Latrobe boys lacrosse setting itself up for strong present, future
Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 6:13 PM
In any sport, successful teams or programs normally have a certain type of makeup that allows them to succeed.
Sometimes it’s culture, a certain mentality or approach that allows a program to have sustained success. Then, there are teams that have the perfect mix of players and approach for a season or two and see a great deal of success.
With a record of 7-3, the Latrobe boys lacrosse team is somewhere in the middle but is trending upward. With a solid senior class and a young corps of freshmen, who will be followed by talented classes of seventh- and eighth-graders in the next few years, the Wildcats have displayed the mixture of youth and experience to excel this season.
“We’ve gotten off to a good start,” coach Pete Cuda said. “We only have six seniors this year, and we have a number of freshmen that are playing on varsity. Going into this season it was a little questionable, but were playing well and we have been playing some of the better teams closer than we have in years past and we are winning the games we should be winning.”
That mixture has led to an exciting season, as the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 95-75 and won five of six before a one-goal loss to Peters Township.
The season started with the Wildcats winning two of their first three games. Both victories happened when Latrobe came from behind to force overtime.
Against Norwin, their second win of the season, Latrobe trailed by two with just under a minute to go. Alex Walker scored with 49 seconds left, then added the equalizer as he finished off a rebound with 15 seconds remaining. In overtime, senior Colvin Stallings scored the winner.
“We’ve kind of proved our determination in a couple of games that kind of gave us a jump start,” Cuda said. “Against Norwin … the kids never gave up. … I think that gave the kids a lot of confidence in the fact that they were playing till the last whistle.”
One of Latrobe’s three losses was to perennial WPIAL powerhouse, Upper St. Clair. In the past, Upper St. Clair handed Latrobe losses that weren’t easy to forget. But this time, the Wildcats stuck with the Panthers for most of the game and even led for part of it.
“The last two years we’ve played them, they beat us soundly, but this year we were leading a majority of the game,” Cuda said. “We were leading going into the fourth quarter and, unfortunately, we had a couple things not go our way. But I think the fact that we played them so close, it gave the kids an additional boost of confidence that we can play with anybody.”
After their loss to USC, the Wildcats defeated Gateway and Baldwin before losing to Peters Township. And while the Wildcats, who have four regular-season games remaining, are playing well, Cuda believes they still have room to grow.
“I think we need to control the ball better on offense and take better shots rather than forcing some unnecessary shots and passes,” Cuda said. “I think unforced turnovers have been our downfall throughout the year, but as the season has gone on, we have gotten a lot better at that.”