The Colleyville lacrosse team will look to advance farther this year in the postseason, and it will likely be on the expectations of its stalwart defense.
Head coach Gary Dennington said his squad opened practices earlier this month and had been looking ahead to their first regular season game last Saturday against Hillcrest.
Colleyville picked up the first win over Hillcrest, 15-8.
But, to improve on their 12-5 season of last year, the defense must meet their lofty expectations while the offense will need to play a more ball-control offense.
Although Colleyville lost in the first round of the playoffs to McKinney in double overtime, Dennington said if the team had played a more balanced game the it was good enough to be a final-four squad.
“We’re a quick-strike team,” Dennington said. “We need to learn to do a better job controlling the ball and having longer possessions. We’re a fast break team and need to slow down and show some poise and take time off the clock.”
The issue was that Colleyville was scoring so quickly, they felt they were giving the opposition too many possessions to score themselves.
“We put the defense in tough spots,” Dennington added. “We need to give up (taking) some shots and play a possession game so that our defense can actually rest.”
The team will be anchored by Madux Middaugh, who serves as the point guard, as the attack offense runs through him, Dennington said.
Jack Barbonari and Griffin Gradke, who can both shoot at over 90 mph, will also be back for Colleyville.
All three of those key players are juniors, but the team has been able to offer younger players playing time to help keep feeding the program.
“We’ve got the best three poles in the division,” Dennington said of his defense. “We’ve got nine that play defense and they are all really good.”
Thus far, Colleyville has been showing it may be quicker than in the past, playing faster and looking crisper in early season workouts than last year.
Whether the early season sharpness pays off will be quickly tested in the first tournament for Colleyville.
The Jesuit Tournament will start on Saturday, and some of the toughest programs in the area are on the schedule for Colleyville.
Dennington said his squad will face Southlake, McKinney, Highland Park and Jesuit in the tourney.
“We could be 0-4 coming out of that tournament,” he said.
The strong competition will help prepare for the tough district schedule ahead.
“The tournament record doesn’t go against our district record,” Dennington added, “so it’s a good measuring stick. We’ll do well and compete with all four (teams). We need to keep it close in the first half, but it will be a real test to see where we are.”