BERLIN- With a solid nucleus of solid veteran players returning at nearly every position on the field, Stephen Decatur’s men’s varsity lacrosse team appears poised to make a run at a conference championship and beyond this year.
Decatur, under the guidance of Coach Jason Macrides, has flourished in recent years, turning in great season after great season with a seemingly endless string of talented players. This year, the beat should go on for the Seahawks with talented veterans all over the field along with a handful of newcomers ready to contribute.
Last year’s edition went 8-4 in the regular season and reached the second round of the state playoffs before falling to Northeast, 11-10, in overtime. This year, the Seahawks hope to go further with a regional and even state championship not out of the question.
Lacrosse games are often won or lost in the middle of the field and Decatur should be strong between the restraining lines with a solid group of veteran middies. Naval Academy-bound Logan West highlights the first midfield and will be joined by veteran senior Nick Hogan and junior Calvin Snyder, a transfer from Bennett.
The projected second midfield is made up of several veteran players in Sean McGarry, Matt Doherty and Sidney Grupper. Rotating in when the Seahawks are on defense will be long-stick middie Sheppard Bratten, another transfer from Bennett.
Decatur should have no trouble putting the ball in the net this year with a solid starting trio on attack. Seniors Paul Kramer and Bruce Howe will be joined up front by junior Ben Kelleher, all of whom have a penchant for scoring in bunches.
Junior Bernie McGarry will start in goal this year after backing up Dave Gilkey much of last year. McGarry will be fronted by a veteran group of senior defenders including Jeff Jester, Logan Sappington, Pat Casey and James Reid. The four defenders are practically interchangeable and all will rotate in and out on defense, according to Macrides.
Macrides stopped short of making any predictions for the season although he did say the sky’s the limit for his veteran team this year. Barring serious injuries, the Seahawks should make a lot of noise this year.
“This might be the strongest line-up we’ve had from one end to the other since I’ve been here,” he said. “This is a veteran group. A lot of the seniors have been starting all four years here.”
Decatur should find out early just how good they are or how much more work they need to do. The Seahawks open the season next Tuesday at home against long-time Bayside Conference rival Parkside before hitting the road for the first time next Friday against Bennett.
After a home game against Wicomico on April 2, the Seahawks will play cross-town rival Worcester Prep on the road in the annual neighborhood brawl. However, the game Macrides has already circled on the schedule is the April 11 game against Kent Island at home.
“Kent Island might be the class of the Bayside this year,” he said. “They are definitely the team to beat in the north.”