Seniors End Lacrosse Season with a New Program Record


Richard Aronson

Zach Johnson and Kody Wessel playing a game against Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy on Feb. 23.

Madelyn Sorgenfrei, Entertainment Editor

As senior Zach Johnson walks across the field with his mother, father, brother and grandfather on Senior Night, he reminisces about the six years he has been playing with the team. This particular varsity lacrosse team will go on in school history for its record-breaking 12-victory season.

“Being a very heavy senior-laden team has helped with our record, just the experience factor,” Johnson said. “Even our younger guys are experienced, all of them have played for a few years now and they’re getting their opportunities in games. People are being good teammates, more than they were in years prior. Everyone’s getting along, everyone’s friends with everyone, everyone’s helping each other, stuff like that.”

On Senior Night, announcer and former member of the team, T.J. Zammas recalled the “Three Little Piggies” of the team: Zach Johnson, Rylan Runske and Hayden Millband. The story began six years ago when three seniors, Ryan Ringrose, Jon Saladino and Wes Dennis took the three seventh graders under their wings.

“I was ‘adopted’ into the West Shore lacrosse family the same way we adopted the “Three Little Piggies,” Hayden, Zach, and Rylan,” Dennis said. “When the boys of ’18 were juniors and seniors, we knew that they were the future of the team when they joined in middle school. Although they were undersized at the time, they showed so much skill that we didn’t really have when we started. We always had inside bets on whose piggy was the best. Whenever they got a chance to go in the game, we always held our breath and waited for them to ball out.”

The team’s new record came with a new coach as well. This year’s seniors have had three coaches during their time playing lacrosse: Daniel Scheuerer, Kevin Herman and now Brian Carroll.

“Even though Coach Carroll doesn’t have a lacrosse background he was an athlete in high school and in college so he knows how to coach a team,” Runske said. “He’s put a lot of time into learning how to play lacrosse and understand the sport and I think that’s really helped us. We’ve never had a coach who’s played lacrosse before.”

Coach Carroll volunteered for the role after the previous coach, Kevin Herman, left following his son’s departure from the school. Although Carroll had never coached lacrosse, he led the team to break the previous record of six wins for the lacrosse team and earned the title of Cape Coast Conference Coach of the Year.

“I give the seniors space to help the other guys, they’re all very talented and they wanted this season to be the greatest season in West Shore’s lacrosse history,” Carroll said. “They’ve helped to do that. They’ve taught the younger guys. They’ve stepped them up, and I just gave them space to do it. You give kids room, and they’ll show you.”

The coach turnover has carried the team to victory.

“Having my dad as a coach has helped the younger kids understand that even if they’re young, they are still a big part the team and they’re the future for the sport,” freshman Michael Carroll said. “The team’s going to be really young and we’re going to have to recruit a lot of players so we actually have enough people to play a game.”

Senior Kellen Fitzgerald has been a goalie for three years and passed  on his knowledge to eighth grader Harper Millband.

“Kellen taught me a lot about being a goalie, my positioning in the net and how to be more explosive,” Millband said. “I’m going to miss the seniors that are leaving. I’ve known them forever, a lot of them are friends and it’s going to be weird not playing with them and seeing them regularly anymore.”

The team doubled the school’s previous record, leaving seniors feeling emotional.

“In seventh grade I didn’t have much of a role, the first time I played was in eighth grade and even then it was only for a few minutes,” senior Ryan Herbruger said. “On Senior Night, it felt nice to be able to see what the other seniors before me felt, the seniors I always looked up to and that made me a better player. It was bittersweet because that was our last seasonal game, ‘I’m graduating, I’ve been on the team for six years, I’m being recognized, I’ve grown with my team.’ It was really bitter because the season came to an end after that.”

The team season came to an end during the district semifinal game against Cocoa Beach. After beating Cocoa Beach earlier in the season, the 12-10 defeat left Parker Gross thinking of what they could have done differently.

“We didn’t expect to go out to Cocoa Beach,” he said. “We could’ve played better and we know we could’ve, which was kind of annoying, especially for our better guys who really gave their all. The second half we started to come back but we just didn’t have enough time. We took too easy of an approach, we didn’t expect them to be angry about our previous win and come back swinging. We came in too cocky.”

The team will experience a large departure of seniors this year leaving less players than are required for a game on the team. With 20 players and 11 seniors, the team will be much younger next year.

“I felt really good about the season, I definitely thought it was the best season we’ve played since I came to West Shore,” senior Max Aronson said. “The team will definitely be worse next year just because we’re losing so much skill, but the younger kids that we have right now do have a lot of skill. I think in two or three years we’ll be back to being a threat in Brevard county if the younger kids keep recruiting their friends and stuff and the team keps working as hard as we did this year.”