Led by senior midfielder, Fox Chapel boys lacrosse counts on explosive offense

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Saturday, April 13, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Ryan Napolitan doesn’t have a shortage of responsibilities running the Fox Chapel boys lacrosse team’s offense.

The senior midfielder isn’t responsible for only knowing where he’s supposed to be. Napolitan also will try to direct traffic for his teammates.

What the Foxes, who are off to a 3-2 start to the season, have become masters of, before anything else, is communication.

“When I’m running the offense, I like to talk to my teammates,” Napolitan said. “We need to coordinate where we are supposed to be. You need to communicate with them if they don’t know where they are supposed to be. You have to go through all of your looks, and you can get multiple looks from one action.”

Second-year Fox Chapel coach Jordon Hodder said Napolitan has played an important role in facilitating the Foxes’ attack this season. In Fox Chapel’s three wins, the Foxes have scored 16 or more goals.

Fox Chapel picked up its first section win by beating Seneca Valley, 17-9, on April 8. Senior attack Jake Siddon and freshman attack Tucker Cullen have been two of the biggest beneficiaries of Napolitan’s passing.

Siddon and Cullen are tied for the team lead in goals.

“Ryan has a knack for being in the right place,” Hodder said. “Once he’s able to get where he needs to be, he serves as our quarterback or point guard. He’s able to read the defenses and know if he draws a slide where he needs to move the ball.”

Fox Chapel has a lot of seniors this year who are eager to get back to the WPIAL playoffs. The Foxes made it to the second round last season. Napolitan said it has been easier to be on the same page on offense with another year of experience under their belts.

“Coach Hodder is in his second year now,” Napolitan said. “We had to learn his offense. We now have another year under his offense and how he wants to run things. We had to adapt to that. We saw the vision for his offense and could adapt to that mindset.”

Hodder said that Fox Chapel’s offense benefits from playing against its own defense in practice. The Foxes have worked hard on stifling opposing offenses and have found plenty of success so far.

Kaden Pekarcik has played well in goal for Fox Chapel to support the defense. Hodder believes the Foxes will be able to continue to improve if they can maintain their confidence level.

“We want to play with more confidence. Even though we lost a few games this year, we’ve been competitive,” Hodder said. “I want them to believe in themselves. The coaching staff all sees the potential they have. We want the guys to have the confidence to play to that level.”

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