Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team charges to 3-0 start
Monday, April 2, 2018 | 1:01 AM
They might only be three games into the season, but the Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team is off to as strong of a start as possible.
Facing a challenging trio of opponents that included reigning WPIAL Class AAA champion Peters Township, defending Class AA champion Mars and rival North Allegheny, the Rams toppled all three in one week for a 3-0 start.
Coach Kevin Welty, however, isn't getting ahead of himself.
“You're sitting at 3-0. It's still (early). There's a lot for us to address, still. But you have to be happy with the record, especially with the caliber of competition that we're facing,” Welty said.
“So we're off to a good start, but we're more focused on the continued improvement. As a team, we don't want to be too high or too low. We have to keep looking at what we can do better and continue to work hard at it.”
Veterans such as Jake Freedlander, Dawson Goltz and Ben Barnes have played important roles thus far, and sophomore attackman Dan Dowiak and junior goalkeeper Jared Slack have shined.
Dowiak has 15 goals and three assists, including an eye-opening performance.
“He had quite a week. On Tuesday against North Allegheny, he tied a Pine-Richland record and scored eight goals in that game. Typically, when somebody scores eight goals, they have a lot of shots, but he only had nine shots in the game,” Welty said.
“To boot, it was his birthday that day. It was a special night for him.”
Slack started all three contests and made pivotal, game-changing saves to help ensure each victory.
“This kid is so mature,” Welty said. “He's a rock for us. He really makes the timely saves. In addition to his save percentage being above 60 percent so far for the year, he also makes that crucial save that can really shift the momentum of a game.
“Something we really like to talk about is that Jared is really stable. We can really count on him and trust him, and that's as much as you can ask.”
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.