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May 8, 2013

De La Salle lacrosse team navigating its way through tough slate

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
The Warren De La Salle boys lacrosse team had a record of 4-7 at press time. Pictured is Pilots senior attacker Jared Selewski during a May 1 practice.

WARREN — By the end of the regular season, the Warren De La Salle lacrosse team will have squared off against seven of the top-10 ranked teams in the state, including every team in the top five, according to rankings produced by www.laxpower.com.

That’s the way Pilots coach Anthony Bucci, in his first year as DLS varsity lacrosse coach after a long stint with the Pilots’ JV team, and his players like it.

“We certainly don’t have any off-days, so our guys are playing against the best every week. If our team stays strong mentally, that can only help us,” Bucci said. “We’re going against the best so that when we hit the playoffs, there’s nothing we really haven’t seen.”

“It’s about building off of our losses and picking up a few wins along the way. We always try to just get the best out of every game,” Pilots senior long stick midfielder Alex Gruber said.

Bucci said senior attacker Jared Selewski, who will play at Rollins College next year, senior long stick midfielder Alex Gruber, and senior midfielder Joe Badalamenti serve as the leaders of the team. He said each of those players lead in different ways. Selewski and Badalamenti are the Pilots’ top scorers, while Gruber is a “do everything” player whose impact isn’t necessarily seen on the stat sheet.

Bucci said the squad’s strength is its attack. He said the team can score a lot of goals from a variety of angles. DLS is netting 10.5 goals per game in wins.

“We’re a Jekyll and Hyde team,” Bucci said. “Sometimes we get it; we beat (Pontiac Notre Dame Prep) after they knocked us out of the playoffs last year. Then there’ll be games we don’t have it. We need to get over that before the start of the playoffs.”

The Pilots’ coach said he’s looking for his team to tighten up its transition defense going into the postseason, which begins with pre-regionals May 16.

“The game has changed from a halfcourt game to a more up-tempo game,” Bucci said. “We’re working on defending that style, and that helps with the teams we play because the good teams play that wide-open style.”

Bucci said the team’s defense has improved since the start of the season, when it gave up 42 goals in its first three games of the season. In wins, the Pilots allow just 5.75 goals per game. That number is one-third less than the 15.8 points allowed by De La Salle in losses.

“We just have to be quicker and be better about telling our midfielders where to go,” Badalamenti said. “We’re working hard in practice and we’ve been working hard all season, so that mentality should help us a lot in the playoffs.”

“I’m looking for consistency,” Bucci said. “When we play our best, we can play with anybody. However, it’s just a matter at this point in the season for the players to implement the system on a game-by-game basis.”

The Pilots next hit the field for a matchup against No. 1-ranked Clarkston High, set for 5:30 p.m. May 14 at the Macomb Community College south campus.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.