Even though it made it as far as the state semifinals last year, the Carroll lacrosse team is expecting an even better season as play gets underway next week.
Last year’s campaign marked the farthest the Dragons had advanced, but with the returning players and a solid feeder program, the future is just as bright.
Carroll head coach Bart Sullivan said workouts have just been going on for a few weeks and recent bad weather has slowed things down, but scrimmaging and plenty of skill sessions have been on the schedule.
The first games are scheduled for Feb. 13-14.
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This week, the squad will go through player evaluations and will be assigned to teams. The lacrosse program ranges from youth to high school varsity, for boys and girls.
With six seniors graduating off last year’s varsity boys team – many who have gone on to play in Division I programs – Carroll has been fortunate to have returning standouts as well as a large class of experienced freshmen to facilitate the program’s success.
“We’ve got a good group coming in,” said Sullivan. “Among them is senior Michael Cox, as an attack, who will be a big part of our offense.”
Cox will be a four-year varsity player for Carroll and has already given a commitment to Sienna College for next year.
The defense won’t be lacking, either.
Jack Welding, a junior defenseman, was an All-Stater last year and is “one of the most dominant defensive players in the state,” Sullivan said.
Welding is a two-sport athlete who is also on the basketball team at Carroll.
“He’s a high-level athlete that intends to attend Maryland,” Sullivan added.
The depth of Carroll includes two sophomores in goalie Luke Millican and attack Casey Wasserman.
Another junior who is expected to step up and play at a high level is Dean Dibello, who will be starting his third year on varsity. “He’ll be a big part of the offense as well as a good leader,” said Sullivan.
Lacrosse is rapidly becoming a popular sport in the area. Carroll has had a program for about 11 years and is now competing in Division I (the largest, most experienced classification) of the non-UIL sport.
“We’ve now got the program into an era of consistency,” Sullivan said.
Now in his third year as the head coach at Carroll, Sullivan said he and his assistants are building the scope and numbers of players and adding structure in order to be able to have a competitive middle school program and further develop players for high school and beyond.
With 26 freshmen a part of the program this year, Sullivan said Carroll is able to develop players on JV teams and provide as much playing experience as possible.
Carroll will take advantage of a continued pipeline of interested players, which includes nearly 30 eighth graders this year.
“We want to keep it from becoming just a select team league,” Sullivan said. “We want the kids to come back and play more, but we don’t want to rush it.”
One thing helping keep the interest level high is success.
Carroll will hope to be involved again in the April playoffs, but before then, the team will head to Orange County, Calif., during spring break to play West Coast teams and build team chemistry and bonding.
More information: www.southlakelacrosse.org