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Sterling Heights

New Stevenson lacrosse coach stresses defense on team with 25 first-year players

April 2, 2013

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The Sterling Heights Stevenson lacrosse team has grown to 40 players after fielding just 15 last season. Pictured is Titans first-year coach Anthony Zuccaro, who served as an assistant with Stevenson last season.

New Sterling Heights Stevenson lacrosse coach Anthony Zuccaro said his background and training leans more toward the defensive side of the game, and that’s the area he sees as being the strength of the Titans’ team in 2013.

Three players — senior defenseman Troy Zuccaro, sophomore defenseman Grant Zuccaro and senior defenseman Ryan Saigh — have 19 years of lacrosse experience between them, according to Anthony Zuccaro, who served as an assistant with the Titans, who are members of the Macomb Area Conference White Division, last season.

Although there is experience on the defensive side, this year’s roster has 25 players who have never played lacrosse, according to Anthony Zuccaro. That calls for the Stevenson coach to balance his practices with teaching basic skills and more advanced techniques.

“Considering the experience level of the team, we do not anticipate that we will be a high-scoring team this year,” Anthony Zuccaro said. “We are leaning heavily on our defense to keep the ball out of our cage.”

The program is in a transitional phase, according to Anthony Zuccaro. This year’s team, 0-2 at press time, has 40 players — up from the 15 it fielded in 2012 when the Titans finished 5-8. Anthony Zuccaro said Stevenson Athletic Director Chad Hottle and a new lacrosse booster club helped immensely in getting the word out about the program.

“With this (high) a number of new players, the basic fundamentals of the game need to improve from day to day,” Anthony Zuccaro said. “You can’t compete if you can’t cradle, scoop a ground ball, pass and catch.

“The rest of the game will come from experience during practice and on the field during games.”

Anthony Zuccaro said the team has already learned a lot through two games (against Romeo High and Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse, which have shared the last two Macomb Area Conference White Division titles). He said he expects some parity in the MAC White this season, with Romeo and L’Anse Creuse both in the Red.

“I’m looking at this season as a building (block) for next year,” Anthony Zuccaro said. “That’s not to say I don’t expect to be competitive in the MAC White this year.

“We have returning players spread evenly across the field, so I feel we will be able to match up well with all of our (divisional) opponents. I’m looking for some really tight games this year.”

Stevenson next hits the field for a matchup with Port Huron, slated for 7 p.m. April 11 at Stevenson.

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