Woodchuck’s off to best start in program history
Men’s lacrosse started over 20 years ago.
“We weren’t a school sponsored sport, so we couldn’t be called the Statesmen. Where we practiced, there were not even woodchucks, but groundhogs stuck in the nets, but we started to call ourselves the Woodchucks, and the nickname has stuck ever since,” said men’s lacrosse coach Brandon Hope.
After last year’s 9-10 season, the Woodchucks are off to an 12-3 start, including a 19-2 win over rival Kirkwood. The Woodchucks also defeated Lafayette for the first time in school history with their 14-3 win and defeated last year’s LAKC State Champion Olathe East 12-5.
Hope said, “Captains, captains are the difference for our team this year. We have captains who care and give our team good leadership.”
“Our team has a good bond; kids get excited when their teammates succeed; we do everything as a team,” Hope added.
Senior John Binder leads the area in points (93), assists (39) and goals (54). The second best player in assists in the area has 26. Last season Binder had 100 points with 62 goals and 38 assists. Against Vianney on April 21, Binder had his 300th career point.
Junior goalie, Caleb Bolin is second in the area and is first in MSLA Division I with 133 saves over 14 games. He is the only goalie to save over a hundred shots and allow less than 100 goals with 76 goals allowed.
On defense, senior Tanner Dunlap leads the team with 72 ground balls. Last season he was third on the team with 76. The Woodchucks are fifth out of 29 teams in Missouri with 5.57 goals allowed per game.
This year the Woodchucks added three new players. Junior Jack Andersohn from SLUH senior Tyler Coleman from Kirkwood and senior Will James from De Smet.
Binder said, “The new players bring depth, (James), (senior) Cam Oliver took a year off and is now back. Now our team is more of a threat on offense.”
James is second on the team with 32 goals, including a nine-goal game versus Rockwood Summit, Andersohn is a starter on defense, and Coleman has committed to play NCAA Division II lacrosse at Lees McRae College in North Carolina.
After playing freshman and sophomore year, Oliver played soccer the spring of his junior year and is playing both this year.
Oliver has seven goals and 11 assists in his five games for the Woodchucks.
Oliver said, “This year I chose to play. I did because I went to games, and I missed lacrosse too much.”
The team voted to let Oliver rejoin the team. According to Laxpower.com, the Woodchucks are ranked fourth in the state.
In the past, Webster has struggled against the traditional powers in Missouri Boys Lacrosse, such as MICDS, CBC, De Smet and SLUH. Webster has never beaten SLUH, De Smet, or MICDS.
Hope said the Woodchucks match up best with those power programs and that they can use their biggest asset, their all-around physicality, against those schools.
The Woodchuck’s next game is May 6 at Moss Field vs. Chaminade.
Women’s Lacrosse looks to return to Final Four
After last year’s state Final Four loss to Cor Jesu, the Stateswomen are off to a 6-5 start.
This year the Stateswomen return 14 of 20 from last year’s team, and added eight new players to Varsity, including new goalie Freshman Kelly McClure.
McClure is 14th in the area with 55 saves.
Coach Andrew Hittler said, “This year’s team has a lot more experience, playoff experience from last year’s run. This year we can easily win State.”
Returning players include the Stateswomen’s top three scorers from last year, seniors Margaret O’Neal, Sophie Molina and Elise Palmquist.
O’Neal leads the team in goals (28) and points (35), Palmquist is third in points with 20, and senior Daphne Armstrong is second on the team in ground balls (25).
The Stateswomen also return this year’s second and third leading scorers, Senior Elise Palmquist has 29 points and Senior Jessica Merkel has 27 points.
According to the NCAA, a ground ball is, “Any ball not in the possession of one team that comes into the possession of the other team in live-ball play.”
Hittler said, “The expectations for this year’s team are sky-high, all returning players and seniors this year are expecting state this year, nothing less.”
Senior, Joey Smith, is third in ground balls with 22 and led the team last year with 36 ground balls. Smith is also fourth on the team in points with 18. Smith has committed to play softball at Princeton.
Last year the Stateswomen started 8-8, and then won three straight games en route to win the District championship before falling 16-10 to Cor Jesu to end the year 11-9. In the District championship victory vs Pattonville, O’Neal had five goals to lead the Stateswomen to a 12-9 win.
“This year we know how to prepare for them (Cor Jesu). We changed our defense to match up better with them. Our advantage is that we can score more than last year. We have a better attack and high powered offense. By the playoffs we can become unstoppable” Hittler said.
O’Neal said the Stateswomen switched to a zone defense to match up against Cor Jesu’s short “dump” passing.
Webster is currently 13th out of 37 teams in the state in scoring at 9.7 goals per game, including a 16-13 win over Visitation.
The Stateswomen have scored double digit goals in six of their 11 games and scored at least six goals in every game.
The Stateswomen are currently ranked 12th in the State and sixth in their Conference. They start their District games on May 14. Their District includes Pattonville, Hazelwood East, Parkway North and Francis Howell North.
The Stateswomen are the highest ranked team in their district. Pattonville is ranked 18th, Parkway North 33rd, Hazelwood East 27th and Francis Howell North is ranked 36th.
Next for the Stateswomen, they play Nerinx Hall on May 2 and match up against Cor Jesu on May 4.
Cor Jesu is 8-1 and the #1 ranked team in Missouri, according to Laxpower.com.
The Stateswomen are ranked 13th in the state and have defeated #8 O’Fallon 8-7 and #9 Westminister 11-9.