zach Dewey, Zach Brown, RD Hillman, Nick Perilli, Anthony Pellicano and Tracy Maracle.
Against the Lancers on Tuesday, Pellicano led the way with three goals and an assist, Hillman had a goal and two assists, Dewey, junior Connor Evans and freshman Andrew Bronson each scored a goal and added an assist. Brown and junior Malik Harden also scored for the Lions and junior Will Lyons picked up an assist. Winning keeper senior Sam Nowak made five saves.
“Not being able to practice outside, we were throwing a lot of short passes early in the game,” said Brown, a three-year varsity player. “We also had to adapt to a team that was used to practicing outside. We’ll need to make more crisper passes. From my freshman to senior year, this team has looked a lot better and we’re setting a lot bigger goals.”
Reddinger said he was more impressed Tuesday with his defense, than his offense.
“It was a game we expected to win. The question was, ‘by what margin?’ I thought our defense played well,” Reddinger said. “Preventing opposing teams from scoring is where our strength lies. We’ve got a veteran group of defenders.
“Our boys have put a lot of time in during off season. This group played travel ball all summer and in tournaments in the fall and every Thursday at the Kenan Arena in the winter. They’re students of the game. They understand what they need to do and have the ability to execute, which we’ve lacked in the past.
“Our goal is to win out our non-league games and pick up a league victory or two. Last year we didn’t win a single league game and this year we’re hoping to change that.”
Reddinger enters his fifth season as Lions head coach. He’s assisted by Patrick Bradley. The LHS junior varsity boys lacrosse head coach is Karl Griffin.
Rounding out the Lions’ 2013 roster are seniors James Chambers, Brennan D’Angelo, Matt Linderman, Joel Schlitzer and Kyle Teeter; and juniors Ryan Fisher, Nick Garlock, Chris Hiam, Billy Hodil, Nate Landrigan, Chris MacDonald, Zach Montanaro, Travis Ness, Nse Obot, Dillon Olear and Tyler Stickney.