Pals on, off field

Boys Lacrosse

May 06, 2007|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Reporter

Century senior midfielder Ryan Pentz said there is no mystery as to why the Knights lacrosse team has had such a drastic turnaround from last season's 3-9 record to the 11-2 mark the team took into this weekend.

"We all understand our roles on the team," Pentz said. "That's why we've been successful so far. It's definitely a big difference from last season. I just think we have a good core of kids. We have a variety of seniors and juniors, mixed with young sophomores. ... We work real well together."

Pentz added that the team's success could also be attributed to the players being a close-knit group. "We're all friends on and off the field. We all hang out together. A lot of times on weekends when we get together, we play lacrosse. Last year, we just didn't have that group of kids. We were all real close and everything. But this year, we definitely have that good group of kids."

For Century coach Jim Langrall, the Knights' turnaround was not unexpected. He recalled a conversation with his coaching staff at the end of last season when he said, "You know what? We're going to have a fairly decent team next year."

The coach said he wasn't predicting an 11-2 start, but "I didn't think we we're going to be too far from it. You could see it."

Langrall said coaching the team this season is a joy.

"The first couple of years when I was here, it was kind of painful," he said. "We were getting beat by everybody."

"Slowly but surely the talent started to improve, and we got some more kids who were committed to playing lacrosse year-round and things started to get a little bit better," Langrall added. "Last year we were just getting over the hump, and this group is putting it all together."

Four players have produced 35 points or more this season, with senior midfielder T.J. Willoughby leading the scoring with 27 goals and 25 assists for 52 points.

He is followed by sophomore attackmen Tyler Cockey (31 goals, 13 assists) and Cameren Warrell, a left-hander who has a team-high 37 goals with two assists. Pentz has contributed 19 goals and 16 assists.

Senior attackman Dan Alderman (17 goals, eight assists) and senior midfielder Nick Loftice also contributed to Century's improvement.

Warrell is regarded as the team's finisher.

"People just give me the ball, and I just kind of put it in the goal," said Warrell, prompting laughter from his teammates. "I don't dodge that much. All my goals are really assisted."

Warrell said the Knights entered the season more confident than before.

"We just kind of kept flowing with that and never really lost it," he said.

Willoughby said the players' familiarity with each other has been a factor in Century's success.

"Everyone works better together," he said. "I think it's because everyone's been playing together over the years. There's kids on the team I've been playing with since I was younger."

With the team's success this season, Willoughby said even practice is a more enjoyable experience than it was in the past.

"It's fun," he said. "Just the confidence makes it fun to practice. I think it's cool the way we've gone from nowhere last year to earning people's respect. No one knew who we were last year."

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