• Special to The Sun

2017 Woodford County lacrosse team sets state records - 5-25-2017

THE WOODFORD COUNTY lacrosse team recently completed its season with a 5-16 record. However, the record does not measure this team’s accomplishments. The team broke records for their performances and the team ended up leading the state in ground balls, which is the lacrosse equivalent of rebounds. Team members shown are, front row, from left, Jeffrey Faulkner (head coach), Nick Crowe, Walter Titze, Blake Owsley, Ben Dawson, Chris Hoard, Noah Jones, Taylor Biggs and Noah Ansert (coach); second row, Aden Baldwin, Everett Thompson (C),Will Slover, Brody McCoun (C), Charles Lee Spillman and Lee Kain; third row, Ben Isaacs (C), Luke Montgomery, Trevor Welch, Trevor Evans, John Mullins (C); back row, Ben Bland, Connor Byrne, Brandon Eaves (coach) and Ethan Vanover. Note: (C) = team captain. (Photo submitted)

Under the direction of head coach Jeffrey Faulkner, the 2017 Woodford County lacrosse team experienced a season of growth. Although a 5-16 season may not seem impressive, several members of the team broke records for their performances and the team ended up leading the state in ground balls, which is the lacrosse equivalent of rebounds. This year’s seniors, Ethan Gilbert, Ben Isaacs and John Mullins, were instrumental in leading the team. Mullins, the team’s goalkeeper, broke the state record for the most career saves at 556 saves. “I love playing goalie,” said Mullins. “There’s nothing more exciting than stopping the other team to swing the momentum in our direction.” Not only did Mullins face hard rubber balls being shot at him at 70-plus mph while standing in front of a six-foot goal, he also demonstrated leadership by helping direct the defense, a young group of mostly freshmen and sophomores. Isaacs, an attackman on the team, first learned about the sport as a second-grader at Southside Elementary from Tracey Sobolewski. He has played lacrosse since fourth grade, beginning with the Lexington Lizards. This year, Isaacs, who scored 54 goals and had 21 assists for a single-season school record, believes that, “After many years, my playing really came together this year, and I feel like that had a positive effect on my teammates.” Gilbert started the season by scoring many goals until he was sidelined by an ankle injury. Faulkner said that he was good in helping recruit new players for lacrosse. “He also provided leadership by helping (to) coach.” In addition to the seniors, many other players helped the team improve during the season As a sophomore, longstick midfielder Everett Thompson set the state ground-ball record of 189, which ranks him eighth in the country. “I just go into the game with the goal of getting as many offensive possessions as possible for my team,” said Thompson, who also set the state record of 82 takeaways to regain possession of the ball. A quick and aggressive player, he said, “Helping my team score as many points as possible just feels right.” Junior attackmen Sam Smarr and Brody McCoun also scored many goals, while sophomore defender Lee Kain stepped up as a starter in his first year of playing lacrosse. According to Faulkner, “The freshmen stepped out at the end of the season. They started playing together as a team.” The team also developed a sense of togetherness during the season through communication and holding each other accountable. The Yellow Jackets developed a strong team spirit, which helped them cope with the challenges of the season. According to Faulkner: “They didn’t come up with a lot of wins, but they grew tremendously individually.”

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