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Moon lacrosse off to fast start

| Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

In just its fourth year fielding a varsity program and its second as an officially sanctioned WPIAL team, the Moon boys lacrosse team has landed atop the WPIAL Division II Section 2 standings.

Commitment has been key in ascending through the standings.

“I think this year the kids are a lot more committed to being a lot better,” coach Harry Watts said. “Their commitment to each other and commitment to the team is definitely the best it has been since we started.”

The Tigers joined the WPIAL last year — its first two seasons being part of a probation ary period — and entered the week 8-0 overall and 1-0 in section play.

Moon's defense has provided ample opportunities for the Tigers' offense in the season's early going.

“The defense is extremely aggressive and putting us in a good place, keeping the score down low,” Watts said. “The defense is playing so strong that it's giving us possessions, and we're starting to capitalize on all the extra possessions they're giving us. We're definitely a defensive-first mentality, that's for sure.”

Senior Scott Sevin serves as the unit's leader and sophomore Noah Moser and junior Max Huffman have been defensive stalwarts, with Huffman called upon to stop the opposing team's top scorer.

“We put him on the best player, and he has shut down probably three of the four best players that we've played against all season,” Watts said of Huffman.

Offensively, the Tigers are led by junior attacker Ajay Hammer, the focal point of Moon's offense.

“He's our man,” Watts said. “He's our go-to guy. A lot of our plays kind of run through him.”

With strong play from those players, along with sophomore goalie Ryan Lee, the Tigers have gotten off to a fast start and appear to be a program on the rise after finishing 9-8 last season and missing the postseason.

“It's exciting for me to watch since I've been there from the beginning and it's kind of progressively gotten better every year. I think this is the first year that we really have a chance to push for playoffs and hopefully more than that,” Watts said.

The Tigers have an expansive youth program that features a U-11 and U-15 team, along with two U-13 teams.

There is a sophomore team with ninth- and 10th-graders, as well as the junior varsity and varsity teams. In total, the Tigers have 120 athletes.

With the success this season at the varsity level and so much interest and excitement with its youth teams, Watts is very optimistic about what lies ahead for Moon lacrosse.

“I can just imagine really good things in the future for us because our youth program is so strong,” he said.

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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