New coach Tim Williams puts his team to an early test as the Pirates host three out-of-town team for a March 8-9 lacrosse tournament with all games played in Englewood High School Stadium.
The teams joining Englewood for the tournament are Pueblo West, Telluride and Glenwood Springs. It is a round-robin format with each team playing the other three teams in the tournament.
The schedule for the tournament games isn’t set because of the forecast of a snowstorm March 9. To check on times and dates of games, go to the high school website at hs.englewoodschools.net and click on the “sports today” link in the upper right corner of the page. That will open the day’s sports calendar.
Williams assumes the head coaching post with a wealth of lacrosse knowledge, but he will be new to the players and the players will be new to him.
“We have gone through some practices, so I have seen them on the field,” the coach said. “Practice is practice, so this tournament will show me a lot about how we play lacrosse against opponents.”
When he spoke to the team at the March 1 practice, he told them he would focus on helping the players develop strong fundamentals.
“Passing and catching are important but winning ground balls wins games,” he told the players. “We’ll do a lot of ground ball drills. When we handle ground balls well, we’ll move to drills on another fundamental skill.”
Williams has vast lacrosse experience. He grew up in the Detroit area and started playing lacrosse in junior high school. His high school team made two trips to the state tournament and took home one championship trophy.
He went to several camps including one at Syracuse and the Team Michigan Lacrosse Camp. At the time he was being recruited by the Air Force Academy and Colorado State University. He chose CSU, where he played midfielder for the Rams as he earned a degree in architecture.
The new coach acknowledged he is facing a challenge as he seeks to improve the Pirate lacrosse team that has won only one game a year for the last four years.
Part of the challenge is numbers. Englewood has 22 names of those considering joining the team but currently has only 13 players who have completed the paperwork needed to be eligible to play. A lacrosse team has 10 players on the field at a time.
“I am looking to the seniors to provide the leadership necessary for all our players to act as a team and use what they learn on the field off the field,” William said. “If that happens the players should take the discipline and dedication we teach in practice into the classroom and in their daily lives.”
Englewood does have several returning veterans, including several seniors like Cody Mikulecky who will be expected to provide leadership for the team.
“I have always liked hockey and lacrosse is like hockey on a ball field,” the Pirate senior said. “This is my second season playing lacrosse and I really like the sport. I like the speed of the game and I like hitting people.”
He said he is still working to improve his lacrosse skills and the hardest thing he had to learn was to go left-handed throwing and catching the ball.
Mikulecky is a midfielder and he said he knows it will be a demanding season because of the small Pirate squad.
Midfielders roam the length and width of the field, and most teams have two or more lines of midfielders so there can be frequent substitutions to keep fresh players on the field.
“Our midfielders are working hard to get in top physical condition and to develop the stamina to be able to play at full speed for the whole game,” Mikulecky said. “We are running distances and running sprints. Personally, I just try to push myself as hard as I can so I will have the stamina I need for a game.”
He said his personal goals are to play hard, improve his skills and help lead the team this season.
“I want to help Englewood be a competitive team and I want to do all I can to help us get more than one win this season,” he said.