Led by emerging talents, North Hills boys lacrosse team on the rise

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Saturday, May 21, 2022 | 2:36 PM


Just two years on the job and Alex Mueser is seeing some very enjoyable progress.

Mueser, a former Saint Vincent and Vincentian Academy standout, took over a building North Hills boys lacrosse program before last season.

It took a year, but the Indians were able to put together a solid regular season, finishing 8-8 with a 5-4 mark in a very tough Section 2-2A.

“We came hot out of the gate,” Mueser said. “From there, we took our time to learn and develop and play stronger teams and play different levels of competition across the WPIAL. We had our ups, we had our downs, but I think we continued to learn and grow as a team and individuals.”

The Indians qualified for the postseason and earned the No. 10 seed in Class 2A playoffs and a first-round matchup with Franklin Regional.

A big reason for the success has been the growth of the program. Until a few years ago, North Hills did not have lacrosse at youth levels, including middle school.

But the introduction of those teams has allowed the roster to grow from 23 players last season to 41 this year as the first wave of players from the new youth programs hit high school this year.

“Year 2 went a lot smoother,” said Mueser, who also increased his coaching staff from three to eight members this year. “We returned a lot, with a big senior class that has most of our starters.”

Alec Feigel, a junior on attack, led the Indians in scoring in the regular season.

“Very crafty,” Mueser said of Feigel. “He’s small in stature but has a ton of heart and is extremely physical.”

Mueser also credits a pair of midfielders in senior Bram James and junior Landon Tumpa with consistent play.

“If you need the ball to be played somewhere or have control, they’re the two I’d go to,” he said.

But it’s a freshman that perhaps has Mueser most excited. Midfielder Dominic Horton burst onto the scene this year and looks to be a major factor for the Indians for years to come.

“An absolutely wild thing of a kid,” Mueser explained. “Crazy engine, very physical, biggest heart of the team. In my opinion, he’s already better than some college (long stick midfielders) that I’ve played against.

“He definitely pushed not only our seniors, but our middle classmen, who some are still trying to find a groove and a rhythm. He basically sets the tone and it rubs off a lot on his freshmen teammates. They see how successful he is, and they try to join in on what he does.”

North Hills isn’t lacking in talent. Junior defender Sam Coldren is getting some Division I interest. Seniors Matthew Edlinger and Niko Kunsak are committed to Thiel. Senior goalie Conner Radecki will play next year at LaRoche and Tumpa has verbally committed to Alderson Broaddus.

Mueser has been impressed with his team’s physical dodging style and views it as a strength that sets his team apart from others.

But this offseason, he knows that physicality will have to be backed by a unified mentality, focused on consistency.

“Mindset and attitude,” Mueser said. “Next year we move up to 3A. We play Pine-Richland and North Allegheny. Some kids are taking it a little more easy than they should this year. Next year, every game is a battle. It’s win or go home every game.”

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