ALL YOU GOTTA DO IS RE-LAX
Boys lacrosse drop opener, found success once minds, game settled
By Nicholas Alumkal ’23, for The Alcove student newspaper.
With the first quarter barely half over the Greenhills Boys Lacrosse team looked as if it would be left in the dust in the season opener on Saturday, April 8. The score was 3-0 favoring the visiting Detroit Cass Tech, as the Technicians capitalized from defensive errors by the Gryphons. But a blowout was not in the cards, as Greenhills players rallied by finding their groove, and most importantly, calming their nerves.
“Sloppy. We were just sloppy,” said Greenhills head coach James Miller. “So, when we got a little more clear-headed and cleaned some of that stuff up, we started turning the game around.”
The Gryphons ultimately fell to the Technicians 8-11, but the score was not indicative of the lion’s share of the game. Both teams brought physicality and energy to the field for the midday faceoff.
The Gryphons rallied before the end of the first quarter, notching two goals in two and a half minutes to end the first stanza courtesy of senior and captain Jared Ge ’23 and freshman Peter Prokhorov ’26. The scoreboard read 4-2 to the visitors after one quarter.
Prokhorov, who was playing in his first varsity lacrosse game, finished with four goals.
“Heading into the game, I wanted to play together with my line,” said Prokhorov. “The goal was to draw slides, shoot, and score, get behind the defense, and win.”
In the second quarter, Nick Cantrell ’23 got in on the goalscoring, as he used his shiftiness to off-balance the Technicians’ defense and find an opening to shoot. Cass Tech led 6-3 at the intermission. By this point, the Gryphons had found their groove by settling their nerves they faced in the opening minutes of the game.
“Most of the preparation is about staying calm,” said Cantrell. “Before games, we want to hit the wall ball, be serious, and have a certain mentality going into each game we play. We have a speech to make sure.”
When the third quarter began, the intensity and scoring was ratcheted up to a new level. Both teams traded goals in a call-and-response fashion.
“Effort. A lot of effort, a lot of hard work, a lot of teamwork. That is what we talked about at halftime.” added Miller. “They [Greenhills] came out hard and worked together. We just needed about three or four minutes of it [at the end of the game].”
Cantrell doubled his tally for the game, making it 6-4 Tech. Cantrell showed outstanding agility to find an opening and the determination to finish the chance. He was not going to be stopped.
“The majority of us are seniors, so we want to go out on a good note,” said Cantrell.
When Tech regained its three-goal cushion, it was not going to last long. Prokhorov added his second to make it 7-5. Receiving the ball on the outside of the attacking third, he released his shot through the forest of players with searing power. The shot necessitated immense technical ability, but Prokhorov made it sound simple.
“I saw a bit of light and took the shot, and thankfully they went in,” said Prokhorov.
The Gryphons tied the score at 8 at the midpoint of the final quarter, as Prokhorov completed his super-hat trick with two goals that followed the same previously successful formula.
“I have to go in the backyard every day, shoot for maybe an hour,” said Prokhorov. “I have been working a lot since last year, in eighth grade, to shoot that well. I am still working on it, it is not even at its best level. So expect more down the line.”
From there, the Technicians took control scoring three unanswered goals to secure the victory. The score may not have favored the Gryphons, but the team still found positive parts of their display.
“It is the first game, it is the first opportunity to play against somebody besides each other,” said Miller. “It was a measure of where we are, what we need to improve on against real competition that is not going to take it easy on you.”
The players pointed out similar effective aspects of their performance and understood the growing curve of the team.
“We did well on improving—both heading into the game and during the game,” said Prokhorov. “On the offensive end, we grew a lot, because we communicated more, we passed the ball well and that opened opportunities. On defense, they knew what to do: they slid, and they crashed on whoever was coming in. Yeah, we made mistakes, but that is natural in our growth. I think we did well in this game, all things considered.”
Saturday was only the beginning of the Gryphons’ season. The games will come thick and fast. There will be little time to dwell on past performances. The first game did not go the Gryphons’ way, but there are many more opportunities to come as the season progresses.
“If we had played the game the way we played the second half, the results would have been different,” said Miller. “I told the guys to keep their heads up. It was a really good effort in the second half, with good teamwork and that is what we need to bring into practice. We will work on the things we need to work on preparing for Liggett on Wednesday.”
The team’s expectations for the season are ambitious, but still achievable with 13 regular season games ahead—and the Gryphons have the ingredients to attain them.
“I wanna see more wins than losses because I think we have a chance now that we have more players,” said Cantrell. “Last year, we had one win, and the rest were losses; I think that occurred mostly because of lack of experience and no players—we had no subs. Players have improved since last year and we have depth. We should be able to beat most of the teams we play.”
To reach these goals, the team is ready to work to identify and strengthen their weaknesses.
“We have a lot to improve on,” said Miller. “Again, the sloppiness we gotta get out of there, we gotta get better on defense. But, it is early in the season. We are getting into Catholic League play next week. We do not have a lot of time to put it together, but we have a lot of games ahead of us to be able to realize our goals for the year.
“To reach our desired goals or get the best out of the team, we have to control what we can control and not get flustered during adversity,” said Miller. “If we can take a deep breath and relax, then I think we have some really good things ahead of us.”
According to the team, if they can stay engaged and not be fazed by whatever happens in the game, they can find success. Relaxing does do wonders.