Indians’ JV lacrosse keeps momentum and wins going
In the debut year of the school’s junior-varsity lacrosse team, Indian River has wasted no time showing their true potential. This past Monday, April 16, the Indians defeated the Worcester Prep junior-varsity Ducks team, 10-4, improving their season record to 3-1. First-year head coach Jim Dietsch was thrilled with the team’s performance and said he hopes that the talent and ambition of the athletes will be carried over next season, when Indian River plans to unveil a varsity squad for the first time.
“I’m very pleased with the way these kids played,” he said. “I see how hard they work in practice. They were even out here practicing three days over the Easter break. For an old-school guy like me, when you see kids taking the sport that seriously, it really means a lot.”
Indian River came out with vigor, jumping ahead to a 5-0 start in the first quarter of play versus Worcester Prep. They delivered a sixth goal by halftime before the Ducks were able to answer back. Both teams found the net twice in the final two periods of the game, but the Indians held on to the lead, netting their second victory over Worcester Prep this season.
Jesus Leon scored three goals and provided an assist in the win. Benjamin Gonski scored twice for the Indians, while Chris Cirello, Jackson Jorss, Sam Cannon, Spencer Murray and Merrick Kovatch each added one.
“The guys came out strong,” said Dietsch, “but they didn’t let up. I’ve coached a lot of college teams, and I’ve seen guys go up by a few scores, then they’ll take their opponents lightly. And the next thing you know, you’re fighting for your life. Fortunately, they kept playing hard. They play for the love of the game.”
Gonski tallied two assists in the win, and the Indians overpowered the Ducks on shots, ground balls and face-offs. Indian River kept the nets hot by firing 33 shots to Worcester Prep’s 12. Indian River won 25 ground balls, versus Worcester Prep’s 14, and earned 11 face-offs, six of which came from Kovatch.
The early lead gave Dietsch the chance to rotate all the players into the game, something he tries to do each time his squad takes the field.
“We’ve got a team of 30,” he noted, “and I try to get everyone in as often as I can. We’ve got a strong team now, and the numbers definitely help. We have a strong group of guys now. I think we’re going to be even better next year, with a varsity and a JV team.”
Although things have been coming together smoothly for the Indians, Dietsch, who has built lacrosse programs from the ground up before, knows that there is still a lot of practicing to do as the team develops.
“We still have a few things to work on,” he said. “There were times they ran with ball when should have passed, or passed when they should have taken some steps and shot, but they’re really starting to see it. We have some inexperience on the team, but they are definitely learning and starting to make good decisions on their own.”
At the start of the season, roughly two-thirds of the roster had never played a game of lacrosse before, and many had never even picked up a stick.
“It comes with time,” Dietsch added, “but they’re learning from experience. And if we’re able to win games while they’re learning, that’s even better. We definitely have enough kids to make this work. I think we’ll have a great program here before long.”
Ball control, offensive attacks and fundamentals are still among the key focuses at practice, but Dietsch expects the team to continue their strong surge as they continue their schedule, hosting Milford this Friday, April 20, at 4 p.m. on the Indian River football field.