North Kitsap boys lacrosse continues to struggle

POULSBO - The North Kitsap boys lacrosse team continued to struggle this week in a Wednesday loss to Stadium at Strawberry Field.

Despite 19 saves from goalkeeper Ian Brown, who has played only a handful of games in the net this season, North managed just three shots throughout the contest and fell to the Tigers by a score of 19-1. The team currently sits in second to last place in their division, ahead of South Kitsap, the only team they have beaten this year.

“Our team is made up mostly of underclassmen. We’re pretty new this season,” said junior midfielder Jake Icard, who had the team’s lone goal Wednesday.

Throughout the game, North faced an offensive onslaught brought on by a quicker, more experienced Stadium crew. The Tigers’ Bryce Busey scored the first goal in the opening minute, and North quickly countered when Icard found the net just minutes later. From that point on, though, it was all Stadium. By the end of the first quarter, the Tigers were already up 9-1, and took a 12-1 lead going into halftime.

The score never got any better for North, but there were some bright spots amidst the frustration. In the third quarter, two NK players were sent to the penalty box at the same time for slashing, and during their one minute absence the defense managed to stave off the Tigers’ offensive push and prevent what should have been an easy Stadium goal.

“Man-down defense was their best asset today,” said North Kitsap middle school lacrosse coach Brian O’Connor, who filled in for an absent Alex Wade Wednesday. “They definitely controlled defense better when they were a man down, because they switched back to zone.”

On offense, where North spent considerably less time, the team struggled and was dwarfed by the Stadium presence. The Tigers outshot North 44-3 on the night, and North had a tough time maintaining possession and performing fundamentals like passing, catching and cradling.

“We’ve really got to work on the clears - getting it from the defensive side of the field to the offensive side of the field,” Icard said. “I think that we have a good offense, but they’re not very active.”

A portion of those offensive problems lay in North’s midfield transitions, according to O’Connor.

“Middies are definitely not getting open and in front of the ball,” O’Connor said. “Those that have the ball aren’t looking for the open man.”

Players and coaches know that with further practice and experience the team should be able to improve in the future.

“I think next season and the season after that we’ll be a lot better, because all our players will be more developed,” Icard said.

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