Winters Mill boys lacrosse coach Sal Picataggi gave senior midfielder Evan Horn high praise Wednesday when he simply stated: "When the game is on the line, I want the ball in Evan's stick."
In his third year on varsity, Horn, a captain, brings leadership, a good understanding of the game and a knack for making the smart play during the big moments. This season, he has six goals, 17 assists and 68 ground balls for the No. 11 Falcons.
Also a four-year starter at point guard for the Falcons' basketball team, he is set to play hoops at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va. Before going off to college, Horn — a National Honor Society member who maintains a 3.75 GPA —would like nothing better than to close out his high school career with a state title in lacrosse.
The Falcons reached the Class 2A-1A regional final last year, falling to eventual state champion Glenelg, 7-6. This season, Glenelg and Winters Mill moved up to the Class 3A-2A ranks, where they will compete in different regions and also contend with four-time state champion Hereford.
How fired up are you and the team about the playoffs?
We're really excited after a tough end to our run last year in the regional final to Glenelg. And hopefully, if all things go according to plan, we'll be able to see them again in the state championship if we're lucky enough to make it there. Everyone is really excited, and we're ending the year on a high note. We're peaking right now — the offense is playing well and the defense is playing well, so we're excited to make a run.
What kind of captain are you?
I try to lead by example. I'm not that much of a vocal captain for lacrosse. We have a couple guys who are more vocal and willing to say things when they need to be said. I'm more of a lead-by-example type — just working hard in practice and showing people that you have to go hard all the time to get better.
With the playoffs approaching, what are things you look to see from the team?
Just making sure everything is sharp, making sure everyone is on the same page and everyone is coming ready to play the way we need to play, because we can't go out and have a bad game. There is no tomorrow, so if we come out flat or slow and the next thing you know we could lose.
What's it like for you the day of a big game?
It's really hard to compartmentalize what's going on, especially for a Friday night game. You're sitting there at school on Friday and really all you're thinking about is the game. Right after school is when I kind of settle down and think about what I have to do, what we have to do as a team. Who we're playing, the different matchups — I kind of run it all through my head and make sure I've got everything that may happen down and [that] I'm ready for anything.
What do you want to get out of your final weeks of high school?
I don't want to say just have fun, because there's still some serious things with finals and everything. But I want to enjoy a lot of it and not just have it be focused all on school. I want to be sure to get some enjoyment out of it.
What's the most exciting prospect of going off to college?
I think the fact I'll be moving away from Maryland and meeting a whole new set of people from all different areas. Randolph has a lot of international students, and I'm really looking forward to that and also maybe studying internationally at some point in my college career. So it's a new beginning.
What's the scariest thing about going off to college?
I guess by the same token, being away from home. I have a lot of security here, and I'll be on my own in Virginia. So taking care of myself, I'll definitely have to pay more attention to what I'm doing instead of relying on my parents and family like I do sometimes here at home.
First visit home from college, what will you ask your mother to make for you?
She's a known baker, so I'll probably ask her to make me a cake.