Boys lacrosse on the fly


photo by Jessie Burton

Defenseman Ethan Geiger sprints toward the goal against Oviedo. The team won 15-5 on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Justin Baronoff, Sports Editor

After losing 15 seniors and former head coach Kevin Farrington, the odds were against the boys varsity lacrosse team entering this season. Then, after a 12-7 loss in the first game to Lake Mary on Feb. 8, it looked like a rebuilding year. However, with a new system and a team chemistry already developed, the team went on to win a school-record 15 straight games and now figures to be a factor in the playoffs.

“This year has definitely been surreal,” head coach Kyle Hofstaedter said. “Looking at the schedule before the season started, I never thought we would finish with only one loss.” Hofstaedter, who was named head coach on Jan. 6, played and coached in college in Pennsylvania and coached at both Rollins College and Trinity Prep.

Entering the season, Hofstaedter adopted some of his college-level schemes into the team’s playbook that made players, such as midfielder Jarrett Prachel, buy into his system.

“At first, it was a little different because [Farrington] had been with a lot of us since we were little, but coach Hofstaedter knows what he’s doing,” Prachel said. “He’s a nice guy that fits in well with our program, and his style of coaching has been proven to be successful.”

Despite only two seniors in the starting lineup, inexperience has not played a factor this season, as freshmen attackman Christian Hofer led in shots on goal with 97 and midfielder Carter Parlette led in assists with 33 and overall points with 62.

Parlette, who played club lacrosse for Sweetlax Florida throughout middle school, was the first of three players on the team to commit to play college lacrosse, as he committed to Syracuse University on Aug. 10. The other two commits were defenseman Connor Purcell to Mercer University and midfielder Dominic Madlang to Belmont Abbey College.

“Over the summer I played in big tournaments with my club team, so that’s where Syracuse noticed me,” Parlette said. “I felt prepared for high school lacrosse, but I still had to adjust to the bigger and older kids and the new system.”

Throughout the season, attackman Jordan Collins led the team in goals with 36 to help them win key games, such as two shutouts: Winter Springs (16-0) on Feb. 21 and senior night against district opponent Lake Howell (15-0) on March 15, an overtime win against Buchholz (10-9) on March 28 behind Hofer’s game-winning goal, and a 10-2 win against Riverdale Country, N.Y. on March 31 to close out the regular season.

“The difference during the season between us and other teams was we made sure that our conditioning and stick skills were always up to par,” midfielder Joey Tarr said. “Conditioning once a week had a huge impact on our team, especially in the second half of games when other teams were tired.”

The team began the District 9 tournament on Wednesday, April 5 with a 17-0 win against Lake Howell in the district semifinals to reach and win the district championship,13-7, against Winter Park on Friday, April 7. This was the team’s fourth district championship victory, as they previously won in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

“We’ve played really well as a team all season and to win districts just kept the ball moving,” Hofer said. “As long as we play our best and work as a team, we can go as far as we want to.”

The team will play at District 10 champion Lake Highland Prep today in the Region 2 quarterfinals. The game starts at 8 p.m.

“I think everyone would love a state championship, but there are a lot of great teams in the state right now,” Hofstadter said. “We are a very young team with the majority of our contributors being sophomores and freshmen, so it is not a far off belief that we could win a state title in the next couple of years.”