Lansdowne boys lacrosse takes giant step forward

Lansdowne boys lacrosse coach Tyler Martin would like to forget about the 2012 and 2013 seasons, when the Vikings won two games while losing 21.

"Two years ago, we scored 21 (goals) for the entire season," Martin said. "And last year we had only 56 in 12 games.

"This year, we were in the 50s by the fourth or fifth game."

This year, the Vikings have won as many games as they've lost, and that's progress. Lansdowne is 6-6.

"It definitely feels great," junior attacker Collin Murphy said of the turnaround. "We don't hear any more of the, 'Your record is terrible comments from anybody.' "

Martin, a sixth-year coach, made the offense less complicated -- and the Vikings have responded with 93 goals in 12 games.

"I simplified the offense," Martin said. "I had brought it to a level that was too complex. This year, I focused a lot on fundamentals."

Murphy is the team's leading scorer with 36 goals and 18 assists.

"Everything goes though him," Martin said. "Every time he gets the ball, he has a chance to put it in the back of the goal. But this year, he's realizing he doesn't have to do it all. He's seeing the open guy, finding guys on the crease and the mids."

He starts at attack along with senior Danny Nicholson, sophomore Chris Flores and freshman Noah Condon. Condon is second on the team in goal with 13.

Condon and another freshman, defender Seth Hughes, have brought something to the varsity that many of Lansdowne's players don't have -- recreation league experience.

"If I am lucky, I have kids that start playing as freshmen," Martin said. "They are very knowledgeable about lacrosse. They are very creative on the field and have very solid, fundamental skill sets, and they mesh really well with guys they are on the field with."

Lansdowne has defeated Western Tech, Chesapeake, Woodlawn and Milford Mill down the stretch.

A 7-6 loss to Parkville reflected the Vikings' development, too. Lansdowne trailed by three goals before Murphy scored three times in the final five minutes to send the game into overtime.

With the regular season over, the Vikings are focused on the Class 2A/3A playoffs. Lansdowne plays at home against Digital Harbor on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

"Hopefully, we will be able to make some kind of run in the postseason," said Martin, whose team has lost for six straight seasons in the first round of the playoffs. "This is probably one of our best chances in the last couple of years. We are improving day by day and getting better."

Martin likes the way his offense is playing, but also his defense of Hughes, and seniors Mauricio Franco, Zak Shaw, Romario Orella and Russell Seeney-Cunningham.

The unit impressed Parkville coach John Cooper.

"They are very aggressive on defense and we had a hard time with their defense," Cooper said.

Martin has been especially impressed with Seeney-Cunningham.

"He is a second-year player who came over from baseball," Martin said. "I wish I got him sooner. He has turned into a heck of a player. He understands the flow of the game and is physical and strong. His physicality from football is second to none."

Murphy says chemistry has helped the team's win-loss record as much as anything.

"We have a guy in Carson Smith, who just brings the team together, and everybody is best friends," he said. "We didn't have that last year."

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