Wildcats face stiff competition

Apr 22 2019 | 12:42 PM

    The opposition that the High Point High School boy’s lacrosse program faces this spring is unquestionably fierce on a regular basis. But, the Wildcats are battle-tested and they don’t in any instance back down from the opposition.
    Student athletes who are helping to lead the way this season for High Point are the team captains Jon Morris, Ryan Mathews and Zach Mazza, all of whom are seniors.
    “These three individuals are very talented but were chosen as captains for their love and dedication to the game as well as their leadership," High Point head coach Marc Russell said. “These guys speak up and push their peers while leading drills and warm ups.
    “Their skill does help, they lead by example, but it is the people that they are that earned them the captain position. Also, they were voted on by their teammates and as coaches we simply agreed with the selection; we would have picked the same three."
    Mazza began competing as a lacrosse player as a seventh grader.
    “I played football and soccer since first grade and decided to try something new and challenging," Mazza said. “As a defenseman I feel I have quick reaction time, fast feet and am physical. I would like to work on all aspects of the sport because there is always room for improvement.
    “My parents, who between them, have probably never missed a game since the beginning [are positive influences]. Coach John Lade brought my defensive skills to the next level and talked me into playing on a travel team. Coach Pat Regan from Thunder Lacrosse and High Point assistant coach Jeremy Dearolf and coach Marc Russell have also been there from the very beginning of my lacrosse career.’’
    Like Mazza, Mathews started his lacrosse career at the age of 13.
    “I never knew about the sport until my friend introduced it to me," Mathews said. “He took me to a game and I loved how fast paced the sport was. How it’s a team effort to win games. Everyone has a job and when you succeed in that job it’s like you’re just one big unstoppable machine.
    “I would say some of my strengths as a lacrosse player would be moving the ball and scoring. Nothing feels better than throwing a perfect pass to your teammates stick and watch him rip a shot to a goal. Nobody is perfect at everything. So I think I need to work on everything so I can fully reach that potential and get better every year."
    The support system that’s in place for Mathews has helped his lacrosse journey progress.
    “My dad for always being there for me and supporting me at my games and my fellow teammates for helping me work on the sport and to learn about the sport in general [are positive influences]," Mathews said. “All the coaches that have worked with me since seventh grade, but mostly the coaches I have now Mr. Russell and Mr. Dearolf for pushing me to get better not only as a lacrosse player but as a person [are people for which he’s thankful]."
    Morris, also a leader for the Wildcats has been a part of the sport since middle school as well.
    “My sister was playing for the high school at the time and she was really a driving force in me playing lacrosse,’’ Morris said. “Some of my strengths are passing, catching and being an overall leader. I would like to improve on a faster shot with my left hand, become a better dodger up top. My goal is finish the season with a winning record and to reach 100 goals. I would like to see this team leave a lasting impression on the High Point lacrosse program for many years to come and hopefully be a turning point in the program.
    “My parents have definitely influenced me in many ways since the start of my lacrosse career. Their unconditional support has helped me become the player I am today.’’
    NOTES: High Point has a home game scheduled versus Wardlaw-Hartridge on April 30.