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Boys' Lacrosse: Royals ready to rebound

Woodbury’s Chase Schlorhaufer makes a break to the front of the net with pressure from East Ridge defender Michael Grehan. File photo

The growing pains were evident in 2017.

After losing 20 seniors due to graduation, the Woodbury boys' lacrosse team had 19 varsity players that were sophomores or younger, leading to a 2-12 record.

The Royals took their lumps last spring. But now, they hope to spring out of that slump with an experienced group of players back on the field.

"My first take on the varsity team: They're better than last year," said Woodbury head coach Jason Worwa. "The returning players made varsity again and worked really hard in the off-season. ... Through natural progression of maturation, they're stronger physically and emotionally."

Sitting in last place in the Suburban East Conference last year with 4.6 goals per game, Worwa is looking for the offense to take a leap in 2018 with a strong attack led by junior Brady Moesenthin and improved midfield play via players like juniors Zach Bernstein and Alex Dunleavy.

"They've gotten faster, stronger, their fundamentals and stick skills are better," Worwa said. "What we really need to do is know what we know what to do, but better. We got pretty dynamic offensive players that are going to have some success up top. We have crafty attackmen; it's just a matter of being smart with the ball and making smart decisions."

Bringing back a skilled goalie in sophomore Garet Long along with close defenders in Gavin Olson and Donny Schuyler, the Royals look to cut down on the opposing team's attack after having nine games with double-digit goals surrendered. A big part of that, Worwa said, will come down to playing good offense and better possessions.

"We had a lot of unforced turnovers," Worwa said. "With the year of physical maturation, our midfielders will be able to play more physical defense in the defensive zone and keep some shots from coming from a less dangerous part of the field."

Limited to just one day of practice in the first week, the Royals get a tough road test to open the year with defending state champion Eagan on Tuesday, April 17.