Trojans building for a fabulous lacrosse future
Trying to build a high school level program, no matter what the sport, can be a long and difficult task.
Case in point, for years the Delaware Valley girls’ basketball team has been seemingly in a drought for the past several seasons. Basketball, a “traditional” sport.
Similar setbacks have also plagued North Pocono’s boys lacrosse team. Lacrosse, a somewhat “non-traditional” sport, at least for Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Both the struggling Lady Warriors hoops squad and Trojan lacrosse share a common denominator: lack of youth development at the local level.
However, in spite of that fact, younger NP lacrosse players are finding fundamental training with several Scranton area organizations and the kids are stepping up, especially the underclassmen.
“We are an extremely young team,” said Head Coach Robert Deremer.
Although there were 10 seniors on this spring’s varsity squad, three of the top points scorers were sophomores and the fourth highest was a freshman.
Tenth grade attackers Kristofer Zero and Jason Parola each tallied 28 points this year. Zero led in goals with 22 while Parola counted 21. Parola added seven assists to Zero’s half-dozen.
Classmate Tyler Motichka, an offensive mid-fielder, led the Trojans in assists with 10. His six goals gave him 16 points.
Freshman Colin Zaffino, a middie as well, shook the net 10 times and added four assists for a total of 14 points.
“The talent has been growing over the past five years,” stated Assistant Coach John Humic.
“The game is getting more popular in the area and the kids are starting to develop basic skills at a younger age now.”
Part of the upsurge of scoring on the part of the younger players is partially due to the fact that most of the seniors occupy mid and backfield positions.
Jared Gardner, a defenseman, and Danny Wentland, the goalie, are the team’s only four-season veterans. Tommy Tomko, a midfielder, has been with the team for three years.
Patrick Taylor, a middie, and Jeff Zero, a defender/ long-stick middie, are in their second season, while midfielders Drew Williams, Ethan Bistram, and Mark Beck, and defensemen Chris Fitch and Henry Padula are all 12th grade rookies.
Wentland notched 55 saves against 195 shots on goal.
“It’s a long learning process,” said the goalie.
“The young guys are a big part of this program and we tried hard to get them set up and going in the right direction.”
The Trojans finished with a 2-11 Wyoming Valley Conference record.
They went 0-9 last spring; 1-9 in 2015; and 1-11 in both 2014 and 2013.
New to the scene this season was the entrance of Coughlin and Wyoming Seminary into the conference.
While Sem’s program has been in existence for a number of years, they have been playing mostly other prep schools while the Crusaders are in their debut season.
North Pocono tied with Tunkhannock and Coughlin in Division 2 play and landed a 8th seed for the District II AA playoffs.
Delaware Valley’s reclassification to AAA, the only such school in the district, meant they would no longer compete for a D-II crown and instead had to contend with teams from District XI.
Although the Trojans toppled the Tigers 9-7 in the first round, they lost 17-2 to Wyoming Area in the quarterfinals on May 18.
Wyoming Area went on to get beaten by Crestwood, who moved on to win the title, 11-10 over Sem in double OT.
“Our veteran seniors did a good job working with the younger guys,” said Deremer. “They are the future of the team and it didn’t take them long to start taking control.
“They're working hard in the off-season and we’re hoping to make more strides next season.”