Hood’s season has gotten off to a 2-5 start, which is just one game behind last year’s record in the win-loss column through the first seven contests. But there’s a weighty sense of pessimism surrounding the program.
That’s because the players and coaches are still reeling from the loss of junior goalkeeper William Lane, who hasn’t played since sustaining a concussion in a 10-4 victory over Shenandoah on Feb. 22. In fact, coach Jeremy Mattoon said Lane has been told by doctors that he can never again play lacrosse or soccer – where he is a second-team All-Capital Athletic Conference goalie.
“That’s his third concussion in two years,” Mattoon said Tuesday. “The doctors just said, ‘You can’t do this anymore.’ He can’t drive, I don’t think he’s been back to class yet. This is a big-time thing that he’s experiencing right now. And we feel terrible about it. I’ve apologized to him so many times because I just feel terrible. I don’t really know what to do or say to him. It’s been five games since it happened, and we’re still reeling. We’ve had to change the defense we run, and we’ve had to change everything since that happened because the last thing I want to do is break the confidence of a freshman goalie who’s got four more years here with me. So we’ve changed a lot of things, and we are absolutely a different team. We don’t have the confidence. We had a lot of confidence going into the season.”
Lane – who made nine starts last season to seven starts for John Martin, who did not return this year – had enjoyed a strong start this year. He had registered a 5.47 goals-against average and a .714 save percentage prior to the injury.
Lane’s absence has been filled by a pair of freshmen in Cody Hass (8.16 goals-against average and .600 save percentage) and Joe McCulloh (12.92, .458)
“Basically, we’re still trying to figure out which one of these freshmen gives us the best opportunity to win games,” Mattoon said. “I never in a million years thought that my biggest question mark would be in the goal. I had two guys that started and won CAC games last year in the cage, and now I have none. We’re struggling. We’ve lost a lot of that trust.”
Mattoon said Shenandoah coach Mike Kruger and the player who caused Lane’s concussion have apologized for the incident, but Mattoon said there’s still some anger residing from the hit.
“Unfortunately, the hit was a very questionable hit on the sideline,” Mattoon said. “The coach from Shenandoah has emailed me and the kid who made the hit has emailed me. The problem is, we’ve lost our junior starting – and as far as I’m concerned, our all-conference – goalie, and we’re starting freshmen. They’ve both played well at times, and they’ve both struggled severely at times.”