Franklin Regional boys lacrosse striving for more success
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Franklin Regional boys lacrosse team traditionally finds itself in postseason contention at the end of each year. This year, however, coach Dave Alexander wants more than that.
“Historically, if you look over the past five to eight years, Franklin's always a .500 team,” Alexander said. “It's a little frustrating because we need to be better than that. That's a goal of mine, to be .750 or even more — but to be over .500.”
After missing the WPIAL Division I playoffs in 2012, Franklin Regional returned to the postseason last season. However, an 8-8 regular-season record put the Panthers in a first-round matchup against Mt. Lebanon, which they lost, 15-10. Mt. Lebanon went on to win the WPIAL title.
“What the killer was last year was all of our close games, (the) one- and two-goal games we lost,” Alexander said. “We probably had anywhere from four to five, possibly even six games, that were lost by one or two goals. That was a complete killer. Some of those were section games, which would have put us in a better seeding in the playoffs.”
Alexander said a team focus would be finding a way to win those games this season. Doing so, he said, would require better possession of the ball this season.
Franklin Regional must replace 11 seniors from last season's team, including defender Luke Stephens, one of the WPIAL's seven All-American players in boys lacrosse last season. All-section attacker Tanner Roberts also graduated, along with three other members of the Panthers' front line.
Despite the loss of Stephens and goaltender Luke Zottola on the back end, Alexander said he thought defense would be a team strength with several returning key players.
“I honestly think our defensive unit is one of, if not the best, in Western Pennsylvania,” he said. “They're strong, they have great stick skills, they pick up ground balls, they're physical, they put other players on their back — they do a lot of just the little right things.”
Senior Devin Arrigo, an all-section pick at midfielder last season, will boost the team's offense.
“He's just bigger, faster, stronger than a majority of the players playing in Western Pennsylvania,” Alexander said. “He's definitely an asset to have back. He brings a lot of experience, leadership and skill, and he's only going to get better than he was last year.”
Two of the team's starting attackers are returnees from last season, Alexander said.
Franklin Regional was scheduled to begin its season with a section game at Fox Chapel on Wednesday night, past the deadline for this week's edition. The Panthers will travel to State College this weekend before hosting Shady Side Academy in another section game next Thursday.
Alexander said his goal is for the Panthers to return to the playoffs again this season, but he ultimately wants the team to win a championship. Franklin Regional won three Western Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association titles in a five-year span during the 1990s, but the Panthers haven't won one since.
“I know we have good players,” said Alexander, who was on the title-winning teams in 1995 and 1996. “As long as they stay on the game plan that the coaches lay out for them, I think it puts us in a good position of being in the playoffs and making a run in the playoffs.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at email@example.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Judge refuses to reduce bail for McKeesport robbery suspect
- Civic organization donates to Clairton Police Department
- West Mifflin woman held for court, accused of leaving baby unattended
- Killer sharks are taking over the air, and the airwaves
- Freeport grad picks PSAC’s Mercyhurst
- Pirates’ Worley tosses 4-hit shutout vs. Giants
- Steelers hoping that youth movement breathes life into team
- Undefeated West Mifflin set to open American Legion state tournament
- Westmoreland women stole thousands to finance dog show appearances
- Pirates expect high prices in trade market
- Rain postpones Monday’s Fayette County Baseball League playoff games