They’re the toughest group of guys involved in spring sports at Hood River Valley High School.
They also represent the fastest, quickest and most agile athletes to don an HRV jersey — at least until the football players return to the gridiron. They are relentless, fearless and, at times, a little bit crazy.
The HRV lacrosse team, complete with a new head coach (Mac Jackson) and a 15-man senior class, is gearing up for a new season of fast-paced, in-your-face
action, beginning on Saturday with a 12-team jamboree at Wy’east Middle School.
“We have the chance to be an excellent team this year,” said Jackson, a former assistant who is taking over in 2003 for long-time head coach Chris Kelly. “Our players really want it this year, and it’s their last chance as a unit to get to the playoffs,” he said.
Captains for this year’s squad are seniors Todd Shypertt (defense), Jon Munk (attack), Nate Dethman (defense) and Jacobe Krizman (middy).
The Eagles are also returning their top scorer from one year ago, senior Todd Anderson, as well as program mainstays Tyler Monzie (middy), Noel Thomas (defense) and Matt Cody (defensive mid).
Adding to a solid core will be senior attacker Corey VanDlac, who played the first five games of last season before committing to year-round soccer, and senior goalie Sean Jennings, a newcomer who has shown signs of greatness in the early going.
“Sean is a natural fit at goalie because he’s very vocal,” Jackson said. “The goalie needs to be a leader, and Sean has stepped right into that role along the back.”
But, as strong as Jennings has been early on, the best case scenario for any goalie is to have minimal shots on goal. That’s where the Eagles’ gritty group of defenders comes into play.
Shypertt, Dethman, Thomas and Cody were all key members of last year’s team, which missed the playoffs by just one game. Another member of that team, Ryan Goe, has returned to the pitch as a defensive coach, and should help groom some of the younger players for the future.
“This year’s group is pretty mature,” said Jackson. “They know how to play consistently and win close games. I think they learned from their mistakes last year, and our potential is extremely high.”
Helping balance out a strong back line for the Eagles will be a speedy, sure-footed group of middies, led by Monzie and Krizman.
“We have a solid core of middies that gives us options,” said Jackson. “Tyler is a relentless runner and ground-ball man at midfield, while Jacobe is in great shape and only knows how to play one way: Hard.”
Seniors Justin Wiley and David Low, and junior Kyle Zuercher will also try to work their way into the midfield rotation, along with sophomores Casey Vannet and Josh McHale.
Up front, the Eagles are led by the same dynamic duo as last year: Anderson and Munk. Van-Dlac provides a quality third option, while young players like sophomores David Voigt and Zach Bohince try to crack the rotation.
“We have a lot of depth this year, and I’m excited to see how we match up,” Jackson said.