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Kettle Run boys lacrosse faces uncertainty after graduation of 16 seniors

Thursday, Mar. 28 | By Jeff Malmgren
Sophomore Adam Donaldson will team with his freshman brother Tate as the Kettle Run boys lacrosse team tries to continue its dominance in 2013. --Times-Democrat Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
The Kettle Run Cougars finished last boys lacrosse season with one win for every senior on their roster.

They must hope that ratio doesn’t repeat in 2013.

Kettle Run has six seniors this season and two returning starters after it lost 16 seniors to graduation last year. The Cougars produced their best season in history during 2012 with a 16-1 record and a sweep of the Evergreen District regular season and tournament championships. Their only loss came in the Region II tournament quarterfinals, 14-9, to Dominion.

Among those 16 lost seniors, eight were starters, leaving first-year coach Scott Begley with only two returning starters this season.

“That’s it,” he said. “They’re all so young.

“I think you have to adjust the goals” compared to seasons past, Begley said. “But we wouldn’t go out there if we didn’t think we had a chance to contend” for the district championship.

Begley took over as head coach in January after Rich Klares accepted a job with the NOVA men’s lacrosse team. Begley served as a KRHS assistant coach under Klares for four seasons and previously coached the Liberty junior varsity team for one season and his son Kyle’s youth lacrosse teams since 2004. Scott Begley played lacrosse at St John The Baptist Diocesan High in West Islip, N.Y.

With Klares gone, Kettle Run’s approach to this season will change to a degree.

“It’s not really fair to the kids to throw in any major changes,” Begley said. “But even if Rich was still here we’d have to do something different. We had a team of guys together since 8th grade and most of those guys moved up through the ranks and had gotten pretty skilled [before graduating]. Now we’re restocking with kids from JV. So it’s kind of back to basics somewhat.”

Kettle Run’s lost starters include attackmen Richie Klares and Domenick Stumpo, midfielders Tyler McGilvery and Kyle Begley, defensemen Will Bates, Nathan Jewell and Ryan Waddell, and goalie Calvin Childress.

That group helped the Cougars outscore opponents by 10.9 points per game in 2012. They allowed double-digit goals in only two games and held seven opponents to under four goals.

“The games aren’t going got be 10-, 15-point spreads” this season, Scott Begley said. “They’re going to be tighter, but we have to shoot for the gold [district] ring and see where we end up.

“We’ve got a pretty aggressive schedule,” he said. “We’re putting the challenge out in front and we’ll see how far they can go.”

Kettle Run’s non-district schedule includes the likes of Freedom, Potomac Falls and Middleburg Academy, and begins Thursday with a home game against Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.). A game scheduled for March 12 against Freedom got postponed due to weather conditions, as did a March 7 scrimmage against Stonewall Jackson.

The Cougars played a tri-scrimmage March 2 at Patriot, but “it was cold and snowy, so we didn’t get a lot accomplished,” Begley said. “The weather’s killing us.”

Without a game until March 28, however, Kettle Run has had plenty of practice time, despite sessions missed due to weather and exams.

“With a younger team it’s nice to have repetition and to get to talk about the offense and defense you want to run,” Begley said. “But it’s hard getting ready with starts and stops [due to weather]. The field’s too muddy. You can’t do too much, but you go inside the gym and you can’t do much either. We just spend lot of time on stick skills.”

Kettle Run’s offense has the benefit of one returning starter in sophomore Adam Donaldson. He held his own last season as a third option on attack flanked by two seniors.

“He came along pretty well,” Begley said. “He got more comfortable [as a freshman]. It’s a big difference going from youth league games … straight into varsity.”

Two new freshmen round out Kettle Run’s starting attack this season in Tate Donaldson and Scott Dodge. They’re the younger brothers of two Cougars. Adam Donaldson, for course, is Tate’s older brother, while Cody is the elder of the aptly named Dodge brothers.

Cody Dodge, a junior, helps compose a defense made of senior Mike Stefanik, who played significant time last season, and sophomore Taylor Redmond. Plus, James Stumpo, the younger brother of 2012 graduate Domenick Stumpo, is the Cougars’ sophomore goalie.

“Our defense is going to be our strength even though we have younger guys in there,” Begley said. “They’re all playing in the offseason … and picked up some experience.”

In the midfield, senior Austin Rodgers is a returning starter, while senior Lucas Costa played significant minutes on a second line that lost to graduation Alex Clare and Alex Hudson. Sophomore Colson Jaynes rounds out the midfielders.

James will handle the faceoffs with that starting group, while Zach Kersey will specialize in that role off the bench and Josh Wicka could also earn some time to give the Cougars a different look.

Starting lineup

Adam Donaldson, So.*
Tate Donaldson, Fr.
Scott Dodge, Fr.

Austin Rodgers, Sr.*
Lucas Costa, Sr.
Colson Jaynes, So.

Mike Stefanik, Sr.
Cody Dodge, Jr.
Taylor Redmond, So.

James Stumpo, So.

*Returning starter

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