The Tiger Lacrosse team will begin their defense of their three consecutive titles this upcoming Friday when they play Father Ryan, a team from Nashville, TN. We’ll start to focus on the opponent in the upcoming days, but we want to take a quick look at who the LAX team will be returning this season. We are going to highlight some position groups, and focus on who is poised for a big year. Let’s see how the Tigers look this year!
The Tigers lost their leading scorer from last year, John Mueller. Mueller scored 41 goals along with having 18 assists and was a key leader for last year’s team. He will be tough to replace because of his size and athleticism.
The Tigers return 2 of 3 starters at attack. Junior Keegan Puffer and senior Joey Mackin will look to pick up right where they left off. Puffer, who had a team high 33 assists last season, along with 24 goals, looks to add to what was a very strong sophomore season. He is very shifty and can easily maneuver himself through the defense, which plays in his favor. Mackin also looks to pick up where he left off last season. He had 22 goals, along with 27 assists for the Tigers. Both Mackin and Puffer will be need to have great seasons if this team wants to win a fourth straight state championship. Senior Nic Malubay saw limited playing time last year, but will see that increased in the 2017 season. He scored 5 goals and added 11 assists last year. However, there is no doubt these numbers will take a big jump. Malubay recently committed to play lacrosse at Centre College which shows the ability he has to make this a special season for him and the rest of his teammates.
Sophomore Will Hubbs will look for an increased role on the Varsity team this year. Hubbs was pulled up from the JV team mid-season last year and will look to build on what was a solid season on the JV squad.
Corbyn Buchart , currently playing with Transylvania University, was the Tigers leading face-off man last season. He won 101 face-offs, while only losing 59. Buchart was a great face-off player whose play on both sides of the field helped the Tigers tremendously.
The Tigers return almost all of their main midfielders from last season. Jake Zickel, Patrick Anderson, Blake Roshkowski, Will Ginter, and Cole Stumler will see most of the playing time at this position. Roshkowski was held on the sidelines last year after an ACL injury during the preseason. He is now coming off of another ACL injury from football season, but was just recently cleared to play. It will be interesting to see how the former All-State midfielder returns to form coming off two season-ending injuries. Zickel and Anderson will provide an inside-outside combo. Zickel tends to play around the crease, while Anderson will make the most of his opportunities off shooting from the outside.
Cole Stumler will return as the Tigers’ lead face off man. He backed up Buchart last year and will look to increase his role this year. Peyton Bray will also help carry the load on face offs and appears to be a good distributor for the Tigers.
Will Ginter and Harrison Pate highlight the defensive midfielders and will look to have a strong season. Ginter specifically can force a turnover, then torch the other team with his blazing speed and ability to get up and down the field.
Overall, all of the midfielders have great knowledge about the game which is often overlooked.
Caleb Grimes has been a main stead for the Tiger Defense since his freshman year. The Tigers will feel the loss of Grimes’ leadership and his ability on that side of the field. He was the lockdown defender for the Tigers, so someone will need to step into that role.
Other than Grimes, the Tigers return majority of the starters on the defensive side, which seems to be a popular theme this year. Seniors Paul Porter and Matthew Shewmaker along with juniors Max Malkani and Ben Mueller will be big for the Tigers on defense. Porter, who had a team high 45 ground balls last season, will look to be a leader this year on defense. Shewmaker saw some playing time last year, but will definitely see his action increased this year. His speed and agility will make him a big-time player for the Tigers. Mueller and Malkani are both very tall with long arms which plays in their favor, especially on defense. Their footwork is also key to their success.
The goalie position is pretty much locked up for the upcoming season. Senior Hudson Hill and now graduate Bryce Perram switched off at this key position last year. However, Hill should see almost all of the playing time this season. Last year he saved 33 shots on 80 shots on goal. Hill looks to have a strong season at arguably the hardest and most important position on the field.
The Tigers have a tough out-of-state schedule, and if they are successful, they could climb up the National Rankings quickly. This schedule is highlighted by Cincinnati St.X and Cathedral, who were the 5th and 7th ranked teams in the Midwest by Inside Lacrosse last year. In Kentucky, the Tigers look to continue their dominance in the Bluegrass. Their top competition for the State Title this year looks to be that team on Shelbyville Road, but the Tigers have not lost to them since 2013.
The Tiger Lacrosse team are the 3x Defending State Champions, and anything less than a fourth straight title would be a disappointment. Coach Howe and Co. know what it takes to win, so they’ll approach this year the same as any other.
So, with the Tigers opening up the season this Friday at home at 5:30, make sure to be there and get rowdy!