With more veterans in the fold, Norwin boys lacrosse looking for continued improvement

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | 8:10 PM

The Norwin boys lacrosse team is growing up.

Last season the team relied on several underclassmen in key positions. Despite a slow start, the Knights won six of their final seven games to clinch a spot in the WPIAL playoffs.

A year later, Norwin enters the season with experience on its side after graduating only four seniors from last year’s roster.

“All the freshmen who got varsity experience return,” said Norwin coach Chad Good, who is entering his fifth season leading the team. “We are ahead of where we were last year with so much returning talent. I know these guys are hungry to get back into the playoffs.

“Last season definitely lit a fire under them.”

The team is still overall young — of the 40 players on the roster, 25 are underclassmen.

Leading the team’s offense are the senior duo of Dan Good and Alex Flemm. Both were captains last season and bring experience to the attack.

“They are definitely the most vocal guys in the huddle,” Chad Good said. “They are always trying to motivate everyone and get everyone to the right spot on the field. It is almost calming having those guys.”

Cam Masten was one of Norwin’s freshmen thrown into the varsity fire last season. But the experience should payoff as Good expects to see Masten become a scoring threat.

Junior Jacob Dally is a big-bodied player Good is looking to develop into an offensive presence.

“(Junior) Zach Nafaa has come up to varsity this season,” Chad Good said. “We hope we can take some steps forward and be a guy who can feed and find open guys on the field.”

Sophomores Thomas McLaughlin and Hunter Geibel are a pair of offensive-minded middies.

On defense, senior Dan Coughenour and sophomore Shane Plunko return. Sophomore Vince Pecora was a call-up to the varsity team last season and made big strides in the offseason.

Sophomore Cory Johnson improved is stick handling and moved to long-stick middie this season.

Stepping in front of the net is Nolan Mullen. The sophomore saw some varsity time last season and brings a no-fear attitude to the position.

“He is so competitive,” Chad Good said. “He has a little nasty streak. He is not afraid to get in front of any shot.”

Helping Mullen is the play of a pair of midfielders. Juniors Nicholas Shavel and Nathan Good are both vocal on the field and call things out to help Mullen prepare.

“(Mullen) is still learning the calls,” Chad Good said. “It is nice to have those guys who can help pick him up if he gets overwhelmed at times.”

Norwin opened the season with a 16-3 nonsection loss to Fox Chapel on Monday.

The WPIAL realigned Class AAA during the offseason — instead of four sections, there are now only two. Norwin will still play some local rivals such as Hempfield, Latrobe and Penn-Trafford. But the Knights will have to contend with long bus rides to Mt. Lebanon, Canon-McMillan, Peters Township and Bethel Park.

Despite the heavy travel schedule, Norwin is ready to build on last season.

“If we can handle our business in the section, we will get into the playoffs,” Chad Good said. “Then we want to make some noise when we get there.”


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