BY BRETT FRIEDENSOHN
The lacrosse team at County College of Morris is looking to redeem itself from the 2016 season when it finished its season 1-5 in the region and 2-14 overall and looks to achieve a playoff spot by finishing .500 or better either in region play or overall for the first time since 2011.
The Titans lost 2017 season opener Wednesday, March 8 to Ocean County College 30-2, their largest deficit in more than six seasons. Their 14-2 loss to Union County College Wednesday, April 5 brought their record to 0-2 in the region and 0-5 overall.
Head coach Angel Lastra, who made the transition to the helm of the team this season after working as an assistant coach last season, said after the first game that despite early challenges, he remains optimistic.
“Being in charge of everything is definitely difficult, but like I said, it’s a new challenge, and it’s something to push forward,” Lastra said. “The first game was only our first game. It was my first time head coaching, and it was their first time with especially my philosophy, but it’s just something that you need to push through, and it was unfortunate that the score was that way, but we’re moving forward.”
Lastra said that his philosophy entails discipline and that his players need to work on skills including communication and plan execution.
“I have the game plan in plan,” Lastra said. “It’s just implementing, just talking, just communicating, just following; it’s just the gameplan, not causing penalties, catching and throwing are probably the biggest things that we need to work on.”
Co-captain and attacker Paul Bokun said that he expects this year’s team to be better than last year’s because of his teammates’ focus and Lastra’s leadership.
“Last year, it was more of a club team; a lot of us just didn’t really give a s***,” said Bokun, a business administration major at CCM. “We all just drank and chilled, and now, this year, we’ve got a real team; we have a coach that actually cares, and we’ve got a bunch of players that are on the same page.”
Bokun said that after the season opening loss, he and his teammates should stay positive in order to improve.
“We let up 10 goals in the first quarter, and then, everybody just rolled over on their backs, and it wouldn’t have been like that if we had just kept with it and not given up. If we didn’t give up, that game would have been 20-10; we probably wouldn’t have won, but it probably wouldn’t have been a s*** show like it was.”
Co-captain and midfielder Anthony DeLaurentis agreed with Bokun about his team’s attitude towards the game.
“It’s actually trying to develop a program,” said DeLaurentis. “It’s not just come and get babysat by a coach.”
DeLaurentis said that one of his team’s struggles was the freshmen’s adjustment to the program.
“There’s a lot of first year kids, so it’s hard for them to come in, and they’re fresh out of high school, and they’re not used to playing on the college level yet,” DeLaurentis said. “It’s not even that it’s that much harder, it’s a lot more running, it’s a lot faster, it’s a lot more physical. It’s the little things that kids have to get used to, and that’s a big thing this year is that our coach has focused on those little things to get us all working all together.”
Students can see the last home game of CCM lacrosse at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 against Brookdale Community College on the upper soccer field next to Parking Lot 1.