Spring Break week was expected to be a busy time for the Herndon High boys’ lacrosse team.
The Hornets, under second year head coach Bill Will, competed at the West Potomac Tournament last weekend and were taking part in the four-team T.C. Williams High Tournament this week.
Herndon was scheduled to meet a team from Texas in its final game of the West Potomac tournament on Monday.
On Tuesday at the T.C. tourney, the Hornets were set to meet Broad Run High School (Ashburn).
Prior to the recent tournaments, Herndon opened its new season up last week with a tough 10-7 loss at local rival South Lakes High School in Reston. It was a huge win for the home team Seahawks, who had not beaten Herndon in 17 years. South Lakes had a big game from junior attack Matt Shinrick, who scored six goals.
South Lakes coach Matt Blamey said his team played a smart offensive game in the victory.
"It was all about discipline," said Blamey, in his fourth season as the South Lakes head coach. "We went down and set it up. [We] were very good at controlling the tempo."
Of Shinrick’s big game, Blamey said, "He played fantastic. He’s tough to stop. He has great vision and he knows where to be."
Blamey had a key message for his seniors going into the season opener game against Herndon. Those Seahawk 12th graders had never before beaten a Herndon varsity squad.
"I said, `Seniors, leave your legacy today,’" Blamey recalled. "The guys left everything in the game. They knew [afterwards] they had accomplished a huge feat."
Blamey said the number `17’ was the evening’s theme for the Seahawks. It had been 17 years since South Lakes had last beaten Herndon. Last year, Herndon had scored 17 goals in a win over South Lakes. And with last week’s final 10-7 outcome, the coach noted that the total goals in the game added up to 17.
"I think we just really controlled the tempo and it started with the face-offs," said Blamey. "[But] Herndon played their tails off. The Herndon goalie played good."
<b>While the loss</b> was a stinger for Herndon, it had plenty of games over the next week at the Spring Break tournaments to help put it behind. All in all, Herndon was set to play five games over five days over the break.
"It was a conscious decision by me," said Will, the Herndon coach, of having his team compete in two tournaments. "I wanted 14 [total] games [for the season] as opposed to 11 on our schedule. We’re very young and a lot of our players don’t have varsity experience."
Herndon lost 21 seniors to graduation from last year’s 5-7 team that qualified for the Northern Region playoffs where it lost a first round game to Chantilly.
"Now, we have lots of sophomores and freshmen," said Will, of this year’s squad. "We’ve [still] got some good returning seniors."
One of those key returning seniors is midfielder Scott `Rino’ Petersen, a team captain and the Hornets’ face-off specialist. Petersen, an Honorable Mention All-Concorde District selection last year as a junior, received his nickname, `Rino,’ as a result of his physical style of play.
"He’s pretty powerfully built," said Will, of Petersen. "He likes to run into people. He has a good skill level."
Another important senior in this spring’s lineup is defenseman Eric Geider, who saw a good amount of playing time last year.
"He’s really leading our defense this year," said Will, of Geider. "He’s improved his quickness, he’s a smart player and he takes charge of things."
And two other seniors who will play important roles for Herndon are senior long stick middie Ryan Sclmeca and Joe Kelly, an offensive midfielder.
Sclmeca, a backup last year, has greatly improved his speed this spring, according to Will.
Kelly, meanwhile, has been slowed down early on this season by a hip injury. Over the first two weeks of practice, he was able to participate in stick drills but not allowed to be involved in contact drills. Will was hoping Kelly would be available for the spring break action.
"He’s a tall, lanky player and sort of plays like the old fashioned crease man," said Will, of Kelly. "He’s a good scorer around the net."
<b>Coach Will</b> likes the overall talent he has in his underclassmen players. Most of them were part of a 2007 Herndon JV squad that went 8-2.
Key underclassmen attack players to keep an eye on for Herndon this season include sophomore players Billy Kelly and Ben Mark, who have both impressed their coach with their creative play on offense, junior Jon Stevens and freshmen backup attacks Jonathan Sclmeca and Alex Wilson.
A key underclassman who will be starting on defense will be sophomore Brian Curran.
"He’s got a ton of potential," said Will.
Chance Anies, a junior, is the team’s starting goalie this year.
"He played a lot in the offseason and has improved dramatically," said Will, of his goalie.
Sophomore midfielder Dan Shull will see lots of minutes this season.
Being relatively young and competing in the talent-laden Concorde District means Herndon will have its work cut out this season against traditionally powerhouse teams such as Chantilly, Robinson, Westfield and Oakton.
"Those are four of the top five teams in the state," said Will. "It’s kind of scary going up against those types of teams with a young team. But we have good overall team speed this year. We’re going to have to learn to play together as a team."