The Thomas Worthington Cardinals begin the 2011-12 campaign with the majority of their roster made up of 22 seniors. Thomas Worthington head coach John Galipault expects the team’s experience to help the Cardinals improve on last year’s 9-10 record. “Last year was a rough year,” said Galipault. “It took a lot of games for us to understand who we were but in the end we learned a lot.”
The Cardinals look to take those learning experiences and apply them to the upcoming season. “Our goal is to win our home games and the last game of the season,” said Galipault. “In order to accomplish that goal we have to focus on creating a positive atmosphere in practice.”
The coaching staff’s emphasis on practice dates back to last season. After the Cardinals began to struggle at the beginning of games Coach Galipault switched up their usual routine. “We decided to begin practice at game tempo and not let up on guys at the beginning of practice,” said Galipault. “This sets the tone for going all out during an actual game.”
But preparing for next season goes beyond practice. Many players on the Cardinals are already attending lacrosse camps and tournaments during the fall, as well as playing other sports to stay in shape during the offseason.
Getting prepared during the offseason is especially important for the incoming freshmen class. Coach Galipault expects several of the freshmen to make an immediate impact on the team. “We have a really good freshmen class and a lot of them are going to start on varsity their sophomore year,” said Galipault.
Even with their talent, the freshmen will have a hard time breaking into the starting lineup as the Cardinals return several key starters from last year.
Lefty Kyle Gratz returns at attack for the Cardinals. “Kyle has a great shot and has worked his body to become a top athlete,” said Galipault. “He has a coach’s mind and is one of the keys to our offense this year.” Joining Gratz at attack will be a combination of four or five upperclassmen who also have varsity time under their belts.
Senior Eric Monfort is the team’s FO/GO and midfielder. “Eric can play any position and has done a great job on varsity,” said Galipault. “He knows how to utilize his body which translates to hard drives at the face off X.”
The Cardinals defense will be comprised of seven players including Nick Sharick, Will Byars and Adam Norris, who are returning starters from last year’s roster. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Jones returns in goal for the Cardinals but will face competition from junior Evan Smith.
This year’s varsity team has a tough a road ahead of them though, starting with a trip to North Carolina in the spring. The team is also celebrating its 40th year by hosting the Midwest tournament, which features the top 16 teams in the Midwest, and the Ohio State Finals.
Coach Galipault knows the team has a difficult task ahead of them but he’s looking forward to the challenge. “We have a tough schedule ahead but we expect a lot from our varsity and plan to learn from each game throughout the season.”