Strake Jesuit: Texas Squad Has Need for Speed

By Brent Manney

Speed kills. That should be the motto for Strake Jesuit (TX), as their opponents this season will quickly become aware.

After finishing 13-9 a year ago--and losing in the state semifinals--the Crusaders will rely on team depth and athleticism to help them through a brutal schedule in Texas.

After losing a decent amount of defenders from last year, the Crusaders will look to shore up their defense but head coach Mike Block is confident they will be just as good if not better than last year. Yet with a schedule that includes St. Mark's (TX), Episcopal Dallas (TX), and the Jesuit Classic in Washington D.C., the Crusaders will have their hands full in the month of March.

Last season at the Jesuit Classic the Crusaders finished 2-2; but Block believes their athleticism was evident. This year they will face Fordham Prep (NY), Cardinal Gibbons (MD), St. Ignatius Prep (IL) and Gonzaga (DC) all in just a few days.

The team will face new challenges but Block is optimistic this year because they have always competed and he is really excited facing Jesuit schools from all over the country.

"The last three years the guys loved the tournament and they get excited to play,' said Block. 'We have been just as athletic, if not more. But what is different is the IQ for lacrosse."

The Crusaders have 17 seniors on this year's roster but only a handful who have played lacrosse prior to high school. It's the younger members of the squad who actually have the most lacrosse experience. Combine that extensive lacrosee knowlege--along with their athletic ability--and by the time that group becomes seniors this program may be quite powerful.

A prime example of the Crusaders athletes is Bucknell recruit and fast senior midfielder Tyler McLamb. McLamb who also starred on the Crusader football team draws praise from his head coach for his work ethic and overall game.

"He is pound for pound the strongest (athlete) in school."

Even though the Strake Jesuit lacrosse team is full of talented athletes with great speed, the program focuses on academics first. Block encourages his players to focus on being a student first--to find a college which fits them right academically, as well as athletically.

This upcoming weekend will be a big test for the Crusaders--and Block knows his crew will be fired up to play St. Mark's, the team that eliminated them in the state semifinals last year, 15-13.

With the athletes and team speed of the Crusaders, don't underestimate the effectiveness of their spread offense and fast-paced game plan.

"If they play together, not many teams will beat us" said Block.


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