by Andrew Stark
Though the Marvin Ridge High School boys lacrosse team registered just 16 wins in its first three years as a program between 2008 and 2010, the Mavs took a major step forward last season when they recorded a 10-5 record.
Now the Mavs appear ready to take the next step.
Marvin Ridge already has defeated Charlotte Catholic and Weddington for the first time in school history. And with an 8-2 overall record, the Mavericks are tied for first place in the competitive Conference 12 standings, ranked 10th in the state by the lacrosse website laxpower.com and appear to be getting stronger as the season wears on.
Both losses, including a triple-overtime defeat at Charlotte Catholic on March 29, have come by one goal in overtime, and the Mavericks have been tested in close games all season, having won five contests by four goals or fewer.
The Mavericks’ season hasn’t been without its share of hardships, however, as they’ve had to adjust their game plan after losing senior captain and all-state performer Jordan Collier, who suffered a serious knee injury in the first game of the year. In his absence, fellow captains Walker Bettison, Sean Van Gurp and Ryan Stranahan have shouldered more of a leadership role.
So far, said Mavs coach John Dodd, the team has responded.
“When Collier went down (with a torn anterior cruciate ligament),” Dodd said, “these players really stepped up. Even Jordan has maintained his strong leadership, despite his injury, being at every practice and game serving as an inspiration and coach to our younger players. This leadership has allowed us to play well as a team, not depending on any one individual.”
In particular, Bettison has played well and leads the Mavs’ strong scoring attack with 21 goals and 20 assists. Stranahan has also upped his performance with 12 goals and midfielder Zach Martin has collected 13 goals and six assists.
Dodd has also been pleased with forwards Jonah Moore and Corey Venable, as well as midfielders Ty Kelly and Steve Bauer. Sophomore goalkeeper Reilly McDermott has quickly ascended to become one of the best goalies in the state, according to Dodd, and recorded a school-record 24 saves against Charlotte Catholic.
The Mavericks are just two wins shy of setting a school record, and Dodd thinks his team is coming together after overcoming Collier’s loss.
“To keep it going we must continue working to improve every game and maintain our unselfish, team-oriented style of play,” Dodd said.
The Mavericks next play on Wednesday, April 18, when they host Porter Ridge.