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Washington County Lacrosse: Rebels may not be wasting away again with Tallant as coach

March 19, 2012|By MARK KELLER | keller@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

Dave Tallant is living some lyrics from a Jimmy Buffett song this season.

“Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same.”

Tallant, the boys lacrosse coach at North Hagerstown High School for the last three years, has changed his latitude ever so slightly in taking over the same position at South Hagerstown this season.

Since practices started on March 1, he’s been pushing a change in attitudes from his players. In doing so, he’s confident things won’t remain the same for the Rebels, who have enjoyed precious little success over the years in lacrosse.

“We definitely changed the mindset of how they will approach the program and the game,” said Tallant. “They’ve bought into it very quickly and they’ve really jelled quickly. They’re really excited about the season. I think they’re hungry.”

And the hunger appears to be growing in the South End. The number of players in the South program has hovered around two dozen the last several years. But excitement about the program and word of mouth have pushed the number above 50 this season and the Rebels will field a JV team for the first time.

“You’re trying to build a bridge from the youth leagues to the high schools, and one part of that bridge has to be a JV team,” Tallant said. “Every time that JV team gets on the field this year, that’s a win.

“We told them not to worry about the scoreboard this year, just worry about learning and loving the game.”

Tallant helped build North into a competitive program, in part because of the extensive time into the Hagerstown Area Youth Lacrosse Association. His hope is to strengthen the bridge from HAYLA to the South program.

One reason for Tallant’s move is his son, Matt, will be a freshman at South in 2013.

“The tough thing about leaving North was the bond I had with the players. That was difficult,” Tallant said. “But Matt wanted to play at South, and the guys he’s playing with are in select ball, playing with Division I coaches. It’s exciting.

“He wants to be part of building the program at South. And I want to be there with him.”

BOYS LACROSSE

Boonsboro

The Warriors make their varsity debut in 2012, and coach Phil Aversa’s team is looking to make a little bit of noise after posting back-to-back 8-1 seasons against a JV schedule.

Boonsboro returns the majority of its scoring might from last year. Seniors Caleb Jardeleza and Fred Funke and junior Justin Jardeleza will anchor a formidable midfield.

Juniors Caleb Grove, Reiker Bowles and Rex LeGore all return at attack, giving the Warriors a number of prime scoring options. Only Josh Harwood, who transferred to Martinsburg, is not back this season.

“This is the third year these guys will be playing together and they’re all scorers,” Aversa said. “We were very quick on the JV level, but at varsity there’s more strategy involved. We ran a lot of isolation before, now we have to be more team oriented.”

Aversa said he has a number of good stickhandlers defensively, led by junior Sam Angle. In goal, senior Zach Baker is the incumbent, but he is being pressed by freshman Alex Pizarro and senior Devyn Bellerive. Aversa said he is not yet set on a starting goaltender.

North Hagerstown

With Tallant’s move across town to South, Ron Williams steps in to take over the Hubs, a team he coached when it was still a club program.

He inherits a team in transition that lost several standouts to graduation, a group headed by Zach Eppard.

“He was a dominant player last year, and right now we don’t have anyone that will exactly fill his shoes,” Williams said. “We hope to have a more balanced offense and that some of the guys who were in his shadow can now take a more active role. Sometimes when you have a star like him, you depend too much on him.”

Williams will look to seniors Peter Perini (midfield) and Matt Hetzer (defense) and juniors Brandon Brown and Drew Brooks (both midfielders) to step into leadership roles for the Hubs.

“Brandon and Drew both played varsity last year, but we really have a lot of players who probably have more JV experience. That’s the unknown right now.”

North is unsettled in goal, with senior Daved Paddack battling sophomores Brian Davis and Peter Durham for the starting role. Williams said his defenders show potential, but are untested right now.

Saint James

The Saints aren’t looking to replace a little bit of offense. They’re looking to replace most of it.

To say Saint James lost some dependable scorers “is a bit of an understatement,” coach Steve Lachut said. “Over 85 percent of our scoring from a year ago graduated.”

The Saints did lose all-county players Ryan Doyle, Andrew Ludwick and Jamie Peterson, but the cupboard isn’t bare for Lachut.

Ben Louderback, the team’s MVP two seasons ago, returns for his senior season. He’ll carry a significant amount of expectations, and do so happily.

“He’s a great kid, a great leader ... he treats everyone in the program like an equal,” Lachut said. “He’s great to bounce ideas off of and he gives me good feedback.”

Junior Leighton Younger is back at attack, while juniors Avery Wilmore and Henry Smith give the Saints a strong defensive core to build around.

Sophomore Will Smith will have big shoes to fill in replacing goalkeeper Tommy Wagner, but Lachut said he has been attentive to the job.

“He’s asked to come in and go over the defenses with me and pick my brain to learn as much as he can to become the quarterback out there we’ll need him to be,” Lachut said.

St. Maria Goretti

Like Boonsboro, Goretti will take the step up to become a full-fledged varsity program this season.

“Last year, we had 20 players out and half of them had never played,” said coach Keith Reitenbach. “This year, we had 30 kids, and still about 10 who never played before. But some of them who had never played are quality athletes who have played other sports at Goretti. Some will be contributors even though it’s their first year.”

The Gaels top two returning players — senior midfielder Clarence Wroblewski and junior middie Wyatt Derr — have both been hit with injuries this year. Derr suffered a dislocated thumb and Wroblewski hyperextended his knee in the team’s first scrimmage.

Wroblewski did play and score in Goretti’s game against Chapelgate on Friday.

Reitenbach is especially excited about the arrival of freshman Mike Ewing, and rightfully so. Ewing had a hand in all five Goretti goals against Chapelgate.

“I tell people he’s the best ninth-grader in Washington County,” Reitenbach said. “But it’s a big step up to play at the varsity level as a freshman.”

Reitenbach said the Gaels are strongest on the defensive end, led by senior Tyler Barnhart, juniors Mike Smith and Mike Dimercurio and sophomore Morgan Kenworthy. He said keeper Mike Fairley “is going to keep us in every game.”

Smithsburg

Like North, the Leopards lost a handful of standouts from a year ago, including county player of the year Cullan Ganley. Coach Joe Dietrich will take the “next man up” approach in replacing those standouts.

Seniors Dillan Harbaugh and Kevin Grimm started along side Ganley in the attack zone last season and they’ll be joined by sophomore Josh Thomas, who was the first backup.

“That’s three pretty good guys at attack. Hopefully, we’ll spread the wealth a little bit,” Dietrich said.

The Leopards lost all-county midfielder Luke Slick to graduation, so Dietrich will ask Chase Scott — Slick’s backup a year ago — to step in and handle faceoff duties. Travis Leopold and Cory Dunkin will also man the midfield.

One thing sure to ease Dietrich’s mind is the return of goalkeeper Clayton Layman, an all-county and all-MVAL pick last season.

“He’s a heck of an athlete. He can play anywhere on the field,” Dietrich said. “He gets fired up back there (in goal). That’s the kind of player you need, someone who will get fired up and talk to the other players.”

The Leopards return two starters on defense in seniors Ryker Jernigan and Tanner Leach. They’ll be joined on the back end by sophomore Kyle Geblein.

South Hagerstown

Tallant acknowledges that this will be a building year for the Rebels.

“Step one for us was building discipline, training in fundamentals and teaching the game,” Tallant said. “Right now, it’s about fundamentals and repetition. We’re keeping it very basic.”

Tallant said he’ll rely on his group of seniors — Troy McGhee and Isaac O’Brien on offense, Ben Phillips and Richard Mounts on defense and Drake Kessell in goal — to guide the team forward this season.

“They’ve responded seamlessly. They’re excited to have a change and they’ve been involved in everything we’ve done,” Tallant said. “They’re helping to change the expectations.”

Tallant also said he’s looking for contributions from sophomores Noah Wright, Tyler Bradshaw, Jordan Foster and Austin Warren, as well as freshman Cole Barnhart.



GIRLS LACROSSE

Boonsboro

The Boonsboro girls are also entering their first varsity season while fielding a JV team, too.

“We went from 27 players in 2011 to 42 this season,” said coach Susan Funke. “Only five of the 42 played youth lacrosse. It’s exciting to see new interest in this sport.”

One big plus for the Warriors this season is the return of Tori Poffenberger. The team’s top scorer in 2010 missed all of last season with an ACL injury.

They could also soon see the return of Alex Green, who was second to Poffenberger in scoring in 2010 and also missed last season due to injury.

Natalie Young moves from attack to midfield, where she’ll be joined by junior Katie Sheridan — the team’s top scorer last year — and Claudia Jenkins, a transfer from Brunswick.

Shelby Hanes and Cecea Kline head the defense in front of sophomore keeper Maeve Windsor.

“My girls are learning to play as a team,” Funke said. “Our transition is improving, settled defense is looking like a unit and the attack is getting the importance of off-ball play.”

North Hagerstown

Coach Katie Eck already had a nice core of players returning in 2012, but the Hubs will get an enormous boost with the addition of sisters Leah and Kayla Peterson, who transferred in from Saint James.

The twin sophomores put up nearly identical numbers as freshmen last season. Leah led the Saints with 47 goals and was second in assists with 23; Kayla was second on the team in goals with 45 and first in assists with 27.

They’ll join senior attack Samantha Culp and junior midfielder Maddie Palkovitz to give the Hubs a potentially potent offense.

Sophomore Emma Moss solidifies the Hubs defense in goal.

“She gives strong leadership on our defense. She’s a great communicator,” Eck said.

Saint James

The Saints certainly will feel the loss of the Peterson sisters to transfer, as well as Megan McFillen, Morgan Stephens and goalkeeper Kate Sweeney to graduation.

They do return two-time all-county pick Margaret Bacon, who was third in both goals and assists for Saint James a year ago.

St. Maria Goretti

The Gaels also take the step up to the varsity level this season with a mix of experience and youth.

“I am expecting great things from my returning players,” said coach Renee Brennan. “They have what it takes to compete against a tough varsity schedule.”

Seniors Jean Hogan and Nicole Brennan will head up the attack for Goretti. Junior Jessica Swarner and sophomore Sydney Quantock will man the midfield and juniors Casey Caruso and Courtney Dorsey and sophomore Kaitlyn Barnhart lead the Gaels defense.

“Our newcomers offer a mix of talent and add to our depth,” Renee Brennan said. “We’re looking forward to a great season.”

Smithsburg

First-year head coach Jessica Klinger will have a few luxuries at her disposal this season, beginning with last year’s player of the year Taylor Cline.

Cline, a midfielder, had 52 goals and 12 assists last season. She will continue her career next year at Limestone (S.C.) College.

Two other seniors will make major contributions for the Leopards — attack Nadya Gutierrez and defender Sydney Smith, who will play at Mount Olive College next year.

Junior Dominique DiLandro will serve as a captain and join Cline in a strong midfield. Junior Emily Seward and sophomore Sarah Thompson add depth in the middle. Emma Gerhold will complement Smith on defense.

“We’re looking forward to a winning season and building each week,” Klinger said. “We have an incredible amount of talent on the team.”

South Hagerstown

The Rebels graduated nine players from last year — eight of whom were starters — giving coach Bruce Burhman a largely young and inexperienced team.

Three junior midfielders do return for South. Michaela Brewer is a strong two-way player, Heather Callahan is stronger offensively and will likely start at center, and Mikala Stephenson is a leader with excellent game sense, according to Buhrman.

The longtime coach sees promise from four youngsters: Freshman attack Soleil Chriest, sophomore middies Shania Deagrella and Olivia Shoop and sophomore defender Alyssa Garland.

“We’re diligently building our team anew,” Buhrman said. “The girls are positive and focused and they’re looking forward to the upcoming season.”

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