Mallards Appear Loaded As They Prep for Tough 2008 Schedule

BERLIN- With a strong group of veteran senior players at nearly every position on the field, the Worcester Prep boys’ varsity lacrosse team appears to be loaded as they prepare for the 2008 season.

With eight seniors, a couple of juniors and a wealth of talented underclassmen ready to step up and fill the ranks, Worcester Prep appears to be loaded this spring as they prepare for the 2008 campaign. For Worcester this year, it starts with four-year starter Christian Coates in goal. Coates made an immediate impact as a freshman and has gotten better every year. He has parlayed his outstanding play in the nets and his stellar classroom work into a spot at Harvard next year, but Coates has unfinished business at Worcester and should be the anchor on the defensive end this season.

Fronting Coates on defense will be a trio of veteran seniors in Chase Humphrey, Greg Butler and Alex Fisher, with sophomore Jason Pappas rotating in. Worcester Coach Kevin Gates said this week Humphrey will be the best athlete on the field no matter who the Mallards are playing. As for Butler, Gates said the solid defender will likely stay home on defense this year.

“Every year, I try to play Greg on attack and he does a great job, but I always come back to the fact we need him on defense,” he said.

Alex Fisher is also a senior and a two-year starter on defense. Jason Pappas will also see a lot of time on defense subbing in for the three senior starters. At long stick middie, Gates will employ junior Steven Pappas and freshman Chris Fisher. Rotating in as short-stick middies on defense will be a pair of great athletes in Hunter Marshall and Hunter Harmon.

The first midfield group will also feature a pair of veteran seniors in Max DiFillipo and Hank Fisher, who will share face-off duties. Gates is counting on DiFillipo, who ran the point on the Mallards’ basketball team, to be the catalyst on offense on the lacrosse field as well.

Joining DiFillipo and Hank Fisher on the first midfield will likely be sophomore Brad Harris. Also expected to get a lot of playing time in the midfield rotations are freshmen Billy Tyler and R.J. Smith.

Up front on attack, Worcester will rely on senior Christian Payne to be the table-setter on offense. Also expected to produce big results on attack this year is another senior, Will Regan, who has a knack for being around the ball and converting scoring opportunities. Sophomore Justin Butler rounds out the starting attack and is expected to be a solid contributor.

Worcester will play a strong schedule this year including the usual suspects in their conference. They open with a tournament at McDonough next Saturday and will also play Baltimore powerhouse Boys Latin this year among others.

“I definitely ramped up the schedule this year a little bit on purpose,” said Gates. “A lot of these guys are going to play at the next level and I wanted to give them an opportunity to prepare for that by playing against the best.”