Rebuilding Council Rock South has sights set on districts

NORTHAMPTON — A young team, hit hard by graduation, wants to show their worth at the start of a new campaign. Council Rock South’s boys lacrosse team did just that as they downed Neshaminy 13-3 in their March 23 league opener.

Sam Presley, senior and returning attackman, recognized the challenge facing the Golden Hawks. “We’re a pretty young team with a couple of seniors who are stepping up. We lost a lot of key players. We lost our goalie, four long-poles, a faceoff guy, and three attackman. That is nine of our 10 starters from last year. We’re trying to build our chemistry at the beginning of the year.’

Despite their youthful look, South has aimed it sights at making the District One playoffs, an opportunity that just eluded them in 2014. “We’re trying to make playoffs, trying to win our conference, and trying to beat Abington. That has been our goals since day one.’

The Golden Hawks took their first big step when they met Neshaminy in the SOL opener. Having competed with several Neshaminy players over the summer, Sam knew what to expect. “We realized they didn’t lose too many guys from last year but we felt pretty positive we could win. We went in confident enough to get the ‘ W.”

South’s strategy proved basic, play Golden Hawk lacrosse. “Our game is to score off fast-breaks. We’re a good transition team. We use that to our advantage. We like to use our speed because we are a really fast team. We have to beat defenders. We like to keep the ball on offense and keep our defense free.’

The game plan worked to perfection as South scored early and often. Sam Murray led the scoring parade, netting four goals while Joe Lauch added two goals and two assists. Tommy Vanderslice scored once and recorded two assists.

Sam certainly made his presence felt as he provided the senior leadership spark his young teammates needed. He tallied three times and assisted on three other goals. “The one goal I had the defender moved over and it was an easy goal for me. Another goal was a fast-break transition and I got one-on-one with the defender. The best opportunity to score is when it’s you and the goalie.’

Sam features veteran savvy in his personal arsenal. “I play attack. I’m the distributor and I run the offense from behind the net and set up players to be in a good position to get a shot off.’

Starting his lacrosse career in fourth grade has granted Sam the experience to read defenses and make split second decisions. “The toughest part for me was picking up the lacrosse IQ. You learn by playing. The stick skills came fairly quickly to me. My lacrosse IQ has increased through the last four years of high school. That includes your vision on the field, whether you see a play before it happens or a player who is open for a shot before it happens. You can create where you’re going to shoot on the net before it happens. It’s anticipation.’

His quick reflexes and speed also make him a real threat at the attack position. “I’m pretty agile and quick. I can start off my defender and break a couple ankles and draw a slide to me. It’s easier for a fast kid to do that. You need to have all around good stick skills and footwork to draw the defender.’

Another less definable factor that Sam features in his game is his love of what he would call the lacrosse camaraderie. “I love everything about the game especially the vibes you get from all the players you’re going to meet throughout your career. There’s a positivity you find in lacrosse I didn’t find in other sports.’

The big opening win over Neshaminy undoubtedly enhanced the “vibes’ felt by all the CR South players. Their team chemistry was forming. “We felt pretty confident after the game but there’re a lot of things we can improve on. We had a lot of dropped passes. We had some mediocre shots where we could have stepped up. We are looking forward to using that as a motivator for the rest of the season.’

The Hawks know one game alone does not make a successful season. It does, however, help build a winning momentum.

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