ShareThis Page

Sewickley Academy boys lacrosse gaining confidence

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 5:54 p.m.

Tim Hastings has seen some changes in his team in recent weeks.

The Sewickley Academy boys lacrosse coach has observed a group of players with more confidence — and as a result, more victories — to show for their efforts.

“I felt coming into the season that this was a team with a lot of potential,” Hastings said. “We came out of the chute playing OK.

“We were close, but we weren't quite there.”

Hastings points to a 10-3 loss at Shady Side Academy on April 22 as the turning point of the season.

“We played one really good half (against Shady Side Academy),” Hastings said. “We lost the game, but that's where we really started clicking.”

The Panthers (7-6) began this week having won four of their last five games. The only loss during that stretch was an 8-7 double-overtime defeat at North Allegheny.

Close games have been the norm for Sewickley Academy this season. The Panthers have been involved in five games decided by one goal, posting a 2-3 record in those contests.

The team's most recent one-goal win came last Friday at the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

Sewickley Academy beat Rocky River (Ohio), 9-8, on Friday afternoon, then posted a 5-2 victory over Detroit Jesuit (Mich.) on Saturday morning.

Along with his team's surging confidence, Hastings has seen more continuity and sharper execution from his players.

“We've been dropping fewer passes,” Hastings said. “That means fewer turnovers and more chances to score as a result.”

Prior to last weekend's MSLCA tournament, the Panthers had a trio of players who had registered double figures in goals this season.

Senior C.R. Hrycenko leads the Panthers with 12 markers, followed by sophomores Ryder MacDougall and Michael Foley, who have 10 apiece.

Hrycenko is able to take quality shots from his attack spot despite getting plenty of attention from opposing defenses every time he takes the field.

“He's been a major force for us the past three years,” Hastings said of his leading goal-getter. “Teams focus on him, but he's very strong. He can break double-teams and still get a shot off.”

Senior midfielder Keegan MacDougall has a team-best six assists to go along with his nine goals so far.

The defensive corps is led by senior Barrett Fowkes.

“He's had an outstanding year,” Hastings said of his captain. “He's a great one-on-one defender.

“Very few people even try to take him one-on-one because they know they're going to have the ball taken away.”

Sophomore goalie Jackson O'Neill has turned away 130 shots on the year.

Sewickley Academy entered play this week needing wins in its final two section contests to qualify for the postseason.

The Panthers were scheduled to host Bethel Park on Tuesday afternoon and travel to Central Catholic on Wednesday to conclude section play. Results of those games were not available at press time.

Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.