Cougars take aim at A North lacrosse title

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Staff Writer

With a division title in the offing, the Colts Neck boys lacrosse team is primed to make a run at the championship.

Coach Jeff Rosenberg’s Cougars have never been in this position before. They have 15 seniors who have been with the program the past three years. They are more experienced and talented than any group of seniors the school has had. That alone should be enough to make the Cougars a threat in the Shore Conference A North Division for the first time. The team was 7-11 last year and is on the upswing with all its experience, as evidenced by Colts Neck’s 6-1 start.

Success all starts on defense for the Cougars.

“Our defense is terrific,” said Rosenberg. “We have five very strong defenders. Our three captains have been playing defense for three years. We expect them to be the anchor.”

Senior captains Bill Hull, Peter Olsen and Alex Tucker bring a world of experience to a defense that can shut teams down. The Cougars also have experience in the cage with goalie Eric Gasser, who is a senior.

Gasser and the defense permitted just one goal in their first three games.

Juniors Glenn Vona and Greg Weissman round out the solid defensive corps that has been bolstered this spring by a bit of a change in philosophy. Because of the number of quality players at his disposal, Rosenberg is introducing specialization to midfield. He’s divided his midfielders between those who are offensive and those or are defensive. It has brought additional depth to a strong defense, while providing the team with more offensive firepower.

Juniors Thomas Carney and Mike Li have been designated as the team’s defensive midfielders. Carney is one of three juniors in the starting lineup.

If there has been any noticeable change in Colts Neck lacrosse, it is on the offensive end, where the team is averaging better than 12 goals a match.

“Our pass and catch skills have improved and we’re shooting with more velocity and accuracy,” said Rosenberg.

In one game this year, the Cougars put 57 shots on goal.

Joe Scott, Mike Totaro and Zachery Valdes, a trio of seniors, are playing up front at attack and have been superb snipers, finishing off their chances at a very high rate. They’ve been more than scorers, however. They’ve been creating scoring chances for their teammates, too.

Senior midfielders Anthony Worthington, Aaron Thugut, Tom Steinberg, Chris Tamas and Mike Algor (the fourth team captain) have brought a balance to the attack. There is no one player for teams to mark.

Billy Bayer and Dominick Fiore, the only other junior starters, have been making significant contributions to the offense.

Mike DeMarco (attack), Matt Fitzpatrick (midfield) and Sean Hocker (attack) round out the senior veterans with three years of varsity experience.

Drew Leisure (midfield), Jan Gaszynski (midfield) and Brett Stephan (attack) are juniors who have provided the team with a lot of depth up front. They’ve gotten themselves in the scoring column.

To have a chance at winning the division title, the Cougars know they must go through Freehold Regional District rivals Freehold Township and Howell, which have more-established programs. With A North so wide open this year, all three teams know that it is theirs for the taking.

Along with chasing the A North title, the Cougars’ goals are to make the Shore Conference Tournament and state playoffs.