Quaker Valley boys lacrosse heats up at right time to earn playoff berth

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Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley’s boys lacrosse team found success by winning at an important time of year.

The Quakers won four in a row down the season’s home stretch and six of seven after April 14 to clinch a WPIAL playoff berth.

QV took a 10-4 record into its first-round matchup May 15 against Bethel Park, and the No. 7 Quakers rallied to an 11-10 win against the No. 10 Black Hawks.

“Each year, the seniors set the goals for the team,” coach Chip Hansen said. “Their goal is to make the state playoffs by finishing in the top three in the WPIAL and to win a state playoff game.”

QV’s starting lineup consists of seniors Ben Thomas and Kyle Hammond, sophomore Marcus Richey and freshman Max Modrovich at attack; seniors Christian Brown and Jackson Bould and freshman Jace Vasbinder in the midfield; seniors Ben Carlson and Brady McClay and freshmen Jacob Keisel and Logan Benedict on defense; freshman Ben McHenry as a long stick midfielder; and senior Carter Siuciak at goalkeeper.

Thomas, Carlson and Hammond have served as co-captains in 2023.

Thomas said the Quakers battled through adversity in qualifying for the postseason.

“I’m proud of our team’s record and our ability to battle through tons of adversity,” he said. “We have worked through short numbers, injuries and illness in almost every game, and I think our ability to battle through these tough conditions really shows in our record and in the amount one- and two-goal games we have won.”

Carlson, similar to Thomas, is proud of his team’s performance this season and believes the overtime win April 27 against Moon helped jump-start the Quakers.

“The team’s played very well,” Carlson said. “Excluding our game against Mars, the most we’ve lost by this season is two goals. I think it really shows the heart and fight this team has, and I couldn’t be prouder of the way we’ve all come together to win some tight games, especially our OT win against Moon.

“My expectation coming into this year — with only four returning starting players — was that we had a lot of work to do in getting ready to be able to compete like we wanted. Having a team comprised half of (underclassmen) definitely presented difficulties. However, we were confident, given the chance, that we could make a run in the playoffs again this year.”

Hammond compared the 2023 season to a Kennywood Park attraction.

“It has been a roller coaster of a year due to low numbers and a young team,” he said. “We’ve made constant adjustments to win, whether that’s locking off an attack man or having players switch positions.

“I didn’t know what to expect this year because most of the team were freshmen who I never saw play before. I was hopeful we’d be able to leverage the experience of our seniors and get the new players to up their learning curve quickly. Through it all, the team has shown tremendous resilience and a will to win.”

Luke Koehler and Hunter Kronk are top freshman reserves at midfield for the Quakers. They are two of the 12 freshmen on the team, along with eight seniors and two sophomores.

“We have our smallest roster in several years,” Hansen said. “We are a very young team with a short bench. But this team is resilient and relentless from the first faceoff until the final horn. They compete, play with grit and heart, and they never give up.”

“I’ve been really proud of the way we’ve fought and played through a variety of challenges this year,” Carlson said.

Thomas said the senior athletes were instrumental in the team’s end result in the regular season.

“A lot of our success is due to the senior leaders that weren’t given the title of captain,” Thomas said.

Quaker Valley was scheduled to meet No. 2 South Fayette on May 17 in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

Freshman scores game-winner

Hammond and Modrovich were the heroes for Quaker Valley in its WPIAL first-round win over Bethel Park.

“We were down by two (late in the game) and got two quick goals about 30 seconds apart,” Hansen said.

Hammond scored the first one to tie the score at 10-10. Modrovich netted the game-winner soon afterwards.

Modrovich connected for two goals in the game. Hammond finished with one goal and four assists.

Thomas racked up four goals and one assist. Carlson accounted for three goals and two assists.

“This was an outstanding team win,” Hansen said. “Everyone contributed and played with grit, heart and confidence. I could not be prouder of them and their effort.

“This team never stops competing no matter how tired they are or what happens during the game. The most important play is the next play and they continue to make plays. They are relentless and unshakeable.”

Richey rounded out the scoring for the Quakers with a goal. Brown also was credited with an assist.

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