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PressBox High School Lacrosse Newsletter Vol. 18

September 24, 2014

PressBox's high school lacrosse e-mail, written by Tom Peace, brings you all the best in local lacrosse -- boys and girls, private and public schools, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Check it out, pass it on and tell us what you think

South River Names Local Lacrosse Standout Caroline Cochran Head Coach

When the opportunity comes knocking it is smart to seize it, and that is what Caroline Cochran did when she was named head coach for the South River girls' lacrosse team. 

Cochran replaces Samantha Farrell, who is her good friend and former college roommate. Farrell is leaving the Seahawks to take a coaching position in California. Cochran served as an assistant coach under Farrell, and when the spot opened up it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. 

"We are excited to have Caroline take the head coaching position at South River High School," athletic director David Klingel said in a press release. "We look for her to build on the strong tradition of success at our school."

From 2004-08, Cochran was a four-year starter at St. Mary's Annapolis, and a three-time first-team All-County selection by The Capital Gazette. During her high school career, she posted 217 goals and 61 assists.

"I could not be more excited," Cochran said. "I am very lucky to be given such an amazing opportunity. It has always been my vision to become a high school coach once I completed my master's program for teaching. I was fortunate enough to do my teaching internship at South River, which is one of the top public high schools in the county. Not to mention, they are very well respected in the athletic community. To be able to head coach at South River High School is truly an honor, and I look forward for the years to come."

Cochran went to University of Virginia before transferring to the University of Florida. She played three seasons for the Gators and helped put the new program on the map. Cochran later obtained her master's degree in arts and teaching at University of Maryland University College. 

"There are no words to describe my experience at Florida," Cochran said. "Even though I was a sophomore when I transferred there, it felt like my freshmen year all over again because we had no upperclassmen for guidance. With 25 freshmen on the team, we were given the responsibility to build a legacy at UF. Our quick success came from a lot of hard work. There were lots of 5:30 a.m. workouts and late night practices that were involved in that first year. It was one of the hardest years of my life because of the rigorous demands of Division I lacrosse. However, it was well worth it to be able to compete in the Final Four by my senior year. I have learned that success is given to those who work for it, and that is a lesson that I hope to pass on to my players."

South River is coming off an 8-7 season with a team comprised of younger players learning how to mesh with one another. Now, with a full season under their belts, Cochran thinks the 2015 team will have enough experience to put together a winning season. 

"I guarantee with the leadership of the upperclassmen, you can expect great things for South River Lacrosse this year," Cochran said.

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Severna Park Replaces Carin Peterson With Her Niece 

Severna Park also announced a coaching hire for their girls' lacrosse team, naming former alum Kaitlyn Fuller as head coach. Fuller was a Capital Gazette First Team All-County selection, and is the niece of long-time Severna Park coach Carin Peterson, whom Fuller is replacing. 

Fuller, who has served as an assistant coach the past three seasons for Peterson, played defense for Jen Adams at Loyola University from 2007-10, and is currently in her third year of teaching at The Summit School in Edgewater. 

"Ms. Fuller is extremely knowledgeable in the sport and has been very successful in serving as an assistant coach on the Severna Park staff the last three years," Severna Park athletic director Dave Lanham said in a statement. "Severna Park High School is pleased to have Ms. Fuller join the proud tradition of excellence as the newly named head girls' lacrosse coach." 

The Falcons went 15-2 during the 2014 season.

Q&A: Mount Saint Joseph Lacrosse Coach Stephen Berger 

Mount Saint Joseph announced alum Stephen Berger will be the new head coach of the boys' lacrosse team. Berger will replace Dave Slafkosky. Last season, the Gaels went 8-10 and 1-8 in the MIAA A Conference. 

PressBox caught up with Berger, who just retired from Major League Lacrosse with the Boston Cannons, to get his thoughts on coming back to his alma mater to be the head coach, how he hopes to resurrect the Mount St. Joe lacrosse program and his thoughts on early recruiting. 

PressBox: How does it feel to be back at your alma mater as head coach?

Stephen Berger: It is a great feeling to be back where it all began for me. The school looks a little different with an amazing new athletic center and beautiful additions to the school's campus, but other than that, [there are] a lot of the same faces (teaches/staff) and the same great attitudes and energy that the students bring to that school. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity to be able to give back to the school that has given me so much as a person and athlete.

PB: What are you looking forward to the most as the head coach for Mount St. Joe?

SB: Working with all of the young men that come to the school to get a great education and experience, as well [as] be able to play the game of lacrosse. I am so excited to share everything I have learned ... I am really looking forward to not only being a coach to these young men, but also a mentor for them. 

I am also looking forward to working with the staff I have selected (varsity, JV and freshman coaches). All of them have shown so much support and are as hungry as I am to get the ball rolling. We have work to do, but I have some great coaches who will be a huge part of our success, and I will not be able to do it without them. 

PB: Mount St. Joe has been competitive the past couple seasons, but still finished with a losing record in 2014. What does the 2015 team need to do to get over the hump?

SB: First thing is we need to get bigger, faster and stronger. In order to compete with the best, we need to train and work hard like the best. I have said since day one, "hard work pays off" and my team has already proven it with all of the hard work they have already done this fall. We also need to believe in one another, and use every opportunity we [have] together to work hard and push one another. I have a great group of seniors who are working very hard to lead this team/program to be successful this year. I am excited for the future of the program.

PB: Does coming into the MIAA A conference feel intimidating to you?

SB: Is this a trick question? Intimidate is the wrong word. I would say the A conference excites me. In my eyes, it's the best [high school] league in the country for lacrosse. Playing in [this] league many years ago, I understand the challenges we have ahead, and we are going to face some of the best players and coaches in the country, but in my own opinion, you can't be the best unless you play the best. 

PB: You enter a program with some decent talent to work with. How will that help you this season?

SB: I am very excited about the senior class at [Mount St. Joe] right now. The seniors have been working hard since we started fall ball, and the juniors are right behind them pushing them right along. I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of the players ... and I really enjoy being around all the kids. We still have work to do, but I am confident that the boys have a little fire going under them that will keep them going throughout this offseason. 

PB: Are you going to schedule out of state teams for 2015? And who will the teams be if you do?

SB: I always think it's great to play teams from other parts of the state or even country. I believe it is great exposure for the program and a great opportunity for my players and coaches as well. We have a few schools from Virginia and D.C. on the schedule. I am heading down to Delaware with the team early in the season to have a play day at Cape Henlopen High School, where we will have a chance to play teams like Ridgewood from New Jersey, Georgetown Prep from D.C. and Cape Henlopen from Delaware, who won the state high school championship last year. I am also very excited about the trip I planned for my team this spring. We will be traveling to beautiful Chestertown to play in a game versus St. Stephen's & St. Agnes at my alma mater Washington College (under the lights). We also have Charlotte Catholic coming in from out of town to play us at Mount St. Joe on their spring break trip. Outside of the MIAA schedule, I have brought back some great state rival games that I can remember were always fun, and that is playing Catonsville High School and Severna Park High School. 

PB: Have the other coaches in the conference reached out to you and welcomed you?

SB: Yes, the MIAA coaching community has been really great so far. Coach [Bryan] Kelly at Calvert Hall, Coach [Rick] Brocato at St. Paul's, Ben Rubeor down at St. Mary's (Annapolis), Coach [Andy] Hilgartner and Coach [Brooks] Matthews all reached out to congratulate me. What's great about the sport of lacrosse is that there is a very high competitiveness amongst the game and the players/coaches, but there is also a humbleness about our game that I believe the coaches and the players in the MIAA have, and carry with them when it comes to our game. 

PB: The rivalry between Mount St. Joe and St. Mary's has mounted the last couple years, and fellow pro laxer Ben Rubeor coaches the Saints. Should fans expect some great games with you and Ben coaching against one another?

SB: I actually played with Ben in his rookie season on Long Island. Him and I became great friends and roommates on our road trips. The two guys from Maryland needed to stick together on a team with a bunch of Long Island guys. I was really able to get to know Ben, and we both have very similar work ethics and coaching styles. I have a huge amount of respect for Ben and think his game and coaching style is incredible -- so fundamental. He works so hard and has such a great passion for the game. Those young men down in Annapolis are lucky to have him. He is a true ambassador of the game and I am so happy he is able to be coaching the Saints, and be able to share all his knowledge to those young players. I am excited to coach against Ben, but more importantly I will absolutely be making a few trips this offseason down to Annapolis to get some breakfast or lunches together and pick his brain. 

PB: Boys' Latin head coach Bob Shriver is retiring after this upcoming season. What are your thoughts on Shriver as a coach?

SB: Coach Shriver is an incredible coach and has had amazing success over the last 20 plus years. It is amazing to see all of the great players he has had a chance to work with and help develop throughout the years. I have been a fan of Coach Shriver truly when [I] arrived at Washington College, where I learned more about Coach as a player for the Shoremen. It was then where I learned and began to see his passion and commitment to the kids and the game when I would come back to Baltimore to watch games. I know many players that have played for Coach Shriver and they all express such great things about him as a coach and more importantly a person. I am going to look forward to being able to coach against him in his last year of coaching. 

PB: What are your thoughts on early recruiting in lacrosse?

SB: I am of different opinions on this issue. I do understand the pressure many of these Division I programs are under, and the competitiveness out there nowadays with the athletes that are coming up the ranks. But I also don't believe that a freshman or sophomore should be making any decision on a school or program that early. ... These coaches and programs put themselves at risk with potential injuries, or what if a student gets in trouble? What if the coach that recruited you gets fired or leaves before you get there three years later? Are you still going to play for that school? Or will you change your mind?

I think lacrosse to a degree is soft ... when it comes to recruiting, and I think they should take a page out of the college football books. If a high school football player says he verbally commits to Florida State in football, the next day the phone would be ringing off the hook at that player's house, and who is on the phone? Penn State, Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan. Whereas in lacrosse, if a player says he is going to Hopkins or Maryland that player is considered off the market. Why?

Finally, my last biggest pet peeve in the recruiting world right now is the how much kids have to play in event, after event, after event, after event to get seen? How are the future stars of the game getting any better if they are constantly just playing and playing and playing and playing? The coaching is so minimal at these events, and I can't imagine being a college coach in the summer going on a tour of just watching lacrosse game after lacrosse game at events across the country. What happened to all the camps where players could actually improve their game instead of trying to standout in an event with 5,000 other kids trying to do the same thing? .

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Featured College Commitments

2015

St. Paul's midfielder/face-off specialist Eli Ayer -- University of Mary Washington

Wicomico midfielder Gabrielle Caruso -- University of Findlay

St. Paul's longstick midfielder Brendon Connolly -- Gettysburg College

2016 

Boys' Latin attackman Logan Wisnauskas -- Syracuse University

Fallston midfielder Katie Donhauser -- University of Oregon

Archbishop Spalding defensive midfielder Logan Edmondson -- University of Louisville

2017

McDonogh long-stick midfielder/defenseman Zeke Narcise -- Duke University

Landon attackman Nate Buller -- Duke University

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