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Norwin lacrosse looks to build off best year

Doug Gulasy | Norwin Star
Norwin midfielder Nico Alessandro carries the ball during the Knights' game against Quaker Valley on April 29, 2013, at Norwin High School.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

The Norwin boys lacrosse posted the best season in the program's brief history last season, and the Knights are looking for even more success in 2014.

Norwin finished 6-12 last season, the most wins since the school began fielding lacrosse in 2009. The Knights missed out on the WPIAL playoffs and haven't made the postseason in program history.

“I think they're definitely looking to build off last year's success,” said first-year coach Mike Shanahan, who took over for Jeff Braid. “We have a lot of guys returning, a lot of guys that have been in the program for a few years. Hopefully, we can have a good season and win a lot of games.”

A large amount of seniors graduated from last season's team, including the top five goal-scorers and both goaltenders. Shanahan said plenty of experience remains, as the Knights' roster includes 12 seniors.

“I think we have a great group of guys,” he said. “They've been working really hard. They're unselfish. They show up every day willing to get better and learn and just have fun, too. We have a nice group of seniors that kind of lead the way, and we have some younger guys that are following their lead and just trying to get better every day.”

Seniors Nicco Alessandro and Mason Bryan are taking on a leadership role for the Knights this season, Shanahan said. With 10 goals and one assist last season, Alessandro is Norwin's leading returning scorer. Bryan, who scored two goals and added five assists last season, recently signed to play lacrosse at Division II Lourdes University.

Outside of Alessandro and Bryan, Shanahan said the entire senior class is leading the team.

“I think the seniors as a collective group have been really good,” he said. “They show up every day, they're vocal and they lead by example.”

Norwin was scheduled to begin the 2014 season by hosting Penn-Trafford on Monday and Baldwin on Wednesday. The Knights will travel to play Shaler at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

“I feel like we have a lot of good players offensively and defensively,” Shanahan said. “We have a good group of midfielders that play both ends very well. I think overall, right now I'm happy with the team I have. Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do, but I'm excited to see how they do and how we play as a team.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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