The Jump to Varsity: Due to COVID, lacrosse sophomores play on top team without a transition year

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Photo courtesy of Mr. Soloman

Sophomore Carson Brandt made the leap from youth lacrosse to varsity: a unique experience caused by the cancellation of last year’s season.

Mason Wordelman, Staff Writer

The boys’ lacrosse team is finally back on the field after missing their 2020 season due to COVID-19 cancellations. The new team looks a lot different than in past years as the Red Knights field a roster with over a third of the players being underclassmen. Many players on varsity have not been on the team in the past, making for a fresh squad outside of the core seniors. The sophomores are put into a precarious position this year, as they are expected to play a vital role on the team without having the freshman transition year.

Tryouts were interesting this year with the class of 2023 bringing new energy to the program. Most were confident in their abilities, but not certain they’d make the team due to it being their first time going through the process. “I had nerves going into tryouts as an underclassman and never playing for the program before. However, I knew that I was good enough and worked hard enough in the off-season to be on the varsity team,” sophomore transfer Brad Little said.

Sophomores had to make the big leap from youth lacrosse to varsity lacrosse, which encompasses a whole new set of expectations and workload. They realized this quickly after tryouts consisted of five hours in a single day. “The amount of time that is put in on the field in practice is a lot different. Going from practicing two times a week for one hour to six days a week for two hours is a big jump,” Little said.

Immediately after tryouts ended, the sophomores were thrust into critical roles in the offensive and defensive systems. All are expected to compete at the level of the upperclassmen on the team, including 10th grade attackmen Carsen Brandt. “I think I have an important role to fill with all of the seniors from last year graduating, especially Jack Vanoverbeke at attack. Coach Horn said I need to play like an upperclassman this year,” Brandt said.

Brandt also had to adapt to the varsity style of play, a sharp contrast to the individualistic style played by club teams. “Catching and throwing are very important on varsity. If you can’t catch and throw, you hurt the team. The physicality on varsity compared to youth lacrosse is also very different. I have to be ready to play against big and strong defensemen,” Brandt said.

Although their task may be daunting as underclassmen, the sophomores have faith in Coach Horn and his program. His support gives them confidence in reaching their goals. “I love Coach Horn. I feel like he knows more about me than I do which is kind of scary, but I think he’s a great coach that wants the best for his players. I’m hoping we win a state championship and go 20-0. I want to destroy teams,” Brandt said.