Boys Varsity Lacrosse
By: Shawn Annarelli
Friday, April 12, 2019 | 6:55 PM
“Grit” started as a motto for the Quaker Valley boys lacrosse team.
Their tough talk has translated into a hard-nosed playing style.
The Quakers jumped out to a 3-1 start to the season with the lone loss against Canon-McMillan, which plays up a classification.
“I think we’re where I thought we would be,” senior captain David Kraus said. “Canon-Mac is a tough team, but we had a two-goal lead at the half. I wish we could have carried our momentum the whole game, but we looked strong.”
The Quakers are the only team to score at least seven goals on the Big Macs, who have allowed 3.75 goals per game against eight other teams.
“There wasn’t doubt in our minds, and no one was worried about getting blown out,” Kraus said. “We knew Canon-Mac was good, but we believe in ourselves. We believe in each other, and our coach believes in us. That really helps us to go out there and have a mentality that we’re gonna put on a show and have fun.”
Kraus credited coach Chip Hansen with getting the team mentally tough and athletic trainer Derek Clark for preparing the team to physically grind down opponents.
“When you look at that Canon-Mac game, it tested their mettle,” Hansen said. “They just worked harder, harder and harder. They had determination and perseverance. They wouldn’t give up.”
The team didn’t lack in intensity in previous seasons, but with key players graduating last year, Kraus knew more teammates had to step up to have another deep playoff run. Juniors and seniors on the team experienced a WPIAL championship game loss in 2017 and got booted in the semifinals last year.
“Is it going to be tough to go that far?” Hansen said. “Yes, it’s going to be a challenge for us, but this team definitely has the talent to get back to the championship game.”
Their playoff exits fueled an offseason that began last summer for a handful of players.
Other teammates gradually joined in the player-driven, offseason workout program with the last couple getting involved after wrapping up winter sports seasons.
The extra work has paid off in the scoring column, especially for Evan Frund and Kraus. The two have combined for 25 goals.
“A lot of our offensive play starts with really good defense,” Kraus said. “When you have players like Smith Johnson, Patrick Cutchember, Benji Knott and Harrison Bould on defense, it all comes from them and our goalie John Auth. Then our midfielders move the ball up the field and our attackers work together.”
The team’s cohesiveness and commitment to grit are the two keys to every game, according to Kraus.
“To try to get further than we have before, I think it takes hard work and trust,” Kraus said. “I feel a lot of people are rising to the occasion. It’s not just people buying in to our motto. It comes from a personal level to do your best and knowing our bond as a team can get us to where we want to be.”
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 | 4:00 PM
School: Quaker Valley
Sport: Boys lacrosse
Claim to fame: Quaker Valley’s boys lacrosse team is undefeated against Class AA competition this season, which means expectations will be high heading into the playoffs.
David Kraus, an Allegheny College commit, has been the captain of the Quakers and led the team to its three most recent wins with 11 goals and nine assists while scoring his 200th point.
What did it mean to you to surpass 200 points?
It means a lot to me. My parents got the ball and wrote 200 on it, and they’re putting it in a case. It’s something to look back on. I like scoring goals, but assists are just the same or even better. Maybe I’ll get to 250 with a long playoff run. My family is proud, but I’d be way happier if we got a championship this year.
Quaker Valley is averaging more than 12 goals per game. How is this team able to generate so much offense?
I think Coach Hansen has initiated a lot of plays that work well from an open set. We get the ball moving. Everyone gets a touch, and we run plays and set picks for each other and attack from the ‘X’ (position). Our pace seems to throw off the defense a little bit, and we see the field well. We have a lot of great finishers and lacrosse IQ.
You’ve been a scoring leader for this team. Who do you feel sets you up with the best passes?
I’d say our attack line has great chemistry. We lost Evan Frund for the past few games, but we also have Brennan Dugan. Whether he can find me or I can find him, it’s not a one-way street. Dylan Roebuck has been really helpful. He sits on the crease, and we rotate, and we work together.
What’s your go-to move in the open field to create a scoring opportunity?
I like to dodge from the “X,” probably to the left, then roll back and to finish like that. They call it five-to-five. I try to get five yards to the left and five yards up to have an angle on my shot. I usually act like I’m going right before I curl back left.
You’ve been a part of teams that have come close to winning WPIAL championships. What does this team have to do in the playoffs to reach that goal?
I think we have to stay focused. We all have the same goal to get every ground ball, work on offense and be smart. Our coach says it again and again that we have to have grit, and I think hard work beats talent. It comes down to grit and how bad do you want to win? I think we’ll give it our best shot.
What will you miss the most about this team?
I’ll miss bonding with everyone. We’re all unique in our own way. I’ll miss showing up for practice, it’s hot and everyone is beaten down, but we’re all here trying to get better. I’ll miss our coaches and just being at the field. I’ll miss our bus rides after winning away games and singing “Country Roads.” That’ll be a good memory to keep.