Indiana lacrosse excels as team in transition
TribLIVE Sports Videos
In his first year as coach, Allen Affolter has seen a lot of changes with the Indiana boys lacrosse team.
The Indians (8-4, 4-0) are poised to claim the first section championship in program history, with only a Wednesday game against Division II, Section 1 opponent Latrobe (1-7, 0-3) left.
With two seniors on the roster — captains Keldon Spicher and Garrett Sharp — Affolter saw the young team as a chance to start from the ground up.
“We've implemented a new system, and the kids have been learning it in stages,” Affolter said. “It's been a little bit of a work in progress, but the guys have really bought into the offensive system and are getting better each week.”
The team has responded well, and players have stepped up in big ways, including sophomore attackman Dylan Stapleton, who leads the Indians in scoring.
But Affolter is glad to have his seniors around for the rebuild. Spicher was named all-section last season in the midfield, and Sharp leads a defensive group that has been key to the team's growth this season.
“Our defense is a lot faster, and the skill of the long-pole has really affected our play,” Affolter said. “We try to play a fast game and our long-poles facilitate a good transition game.”
Having defenders that can push the ball in transition is a luxury on the high school level, but it also forces the offensive players into a new role of playing without the ball. Much like in basketball and hockey, it's important for players use the full space of the offensive zone for a play to develop.
“I think everybody knows what you do when you have the ball, but one of the biggest things in lacrosse is getting the kids to create space by moving without the ball,” Affolter said. “They've been very unselfish in moving so the ball carrier has an alley or a lane.”
While Indiana has been dominant in its section, its success against other top teams in Division II has been mixed.
The Indians lost 7-5 to Moon and Mars, the leaders of Sections 2 and 3, respectively, but defeated likely playoff teams Canon-McMillan, 8-7, and Greensburg Central Catholic.
Although Wednesday's tuneup with Latrobe isn't against a team of the same caliber, there will be plenty to work on before playoff seedings are announced Thursday.
“One of my goals as a coach is to sort of turn them loose,” Affolter said. “I like to let them see what they can do themselves and call their own plays. If they understand the offense and can implement it themselves, I think they play faster and relax that way.”
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
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.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Brookline 12-year-old crashes mother’s car
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Owner of Penn Hills tombstone business pleads guilty to swindling the bereaved
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, out with concussion
- Penguins slip past Sharks, 3-2, in shootout
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Reports say 1 dead at Fort Meade gate crashing
- LaBar: WrestleMania 31 one of the best ever
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Crash, downed utility pole block intersection in Bridgeville