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Schauder, Bragg Team Up for Spartans

Attack duo helps lead West Springfield over Madison, contributes to team's dominating offense.

West Springfield lacrosse player Eric Schauder has two sets of plays committed to memory.

He has ones West Springfield head lacrosse coach Scott Settar has drawn up for the team and ones he developed with longtime attack partner Hunter Bragg at the youth level.

"In eighth grade, we used to have a play we called ‘taco,’" Schauder said. "We'd make up plays with funny names. We still try them, but we don't call it taco anymore."

It's not clear if “play taco” has been used in a West Springfield game, but the strong chemistry between Bragg and Schauder was evident when the team defeated Madison 9-4 on March 29.

The longtime friends provided a burst of offense for the Spartans. Bragg netted three goals. Schauder added one goal and assisted on two of Bragg's marks.

"We work together well just from playing together for so long," Bragg said. "I just know what he's going to do."

The senior duo's play is indicative of two players whose games work in cohesion. When defenders pressure Schauder behind the net, Bragg is Schauder's first look to pass the ball.

"I come up from behind the goal and I just always know Bragg is going to be there," Schauder said. "His stick will be ready to shoot. When in doubt, I just get it to him."

This type of offensive chemistry has allowed the Spartans to open their season with a roar.

After the spring break tournament opener against Madison, the Spartans record stands at 4-0. What is most impressive is their sizable goal differential.

The Spartans have scored 57 goals in four games, an average of 14.25 goals scored a game. On defense, the Spartans have been just as dominating, allowing only 11 goals so far this season.

"It's all chemistry," Settar said. "The kids have been playing together for four-plus years. Our first midfield line was all together last year. Our starting attack was all together last year. They still have that chemistry from 18 games last year."

Where some teams might rely on one or two players to help generate offense early in the season, Settar said his team has avoided that trap.

"We've started off the season in mid-season form as far as our offense goes," he said. "Nobody is selfish on offense. Everyone can contribute."

Despite a quick start to the season, Settar is convinced that the team still has room for improvement.

"We have to start winning the turnover battles," he said. "But every day we see something new we need to work on. In no way are we ready to go to a region championship right now."