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Morgan helps St. James flourish

June 05, 2007|by MARK KELLER

SAINT JAMES - Cyrus Morgan can talk the talk.

As the vocal leader of the St. James boys lacrosse team, Morgan took it upon himself to motivate his teammates, constantly reminding them of the goals they had made for themselves before the season.

There's something to be said for his methods. The Saints finished 17-2 in 2007, winning a piece of the Mid Atlantic Conference title for the first time in school history.

In doing so, Morgan showed that he's not all talk. He can play, too.

Morgan was second on the Saints in goals and assists and was the team's top faceoff man and best defensive midfielder. His all-around excellence helped earn him The Herald-Mail Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year honor.

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"This year, Cyrus had some stronger players around him, but I think he also got better at playing against the other team's best defender," St. James coach Paul Salit said. "We saw it coming last year, but this year he really took off."

Morgan finished 2007 with 26 goals and 18 assists, scoring three goals in a game three times against a tough MAC schedule.

Not bad for someone who just picked up the game five years ago. His original intent was to play baseball in the spring at St. James. But when he saw the support the lacrosse team received compared to that of the baseball team, he thought a change was in order.

Salit was more than happy to provide that change after seeing the natural athletic abilities of Morgan, who also plays soccer and basketball.

"He runs so well, his athleticism it's a natural for a lacrosse player and is easy to spot as a coach," Salit said. "Because he played soccer and basketball, he understands the flow of play and the playing field. So he had some huge advantages because of his speed and athleticism."

Morgan took advantage of the coach's presence in his dormitory to pick his brain and learn a little bit about the game.

"In ninth grade, Coach Salit had duty in our dorm, so I would go and talk to him about lacrosse on the nights he was in there," Morgan said. "And he would show me some tricks or tell me about past players that he coached and that really stuck with me and got me excited about the game."

He parlayed his excitement of the game into team captaincy as a senior. Morgan saw a void that needed to be filled and he stepped into it.

"I think I grew more as an individual as a leader being a captain," Morgan said. "We don't usually get a big pump-up speech before a game to get us going. The three captains this year wanted to make sure the team is motivated. I was certainly the most vocal captain of the three, so that sort of forced me to take on that role."

"A lot of times with captains, you try to see is this a vocal guy or a lead-by-example guy?" Salit said. "I think he was a vocal guy and we needed that. He got the kids excited to play and reminded them of their goals and where they wanted to go during the season."

Morgan will attend Trinity (Conn.) College in the fall, with the hope of making the school's lacrosse squad. He carefully considered which of his three sports he wanted to pursue in college, but in the end, it was a fairly cut and dry choice.

"I talked with so many people about all of those sports and they've all asked me what my favorite sport to play is," Morgan said. "And that's what makes it so rewarding, because you enjoy doing it. And lacrosse has been my favorite since I stared playing."

Joining Morgan on the All-Area Boys Lacrosse Team:

· Jordan Barr, St. James: The sophomore midfielder had 25 goals and 11 assists for the Saints.

· Nick Beardsley, St. James: Sophomore goalie transferred from Gilman School. Stopped 66 percent of shots against him, allowing an average of 5.5 goals per game.

· Joe Cacciola, Smithsburg: Junior midfielder had 14 goals and 91 groundballs. All-MVAL Antietam first-team pick.

· Eric DeLong, Chambersburg: Junior midfielder led the Trojans with 31 goals and 18 assists.

· Troy Gogoll, St. James: Senior attacker was second on the Saints in points with 25 goals and 37 assists.

· Dalton Jernigan, Smithsburg: Junior defender was a first team MVAL Antietam selection.

· Kyle Malcolm, North Hagerstown: An MVAL Antietam first teamer, the junior defender collected a team-high 47 ground balls.

· P.J. Mara, St. James: The sophomore attacker scored an area-best 57 goals and added 17 assists for the Saints.

· Eddie Olson, Chambersburg: The senior defender had seven assists and was named the team's most valuable player.

· Luke Salisbury, St. James: Junior defender matched up with the opposition's top scorer all season, one key to the Saints' successful year.

· Craig Trueblood, Smithsburg: The junior attacker had 30 goals, 16 assists and 32 ground balls and was selected to the MVAL Antietam first team.

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