Seamless coaching transition for Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team

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Sunday, April 3, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Dave Offner was an assistant coach for the Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team for six years, so moving to the head coaching position in 2022 has been fairly seamless.

He inherits a team with good depth in each portion of the field and is excited to see how the season unfolds.

“As a coaching staff, we always worked together pretty closely, so that really helped make the transition smooth,” Offner said. “We’re all on the same page as far as the identity and culture goes and the expectations and standards we set. We’re looking to build on that and pick up where things left off with (former coach) Kevin Welty last year.”

The Rams made the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals last year, losing to Upper St. Clair.

Offner was a standout defender at Seton Hill and a 2008 high school All-American defender his senior year at Mt. Lebanon. He credited assistant coaches Alex Hager, Jordan Dykla, Mike Clark and Bradley LaBovick with helping to get the team up to speed quickly.

The Rams have three senior captains: Zach Sporrer (attack), Levi Krebs (defense) and Tristen Taylor (midfield).

“The players voted on them, and they’re all great leaders,” Offner said. “They have their own leadership skills that balance each other out well. It just worked out that we have captains from three different positions. It’s ideal, because they can connect with their teammates at their position.”

Sporrer is joined by classmate Thomas Whitford and sophomore Cooper Zancosky at attack.

Taylor and juniors Carter Ravotti, Owen Luellen and Andrew Mellis man the midfield.

Krebs, who is committed to Washington & Jefferson, leads the backline with senior Brooks Eastburn and long stick middle Aiden Stewart.

Graydon Sherron, a senior, is the starting goalie.

The Rams played two nonsection matches prior to beginning Section 2-3A play against Central Catholic. They lost the opener 18-2 to Class 2A powerhouse Mars, but evened their record with a 13-11 win over Penn-Trafford.

“I thought it was a good rebound,” Offner said about the Penn-Trafford win. “It was good to see how the boys responded to adversity throughout the game when things weren’t going their way. We found ourselves in the penalty box quite a bit, especially in the second half. A couple of virtues we’re really harping on as a team are consistency and determination. The players have identified those themselves as being key. Both of those pulled us through (Monday).”

Pine-Richland has a daunting section slate that features defending champ North Allegheny and runner up Shady Side Academy, Allderdice, Butler, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, Norwin and Seneca Valley.

“Last year, we let a couple games slip away that we should have won, and at the same time we also beat North Allegheny, who went on to win WPIALs,” Offner said. “I think we match up well against them, and we put a lot into our gameplan. We’ll definitely put a lot of attention on our section games as far as game planning, scouting and watching game film, so we have a good idea of what to expect from them in every phase of the game.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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