Sports

Lacrosse team builds on youth, focus on daily development

Photo by Raymond Link’20 | Brophy’s lacrosse team plays against Boulder Creek. 

By Matthew Zacher ’18

THE ROUNDUP

Following a tough loss last year to Notre Dame Prep in the state final, Brophy lacrosse is set to develop a much younger roster this season with only two returning senior athletes.

Mr. Zach Widbin has taken on the role of varsity head coach this year, his first year leading the lacrosse program. Mr. Widbin previously served as defensive coordinator on Coach Beau Pich’s staff since 2013.

As such, Brophy will have a new defensive coordinator this year, Mr. Parker Dickerson.

The lacrosse program featured 17 seniors last year, eight of whom were starters.

“We went to the finals [against Notre Dame Prep] and lost by a goal, all those seniors graduate, and that sets us up for a young team this season,” Mr. Widbin said.

With a relatively inexperienced team this year, Mr. Widbin emphasized that his expectations remain unchanged.

“My expectations are never set in terms of end results with playoffs in mind,” he said. “My expectations are always centered around the team’s approach to practice, games, and how they develop.”

There are two seniors returning to the lacrosse program this year, and one is Senior Jack Clark ’18, a starter on last year’s team.

Mr. Widbin acknowledged Clark’s leadership with this year’s team.

“Jack Clark shouldered a lot of the burden this off season as far as leadership goes,” Mr. Widbin said. “He naturally stepped up.”

Clark acknowledged that this year is full of transition, but he said the team still must execute.

“There is a lot of transition this year,” Clark said. “We have a new coach, new defensive coordinator, and only two returning seniors. So, this year we really have the opportunity to change things up.”

This ability to change is what Clark said he believes to be the team’s greatest strength.

“Our biggest positive is the ability and opportunity to be molded and be focused on the future.”

Clark said his leadership role is primarily to focus the younger athletes on the team’s purpose.

“It’s important to show the kids that, while we might not be the strongest this year, this season still has a purpose. It’s about providing the wisdom that you have to treat every year like it’s your last year to make the push for the state championship. That’s what it means to be a varsity athlete.”

Drew Shyman ’21, Xander Welty ’21 and Andrew Kort ’21 are three varsity freshmen who have seen significant playing time two games into the season.

Clark said this kind of contribution from freshmen is almost unheard of, but it speaks to the potential on this team.

Tommy Bullington ’19 has been playing Brophy lacrosse since his freshman season, and he said this year’s team has found a proper balance between raw athletic ability and experience.

“We have a fairly young team, so most of the squad is eager to pick up new knowledge and giver their best effort all the time,” Bullington said. “We also have returners who know how to run this program. The chemistry of this team has been improving a ton, on and off the field.”

Bullington spoke to Mr. Widbin’s leadership as well.

Mr. Widbin is the smartest guy I know and has an amazing lacrosse IQ,” he said. “He’s very good at sharing his knowledge of the game and he’s always down to answer a question, even if it’s in the halls between classes. There is a more positive atmosphere with Coach Widbin.”

Brophy Lacrosse will play 12 games this season, with sights set on the playoffs in April.

Mr. Widbin encouraged the Red Army to come out and support Brophy Lacrosse.

“There are lots of kids who haven’t seen a lacrosse game, and they are exciting, so come check it out,” he said.