Higgs leading reason for Green Terrors' resurgence

April 14, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

Western Maryland senior co-captain Ken Higgs knew there would come a day when he would have to carry much of the burden of leading the Green Terrors' lacrosse team.

In previous years, the Westminster High grad watched and learned from the likes of '92 grad Clark Hospelhorn and '93 grad Joe Furnari.

On a roster dominated with underclassmen (10 freshmen and six sophomores), it's now his turn to be watched and learned from. It's a role that took Higgs some time to get used to.

"When I first went into the season I knew there would be pressure on me being the only returning senior on the offensive end," Higgs said.

"Both the team and I started off slow with the pressure. But as the season has progressed, I started focusing on having fun and so did the guys. That's when everything started falling into place."

The Green Terrors (4-6) dropped their first three games and four of their first five in a schedule filled with Top 20 teams. They'd won three straight before yesterday's 22-10 loss to No. 4 Gettysburg.

Higgs began the season mainly playing at midfield with a shift or two a game on attack. The emergence of some younger players at midfield has enabled coach Keith Reitenbach to put Higgs up front more regularly on the top line with sophomore Dean Coccia and junior Mike Marsico.

Higgs has responded with 14 goals and eight assists in the past five games -- including four hat tricks -- and also has made Coccia (19 goals and 26 assists) and Marsico (19, 14) that much better.

"The scoring spurt over the last four games [before Gettysburg] has been a consequence of him moving to full-time attack," Reitenbach said.

"Kenny joining Marsico and Coccia on attack gives us no weaknesses up there. Teams can't afford to have a weak defender or he'll be exploited."

After being shut out in the Green Terrors' first two games, Higgs is now third on the team in scoring with 19 goals and 10 assists.

"It's hard to go back to midfield after playing attack," he said. "I used to score a decent amount in high school, maybe two goals sometimes a game, but not like this.

"It just took some time for everyone to believe in one another. The freshmen have stepped up and we started to believe in them and they started to believe in me and it's all come together from there."

And then there's the ponytail story.

"I got it cut off right before Christmas," Higgs said. "When I got in a little slump in the first couple of games, my mom started bringing it to all the games in a plastic bag. That's when I started scoring."

Reitenbach would like to see more hometown products realize there's a quality lacrosse program at Western Maryland.

Sophomore Marshall Brown (Westminster High) and freshman Scott Hall (Liberty) are two others who have followed Higgs' lead.

"He's been an excellent leader both on the field and off," Reitenbach said. "He was chosen captain and took right to it and also does very well in the classroom."

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