Maple Grove lacrosse boys have ingredients for success

by Bob San

SUN PRESS Newspapers

They lost an All American player to graduation but the 2014 Maple Grove boys’ lacrosse Crimson believe they still have enough talent to have a successful season.

Jake Willson (22) and Matt Leonard are two of the top returning players on the Maple Grove boys’ lacrosse team. (Photo by Rich Moll - Richmollphotography.com)

Jake Willson (22) and Matt Leonard are two of the top returning players on the Maple Grove boys’ lacrosse team. (Photo by Rich Moll – Richmollphotography.com)

“We lost All American David Corazalla to graduation so our attack is young and less experienced but talented,” Crimson coach Gig Willson said. “We’re going to need guys to step up and we expect a good battle for starting spots and playing time.”

Willson welcomes back many top players from last year’s team that finished 10-5 overall, took third in the conference and lost in the section semifinal.

Returning starters/letterwinners  are senior attack Jesse Bullinger, junior midfielder Jake Willson, junior defensive midfielder Kraig Urquhart, senior defensive midfielder Sam Barker, senior defensemen Matt Leonard and Jack Norman, junior defensemen Josh Favorite and Jonathan Horton, and senior goalie Austin Gardner. Leonard was first-team all-conference, all-section and all-state and is committed to playing at Lindenwood College next year. Willson, a first-team all-conference and all-section last season, has committed to Division I Mommouth College in 2015.

Maple Grove lacrosse players practice at the Dome in preparation for the season. (Photo by Rich Moll - Richmollphotography.com)

Maple Grove lacrosse players practice at the Dome in preparation for the season. (Photo by Rich Moll – Richmollphotography.com)

“We graduated only six seniors, the lowest in three years so we bring back a lot of experience in many positions. We will be deeper and more experienced in most positions on the field,” Willson said. “We have a second-year starter in goal in Austin and we are returning all of our defensemen. Defensive midfielders are all back but one and our offensive midfield is as strong as we’ve had in years.”

An infusion of talented young  players will bolster the offense, Willson said. Newcomers such as junior midfielder Sam Holland, sophomore midfielder Tommy Wolden and freshman attack Jack Kelly should add offensive power.

Willson feels the mixture of youth and veteran will mean his squad will take time to develop into top forms. When it does, Willson looks for his team to be in the mix for conference and section battles with Champlin Park, Armstrong and Anoka.

“The key will be finding the right chemistry, which will take some patience,” he said. “We aren’t looking to come out of the gate strong but rather be a top team by year end.”

 

Contact Bob San at sunpressnews@ecm-inc.com

 

 

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