“Anything less than excellence is not acceptable,” said Mark Forsythe, head coach for the Dublin Coffman Shamrocks. With nine starters returning from last year’s squad, Forsythe is expecting an improvement from last year’s 12-9 record. “I think being more experienced helps us,” said Forsythe. “This year’s senior class will have to step up and continue to lead the team.”
Along with the veteran upperclassmen, the team also welcomes a large freshmen class. “We have 27 freshmen coming in,” said Forsythe. “I was able to see them at our summer camp and I can tell that it is an extremely talented class”
Forsythe keeps his team in shape during the offseason by encouraging them to play multiple sports. “It’s important for our kids to be well-rounded athletes and keep active in the fall.”
Dublin Coffman’s coaching staff will see if the offseason conditioning pays off when the Shamrocks begin their season on March 23rd against the Cathedral Irish. The Shamrocks enter the season led by senior attackman and third-year starter Alex Chin. Chin is joined by Austin Seiple, who also started last year. Both Chin and Seiple are former midfielders who Forsythe converted to attackmen. “We put the kids at the position that gives us the best chance to win.”
Junior midfielders Mitch Richert and Kenny Kristan will run the first midfield line, while junior midfielders Grant Whitehead and Grunner Gruehl will split time at faceoff.
Coach Forsythe will use a variety of defensemen in his fast-paced defense. “We try and play an up-tempo style of defense. We need athletes on the defensive end so we can force the opposing team’s offense into turning the ball over.”
The team’s goalie spot is still up for grabs and Forsythe expects a tight competition for the spot. “We always want to make the kids compete for their spots,” said Forsythe. “It makes the practices so much more productive.”
This upcoming season will be Forsythe’s seventh season coaching high school lacrosse and he has seen the sport grow exponentially in that time. “Since I started, the game has changed so much. It’s so much more competitive than it used to be and the amount of schools that are fielding programs is amazing.”
The addition of a Major League Lacrosse franchise in Ohio has further accelerated the growth of lacrosse. “Now that the sport is more main stream, we see the best athletes playing lacrosse,” said Forsythe.
According to Forsythe, the future for the sport is also very bright but there is still more work to be done before lacrosse in Ohio reaches its’ full potential. “We are on the right track but we have an official and coach shortage,” said Forsythe. “We need to get sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. It would provide more structure and create more acceptance from other sports. It’s imperative that it happens in the next five years in order to continue to grow the game.”