Boys lacrosse enters rebuilding mode

They were matched against the fourth best team in the state, state semifinalists last year, and were playing in Jaguar Stadium in front of scouts and the top teams in the state, but none of that seemed to phase the varsity boys lacrosse team. On Feb. 17, the team opened their season with a 9-8, triple overtime victory over the Benjamin School at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

“Everyone was fired up. It was so awesome because we’ve never beaten Benjamin or any team that good before,” senior Kevin Collin, who scored the game-winning goal, said. “At that moment everyone thought we were going to get destroyed. No one thought it would be a game, so to finally come back and win it was really good.”

The team’s success was short lived, however, as the boys went on a three-game losing streak after beating Benjamin. They fell short to Lake Mary 13-7, Boone 9-8, and Lake Highland Prep 10-5. However, on March 5, the team regained their momentum with a 17-7 victory over Winter Springs and a 14-11 win over Timber Creek.

The team lost 11 seniors from last year’s historic Elite Eight team, many of whom had been playing together since the sixth grade. This, as well as the team’s strength of schedule, have proved to be obstacles for the team.

The boys are 4-7 this season,  a stark difference from last season’s 18-4 overall record. However, this makes no difference to head coach Mark Ayad.

“The losses aren’t anything in particular. We have the hardest schedule in the state and we’ve competed in every game,” Ayad said. “This season is about learning as we go, making adjustments, and hopefully seeing Oviedo again in the district championship.”

The team has had recent success, however, by winning 19-4 over Trinity Prep. The boys are led by Collin, who has  26 goals and 10 assists, and senior Jacob Collins, who has 17 goals and 19 assists. Juniors Chris Carpenter and Cory Schulte have also added to the team by scoring 16 goals between the two of them.

Despite having a tough season, Ayad continues to show pride in his team no matter what.

“If we get better every game and the guys I coach become better lacrosse players and men of character and integrity on and off the field, then this season is a success,” Ayad said. “Repeating last year’s success and/or going further is a bonus of the effort, work, and love these guys put into the game for each other.”