Disciplined lacrosse leads South Fayette to 6-2 start

Thursday, April 18, 2019 | 5:37 PM

Shawn Leydig’s time as South Fayette’s boys lacrosse coach got off to a late start.

The school hired Leydig in August. But he was unable to work with the team until January after a deployment to Afghanistan for several months as a member of the Air National Guard.

Once he started to work with the players, the team hit the ground running. South Fayette is off to a 6-2 start with a 2-0 record in Section 2-2A play.

“Everyone has been absolutely fantastic,” Leydig said. “The players welcomed me and bought into our system. They have great attitudes. There has been no clashing. Everyone has been very genuine.”

Leydig previously coached Baldwin’s lacrosse team for eight seasons. Before that, he was at North Hills for two years, including a season as the head coach.

The team’s style of play under Leydig has been highly successful early in the season. South Fayette plays a possession-minded style of lacrosse. While the team did record a 16-0 win over Trinity, many of their games have been low-scoring battles. These include a 5-1 win over Penn-Trafford and a 4-3 win over Sewickley Academy.

“We preach disciplined lacrosse,” Leydig said. “Our team motto is ‘Do your job.’ We don’t try to light up the scoreboard. We want to control the game with possession. We want to control the clock.”

The defensive play has been intricate in this style of play. Senior defender Jackson Dewitt has been a vital part of shutting down other teams. Eamon Horowitz is the team’s long-stick midfielder. The senior has found success shutting down some of the opponent’s toughest matchups.

The team has two young goalies it can call on. Sophomore Josh James has started a majority of the team’s games. But freshman Aidan Pierce has been pushing for playing time. The youngster was in front of the goal for the wins over Trinity and Sewickley Academy recently.

“They have been great teammates,” Leydig said. “It is a good situation. They know they have to work hard for playing time. There are no egos there.”

On the attack, senior Christian Hoerger and sophomore Bryan Waskowiak have led the team. But Leydig said the Lions bought into a team-first mentality.

“One great thing about this team is how unselfish they are,” Leydig said. “The scoring has been fairly even. No one is worried about themselves.”

The Lions will look to keep the strong start up as they enter one of the toughest stretches on their schedule. South Fayette closes April with a pair of important Section 2-2A games against Moon and Quaker Valley sandwiched around a nonsection showdown with Class 3A power Pine-Richland.

With 44 players on the roster and a strong feeder program, Leydig thinks the team could be on the verge of big things. The first step is to capture South Fayette’s first section title.

“The goal from Day 1 was to put a section banner up in the gym for the first time,” Leydig said. “There is nothing lacrosse-related in there yet. I think the lacrosse team can be successful like other teams at South Fayette like football and baseball.”


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