Strong mental approach has Pine-Richland lacrosse off undefeated start
By: Kevin Lohman
Friday, April 12, 2019 | 6:55 PM
The Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team is off to a dominant start, running to an 8-0 record and outscoring its opponents 111-46.
Part of why the Rams have been so successful is an abundance of talent at each position group, but to hear coach Kevin Welty tell it, his players’ mental approach has been just as instrumental.
“I’m really happy with our progression so far,” Welty said. “We always have a focus point, something to improve on, whether it’s X’s and O’s or something intangible. I really love how hungry we are as a team right now.
“The guys, they call it ‘tunnel vision’. They’re able to block out who we play next. Not that we don’t scout opponents or create gameplans, but we like to focus on minor improvements that keep us on the right track. We understand what April’s mission is because if we don’t work at it now, then we’re not going to be where we want to be come May.”
As part of their mission to improve, every Rams player is asked to embrace a role, no matter how big or small.
Two good examples of that mentality, Welty said, are senior Sean Adams and junior Luke Smallwood. The duo fills the defensive midfielder positions for Pine-Richland, and their ability to succeed within their well-defined jobs are a large reason why the Rams are winning games by an average of almost seven goals.
“I think that spot is really a strong suit for us, whereas it’s usually a weaker point with most teams. Sean and Luke have been performing at a really high level this year, and that’s something that might get overlooked on the stat sheet,” Welty said.
“They’re glue guys for us, and they’re two of the hardest workers on the team. We want to continue to build a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the WPIAL, and they’re a big part of that.”
Adams and Smallwood are just two of the players helping to add to the team’s culture. In the long run, Welty said that type of mentality can help his group maximize its depth because, when the postseason rolls around, he wants his team to be making beautiful music on the lacrosse pitch.
“I think it’s more of a team thing. I would kind of describe it as an orchestra, right? Everybody has their instrument to play,” Welty said. “We’re all reading off the same sheet of music, and everybody embraces their role.Hopefully, the end product sounds good. Hopefully, there’s harmony.”