Prep boys lacrosse: Skyline savors role of favorite
The program participation numbers are up. More fans are attending games, and athletes from other sports are crossing over to play lacrosse.
It's amazing what winning can do.
Skyline finished 2-11 last season. The Eagles finished the regular season last week with an 11-4 overall record. They lost just one game in Utah. Their other three losses came in an out-of-state tournament.
"The kids have bought into what we as coaches have put out there," Skyline coach Dan Schmidt said. "We've improved on a lot of the little things, and we're having success. We're still young. We only have six seniors and four juniors and about 26 sophomores and 10 to 12 freshmen."
The obvious explanation for Skyline's dramatic turnaround has been a move from Division I to Division II, but it's not the only reason. You don't stage one of the year's biggest turnarounds without some serious MVP-type performances.
Ian Kadish, a junior midfielder, has been a matchup problem for opposing teams. He leads the team with 51 points on 31 goals and 20 assists. He also has won 64 of 99 faceoffs (65 percent).
Kadish has help. When he draws a crowd, Chris Williams, a junior midfielder, has made the most of his chances. He has 43 points on 13 goals and 30 assists. He leads the team in gained balls with 56 and is third on the team with 11 caused turnovers.
The defense is led by Hunter Reynolds, a senior defender who usually gets the assignment of slowing the opposing team's top offensive player. He leads the team in caused turnovers with 15 and is fourth on the team in gained balls with 31.
It's the effort of guys like Reynolds that has helped make senior goaltender Austin Dorius' life a little easier. Dorius has 78 saves and 42 goals against for a 65 percent save percentage.
All of Skyline's success has left the Eagles in a new role. They will enter the playoffs as the team to beat.
"Being the No. 1 seed is definitely a different role for us to have a target on our back and something we're not used to," Schmidt said. "We know that every game we will get the best effort from other teams. We're not going to sneak up on anyone, but it's been a great ride. Now we want to see how far we can take this thing."