Men’s lacrosse team heads into Semistate

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By: Andrew Browning <abrowning@hilite.org>

Tomorrow the Carmel men’s lacrosse team takes on Saint Joseph’s in the Semistate championship game at IUPUI at 8 p.m. Should the Hounds win, they would face the winner of Culver and Cathedral in the State Final on Saturday at IUPUI at 8 p.m.

Michael Petersen, varsity captain, midfielder and senior, said that although Carmel lacrosse has produced consistently strong teams in the past, no group has ever won a State championship. For this team to do it, he said, would cap an impressive season.

“I think it would be amazing (to win a State championship),” Petersen said. “We’ve been very close in years past. The history of Carmel lacrosse is amazing, and I think to be able to win a State championship would be a great finish (for the seniors).”

At this point in the playoffs, Petersen said that teams are so equally matched that games can be won and lost based on which team has a better handle on the ball.

“Being able to clear the ball (is a deciding factor). That and ground balls will be key,” Petersen said. “Most likely whoever gets the most ground balls and gets the ball down to the attack will win the game.”

Petersen said that one problem the team has had this year is playing poorly during the beginning of games. “We need to play well early,” he said. “Every game we’ve lost and all our close games we’ve let them get up on us, and then we’re playing catch-up. We need to just come out early and hit the ground running.”

Assistant Coach David Schwartz said that mental preparation is also going to be crucial for the team during the remainder of State.

“(The deciding factor in playoff games) is a combination of execution and desire and focus. Whichever team executes, stays focused and plays with desire is going to win,” Schwartz said. “We’ve played all these teams before and we’ve won some and lost some, but I think if we get focused and execute then we can beat any one of them.”

Schwartz said that this season has proven to him that all the Hounds have the ability to stay focused and perform on the field, regardless of age or grade level.

“I think they’ve really showed (everyone can play at a high level) the last several games,” Schwartz said. “After spring break we had to reorganize and refocus a little bit, and against Brebeuf they really convinced us, even beyond what the score shows, that we have freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who can all step up and really contribute.”

Petersen also said that a strong performance from every player is more important than the actions of a few senior captains.

“Not just seniors (need to be leaders), but everyone on the team needs to step up and be an example for everyone else,” Petersen said. “This year we’ve stressed that it’s not just the seniors who need to play their hearts out.”

Petersen said if the Hounds can work out some minor kinks then they have a strong chance to bring home the championship.

“This is a great group of guys, and we’re more deep than we’ve ever been,” Petersen said. “We’ve just got to bring some things together (during the playoffs) and I think we’ve got a good shot.”

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