Westminster junior Noah Baugher approached Owls coach Steve DeFeo and asked if he could make the switch from midfield to defense.
Baugher knew where he truly wanted to play and is now a starting defender for the Owls, a switch that has turned him into an "outstanding" defender, DeFeo said. He's one of the team's strongest players, DeFeo added, and the sport seems to come naturally to him.
The Owls have seven wins through eight starts this season and have not lost since their first game, a 10-7 loss at Mount St. Joseph. The team will face its crosstown rival this Friday in Winters Mill, a matchup that will bring familiar foes together.
"I think no matter who the opponent is, the kids are excited to play," DeFeo said. "They are a few miles apart form one another and clearly the boys all know one another within the lacrosse community. They definitely get excited to play Winters Mill, there's no question about it."
Four of the county's top five scorers are from Westminster (Bubba Love, Christian Etchison, and Alec Kozlowski). Sophomore goalie Logan Covey has a .543 save percentage with 50 saves and 42 goals allowed.
After the Owls (7-1, 2-0 county) defeated Century 9-1 on Thursday, DeFeo said there was still more to come for his team in terms of development. Team tryouts were March 1 and the Owls' first game was snowed out on March 21, the first game day of the spring sports season. Missing practice and games because of Winter Storm Jonas took a toll on teams all across the county and halted the chance for kids to gain early experience.
"You always hope that as every week goes by, the team is going to mature and get better with one another, collectively, while also improving their own personal skills and understanding concepts offensively and defensively of what we're trying to run and accomplish," DeFeo said. "It takes time to develop all of that."
Mitch Clark, a junior midfielder, was convinced to try out for the lacrosse team a few years ago and came in with little lacrosse experience, DeFeo said. His improvement over the years has been highly beneficial for the Owls and DeFeo is pleased with his contributions to the team.
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"It's pretty neat to see a kid in maybe his third year and watch his stick work improve," DeFeo said. "He's demonstrated athletic speed, quickness and footwork. He went out [against Century] and played outstanding defense. He's been coming along and he's a guy with a great attitude."
Winters Mill will be looking for its first county win when they travel to Manchester Valley on Tuesday. The Falcons (1-4, 0-2 county) suffered losses against Liberty and South Carroll before getting past Atholton 11-10 on Thursday.
Reid Stewart leads the Falcons with six goals and eight assists so far this season, and Justin Hulse has seven goals and three assists. Goalie Collin Smith has 20 saves in goal and allowed 14.
Kaden Ross is another player to watch for Winters Mill — the transfer from Gerstell scored five goals against Atholton, including the game-winner midway through the fourth quarter.