Hughes' hustle serves South Carroll

April 26, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

The South Carroll boys lacrosse program long has been renowned for its strong defensive play.

Another key element throughout the Cavaliers' seven-year reign as county champs is coming up with players who give all they can in game situations.

First-year coach Jeff Alisauckas knew he had that kind of player in junior Dan Hughes long before the latter played his first varsity game this season.

"He plays with a lot of heart and the South Carroll program has always played with that," Alisauckas said.

"I had pretty high expectations going into the season, having coached him on junior varsity last year. We figured he was one of our best ball handlers and the other coaches and I began designing things especially for him before the season began."

The 16-year-old midfielder has lived up to expectations and then some, scoring 13 goals and adding four assists.

"It's really a big step up," said Hughes of the difference between varsity and junior varsity.

"The players are faster and there's better stickwork. I just try to follow them, practice hard every day and go at it 100 percent."

As Hughes continues to score more goals, it's others who are beginning to follow him -- particularly opposing defenders. But Hughes does a lot more for the Cavaliers than just rack up goals.

"He's just a good all-around player. He's a natural left which is pretty rare and he can shoot with his left or right, which allows us to put him anywhere," Alisauckas said.

"He's a good dodger who can run the ball up the field for us and he's not doing a bad job on defense. He has nice placement with his shot and puts the ball where it should be."

After South Carroll fell to county rival Westminster, 7-6, for the first time in eight years in the teams' first meeting of the season, the Cavaliers responded the second time around with a 9-5 win. Hughes was a big reason why with three goals, an assist and a solid overall effort.

"The first one really disappointed me, but pumped us up for the rest of the county games," Hughes said.

"The second game we knew what they could do and just practiced hard to get ready for them and put it all together to beat them."

He began playing lacrosse seven years ago with neighborhood friends and has been hooked on the game since. He also plays indoor lacrosse and in the Loch Raven Summer League. During the high school season, there's a good chance he can be found shooting at his goal in his backyard after practice.

As for his all-out hustle in games, he attributes that to his father, who also played some lacrosse in his days.

"A lot of that comes from my father," Hughes said.

"Before every game, he takes me to the side and tells me to play hard. He always says: 'You're only in the game for an hour. There's plenty of time to rest after the game.' "

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