The start of fall lacrosse


Isabella Keaton

At the end of each practice, the players show off their Warrior pride and display their excitement to represent NC as a team in the upcoming games, ready to show their opponents that they will not go down without a fight. “I am most excited for playing with all my teammates and forming bonds that will carry over into the spring season,” junior Zach Hall said.

Isabella Keaton, Reporter, Photographer

Coach Jay Stanhope kicked off the fall lacrosse season with the team’s first practice on August 24.

State rules prohibit head coaches from intervening on preseason, which keeps Head Coach John Almy from coaching the fall season, so Stanhope has taken charge and puts the boys to work.

Stanhope started coaching two years ago and became introduced to the sport by his son Dylan, who recently graduated from NC last year. Stanhope fell in love with the sport because of its similarity to hockey, the sport he played as a teenager.

“I really love lacrosse and I’ve been able to fall in love with it over the last thirteen years my son has been playing. It is also just a way of giving back to the school, Coach Almy, and the kids,” Stanhope said.

Alongside Stanhope, NC graduate Joseph Loch helps train the players and gear them up for their first game on September 10th. He attends KSU as a sophomore and plays midfielder on their lacrosse team. He plans on reviewing concepts, both defensive and offensive, in a visual way that improves players’ understanding. Stanhope’s son, Dylan, also attends practice with Loch to see how his previous teammates are improving.

“My plans for this season are to greatly improve player knowledge and skills about general lacrosse and win as many games as possible. I’m also super excited because this is my first opportunity to coach any team and it will be a great rewarding and learning experience,” Loch said.

Isabella Keaton
Coach Loch gives players a pep talk as they make their way through a tough practice. As practices continue, Loch learns from the athletes themselves how to help them prepare for the season, also allowing him to transform himself into a more resourceful coach. “I am coaching because I am trying to change my mindset from being on the field to being on the sidelines and learning how to mentor student athletes,” Loch said.

The two coaches, Almy and Stanhope, use different coaching styles, but the players eagerly want to see how the difference in coaching will make their skills shine. This season, Stanhope wants each player on the field to improve their defensive skills in hopes of preparing them for future defensive positions.  

“Coach Stanhope focuses more of his time on fundamental skills and Almy spends more time on offensive and defensive schemes. I think that benefits us because as a team we need more knowledge of the game and basic skills,” junior faceoff and midfielder Noah McKouen said.

Faceoffs, a play that occurs at the start of each game and after every goal, require practice and hard work to execute properly. McKouen and junior Dian Hassan, both faceoffs, share the responsibility of passing the ball to their teammates and effectively running to the thirty yard line to gain a touch in the box.

The game starts out with the athlete crouching down on the turf, looking their opponent directly in the face. The referee blows his whistle and they fight furiously for the ball.

“I like it because I can control the momentum of the game and how many possessions we get. It’s such an exhilarating feeling when you walk on the field and realize that the game is basically up to you,” McKouen said.

Isabella Keaton
Junior Dian Hassan gasps for breath after finishing one of the most difficult running drills: Indian runs. Indian runs consist of the athlete running in a straight line down the field while the player in the back of the line sprints to the front as the whole team stays at a jog. The drill repeats until each player runs to the front of the line. “Indian runs were difficult for me when I first started out, but I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard lately and they’ve made me a better runner and hustler,” Hassan said.

This season shows promising signs of new players standing up and playing the best they can. Freshmen constantly show Stanhope and Loch they possess what it takes to play on the NC varsity team. The coaches work constantly to prepare new players for the spring season by introducing new drills and putting the boys to work.

“I’m most excited for this season because it’s my first high school season, so I’m really trying to put some goals and hard work in,” freshman Trent Nolen said.

Freshman Brendan Rice stands out and shows his peers and coaches that he possesses something special to offer the team. Rice played for one year with the Kennesaw Mountain junior program prior to playing for NC’s team and began playing because of his friends. He spends multiple hours a day working on stick skills with the brick wall in his backyard and practicing with his older peers to challenge himself. Rice shows no signs of struggle as he climbs to the top, hoping to land a spot on the Varsity team in spring season.

“I mainly started playing lacrosse because my friend was playing and I just thought the sport was interesting and would be really fun,” Rice said.

The coaches and athletes pour all their time and effort into the fall team and anticipate high scores and big wins this season. Even playing against their biggest rival, Kennesaw Mountain, Stanhope pictures a win in store for them. As the practices start, the athletes and coaches prepare themselves for an amazing season.