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Gators set for inaugural WPIAL home game

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Michael Love | The Times Express
Senior Shawn Chaudhry and the other Gateway varsity boys lacrosse team players are gearing up for the first regular-season home game as full WPIAL members. They face Pickerington Central, Ohio, on April 6, 2013, at 4:30 p.m.
Michael Love | The Times Express
Junior Greg Paladin works on a drill during practice on April 1, 2013.

In 2011 and last year, the Gateway boys junior varsity and varsity lacrosse teams played numerous scrimmage games on the turf at Antimarino Stadium.

The Gators also scrimmaged twice at home in the preseason — against Aquinas Academy on March 19 and against Penn-Trafford four days later.

But on Saturday, the Gateway teams play their first official regular-season home games as full members of the WPIAL.

A series of four games at Antimarino Stadium begins at noon with a junior varsity contest between Penn-Trafford and Pickerington Central, Ohio.

The P-T and Pickerington varsity squads then play at 1:30 p.m., followed by the JV matchup between Gateway and Pickerington at 3.

The quartet of games concludes with the varsity game between Gateway and Pickerington.

“Lacrosse is still growing in Ohio, but I know (Pickerington) will come in here with some experience,” Gateway assistant coach Sean Walker said.

“The guys will be ready to go against them.”

Pickerington Central High School is near Columbus, and 1988 Gateway graduate Dave Slovina is an assistant coach with the Tigers program.

“I know he is really excited to come back and play us,” Walker said.

Penn-Trafford's lacrosse program still is in its infancy and is playing as a club team this season.

“(The Gateway players) have talked a lot about wanting to pack the stands for Saturday's games,” Walker said.

“It's an exciting time for the guys, especially the juniors and seniors who have been here from the start. It's another milestone for this program. They are tired of (head) coach (John) Washington and I yelling at them in practice. They want to play games. Hopefully, we can start (the home schedule) off with a nice win.”

Gateway originally was scheduled to play North Hills in its home opener on March 27, but the game was postponed because of bad weather.

“It was a little tough on the guys,” Walker said.

“As the (North Hills) game got closer, they were really getting on pace and were ready to play. We had good scrimmages against Aquinas and Penn-Trafford. Then the snow came in, and they found out they weren't going to be able to play. On top of that, there was a lull with Easter break. Now, the guys are really ready to get the season going.”

Gateway was scheduled to open the regular season Wednesday at Chartiers Valley, and the game was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.

The Gators hit the road for two games — at Mars on Monday and at Allderdice on Wednesday.

The Mars doubleheader will feature the JV at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity at 7.

The Allderdice game is varsity only and is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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