In Chris Kraft's first two years as North Carroll coach, the team's strength had been its defense.
Last season, the defense kept the Panthers in a lot of games, but a lack of scoring ability resulted in a 2-10 season.
This year, it appears the offense is ready to blossom and the questions might be with the defense.
"Defense has been the strength in the past, but remains to be seen this year," Kraft said.
"Our hope is to generate enough offense this season to relieve some pressure from our defense. A lot of times last year our defense came up big, but the offense wasn't there. Scoring goals gives the defense a big boost."
The Panthers lost their three starters of a year ago to graduation, but they do have some experienced players returning on defense.
Senior Tony Wysk will anchor the defense. He's nothing flashy, but very consistent. He'll be joined by senior returnee Troy Curry, and Kraft has moved senior Justin Snell back to defense after spending last year up front. Kraft has yet to decide who will take over for graduated Trey Shackleford in goal. Senior Dennis Wyatt is the only goalie in camp with varsity experience.
"I really think the defense is going to gel as the season progresses and again, the key will be scoring goals," Kraft said.
Kraft is looking to senior Jeremy Krug and junior Sam Seashole to provide most of the scoring for the Panthers this season. Krug is in his fourth year on the varsity and played midfield most of last season.
"There's been a lot of years of lacrosse played between the two of them. I'm looking for big things from both of them as far as goal production," Kraft said.
"Both have good, hard shots and can place the ball well. They're also doing a good job as far as spreading things around and knowing it's not them who have to do all the scoring."
Kraft said there's talent throughout the North Carroll lineup, but particularly at midfield, where he has the depth to go with four lines.
Six of the midfielders are returning seniors, and they'll also get a challenge from a handful of juniors. Matt Flanagan, Steve Owings, Greg Reed, Jason Swam, Billy Vaughan and Shawn Utz are the seniors returning from a year ago.
Our strength is definitely at midfield with the depth we have. We're going to have to control the faceoff, and that's something our midfield has had success with in the past. We just weren't able to get goals out of it," Kraft said.
really have a lot of talent to choose from everywhere. How well we do will depend on how well things come together as a team."