Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Fairfax High boys’ lacrosse team is still in search of its first win. But while the disappointment and frustration of a 0-9 record, the team’s mark heading into this past week, is un-consolable, Fairfax head coach Ryan Brown understood from the start this would be a rebuilding spring for his program.
Fairfax, with a senior-laden roster last year, went 5-8, one victory better than the year before when Brown was in his first season at the helm of the Rebels.
So going into this season, with 22 players from last year’s team lost to graduation, Fairfax was certain to have a less experienced, younger line-up.
"Using the term ‘re-building year’ is kind of an understatement for us," said Brown. "We are building from scratch. I had almost no experience returning this year."
Nonetheless, Brown said his team is much improved from the Rebels’ squad, which took the field for its season opener versus Centreville High back on March 15. Fairfax lost that night, 16-4. The coach believes his team would be a tougher draw for the Wildcats were the two non-district foes to meet again this season.
"In our first game we were blown out by Centreville," said Brown. "I think if we played them now it would be a totally different game. The guys have matured a lot. The challenge this year is to keep the hopes up and to let them know it’s not always about winning and losing. These players are always working hard for me and trying to get better."
In a Liberty District road game on April 14, Fairfax played the home team McLean Highlanders hard and tough but fell short in an 8-6 loss. Brown said the difference in that contest was the Rebels’ inability to consistently win face-offs and not being able to pick up enough groundballs.
The closest games Fairfax has played this season were against McLean — the 8-6 setback — and a 7-5 district home loss to Jefferson on March 31. The next closest the Rebels have played an opponent was a 12-7 district home loss to Marshall on April 12. Other reasonably close scores have come against Washington-Lee, 13-7, on March 25, and Madison, 9-3, on April 7, both setbacks coming at home.
<b>THE REBELS’ LEADERSHIP</b> this season has come from seniors Sam Bechert, a midfielder and the most experienced player back from last year’s squad, and midfielder David Robertson, along with junior midfielder Robert Bush. Unfortunately, Bush injured a knee a few weeks ago and is out for the remainder of the season.
Bechert is a top-notch athlete who handles most of the team’s faceoffs. He is a good open field player with the ball and has often cleared the ball out of danger with long, open field runs.
Robertson, meanwhile, is a first year varsity starter. He is an exceptional left-handed shooter and a vocal leader for the young Rebels. Robertson, who was a member of the JV squad last year as a junior, will be attending Duke next school year.
"Every week, he gets better," said Brown, of Robertson’s game.
Bush, out the rest of this spring but certain to come back next year and be an integral part of the line-up as a senior, was a backup on last year’s varsity. But this season he emerged into a steady, solid starter for Brown’s varsity.
"He’s not great in any one area, but he’s good in everything," said the coach, assessing Bush’s consistent play. "He’s a solid guy who can throw and catch and get the ball to the right guy. Also, he’s a good shooter."
Fairfax was set to have its work cut out this week with road games against top Liberty District opponents South Lakes (Tuesday, April 26) and Stone Bridge (Thursday, April 28).
"Those are two very good teams," said Brown. "It’s going to be tough for us to get wins versus those teams. But as long as we work hard, work together and give our best effort, we’ll see how it goes. When my guys are playing well and doing things right, they’re very tough."
The present has been tough but the future is brighter for the Rebels.
Brown said his team could surprise some opponents over the final couple weeks of the regular season and on into the district tournament. He is also optimistic about next year’s team.
"Hopefully next year we’ll have a really good team," said Brown. "Most of the line-up will be back."