By Piers McGinn
The boys lacrosse team (1-3) has gotten off a to a shaky start, but players and coaches believe through hard work and determination, they can turn it around and make the state tournament.
“I think we can definitely turn it around,” attackman Holden Johnson (’15) said. “[Stephen] Belderes is a great coach. We, as a team, are figuring out the best lineup and as the season progresses, we should be able to compete for a spot in states.”
The team lost their first game of the season at home against cross-town rival Roanoke Catholic School 8-7. Isaiah Harris (’15) led the team in both goals and assists with 3 and 1, while Will Perry (’16) had 15 saves.
“We should have won that game,” said midfielder Ryan Dent (’15). “We did not execute as well as we should have, but I think if we watch the film and learn from our mistakes we can beat them next time we see them.”
The team went back to work over the next few days to prepare for Nansemond-Suffolk, the No. 1 team in the state at the time. The team lost 5-3. Gray Pollock (’18) led the team with two goals, Massey Semler (’17) had one assist, while Will Perry (’16) had 12 saves.
“The defense played great,” Dent said. “We held the No. 1 team in the state to only five goals, but we did not execute as well as we should have on offense”
One big test for the Raiders was when they played Liberty Christian Academy (LCA). At the end of the fourth quarter, there was a sense of relief from the team. They had won their first game of the season, 13-4, against one of the few Division I teams they will see. Harris (’15) led the team in assists with two, while Will Perry (’16) had 10 saves.
“We came out firing on all cylinders,” Johnson said. “We executed on both sides of the field and as a result we got the W.”
Most recently, the team traveled four hours to Blue Ridge School to face-off against the Barons (3-4). The Raiders started off shaky being out-scored by six at half, but began a rally in the second half, out-scoring the Barons 6-3. Eventually, time ran out before the Raiders could cap off their run, and the team lost, 10-7.
“We were low on energy,” Harris said. “We should have had more energy, and that includes myself.”
Up next, the team will take a long road trip to battle Virginia Episcopal School (2-1). Belderes sees a key area in which the team needs to improve.
“We need to improve our ball possession,” he said. “We need to value the ball.”