The upcoming 2015-2016 season comes with the same annual headline: What team will emerge as the champions of Texas high school lacrosse?
The goal for the Jesuit Lacrosse team every year is to win state, which means defeating the nations best. Playing a senior heavy starting line-up, the question of maturity unravels every year for the team. How will the rising seniors and juniors handle the challenge and adversity of playing against the states best, and how will the team be led on and off the field? This year the Jesuit lacrosse team is coming off an impressive 8 win season, the team matured in many aspects, including the exposure of competing with top-tier teams. Graduating 14 seniors last year, the team looks for new leaders to present themselves and lead the team into battle.
This year, Jesuit will face familiar foes, the 2014 champion, ESD, and Highland Park, the 2015 champs. However rigorous the schedule, Jesuit manages to extract every bit of talent out of each player, further producing a very formidable team.
Spearheading this years lineup is senior attackmen, Zachary Kissick, a North Carolina commit who verbalized in the summer of his freshmen year. Zachary started his career at Southlake Carroll, later transferring to Jesuit during the summer of his sophomore year and his impact was evident immediately. Varsity head coach, Chris Surran, explains the process of Zach’s recruitment as a “feeding frenzy” and even said he has “never seen anything like [it] before,” for he received offers from every ACC school. Kissick “exploded” in the summer, attracting attention from nearly every major Division 1 lacrosse university, and Surran’s phone was “ringing off the hook” with every coach making an offer to persuade Zach to commit to their university. During this process, Zach had to take countless visits to these schools and independently make the decision on the colleges that he would consider attending; he looked to the respected Syracuse National Champion, Chris Surran, for insightful advice on his decision-making, in which Surran answered questions honestly and explained the gravity of this decision. Zachary was the “exception” in all aspects of the process, and had “virtually no timeline” to make his decision, for so many school were interested. Kissick was ultimately persuaded by the head coach at the University of North Carolina, Joe Breschi, and after a tiresome summer, he ended his process by deciding to become a Tarheel.
A respected University of Pennsylvania commit, Luke Millican also stems from Southlake, following in the wake of Zach’s arrival. Millican transferred from Liberty Christian (although he played for the Southlake Dragons) to finish his time in high school at Jesuit. Luke came for similar reasons, but the main prospect of a state title was much more tangible as a Jesuit Ranger, and the wisdom and experience of Chris Surran was unmatched by any other coach. Millican’s transfer comes as a great boost to the young defense, which graduated three of the starters. Luke was a two-year starter for the Dragon’s and combined with Surran’s knowledge, will allow the Rangers to field a very strong team, even in the midst of a powerful graduating class.
Two of the Rangers younger offensive weapons, David Sprock and Grayson Hassell, are two of the most dynamic players that the state has ever seen, for these two sophomores have made an instantaneous impact since rolling out onto the field. Highly applauded, Sprock and Hassell highlight the sophomore class. Sprock announced his verbal commit to the University of Virgina, after staring on the first line as a freshmen, frequently being guarded by the opponent’s best player. Hassell committed to the admissions process of the Naval Academy, in which he plans to play lacrosse and further serve our country.
These four are not the only commits from Jesuit’s roster as seniors Garrett Munck, John Michael Priddy, Sean Rilley, Colton Hart, Jackson Suarez, and Blake Buell have all committed to play lacrosse at the next level.
Jesuit’s schedule for the upcoming season will be a true testament to their strength as a team, a strength that will be tested in every game against the nation’s top teams. In the second game of the season, Jesuit will attempt to avenge a loss to the Woodlands, who defeated the Rangers 7-0 in the quarterfinals. Senior captain Zachary Kissick says that the loss to the Woodlands was “demoralizing” and that “the season ended very early for a prospering team.” The Rangers will travel to Arizona to face the nations 3rd ranked overall team, the Gonzaga Eagles, as well as a challenging Brophy, and then will return to challenge St. Stephens and St. Agnes. Kissick noted “we have to handle every game the same, practice the same, and play the same. We learned our lesson last year that we must respect every opponent in our demanding schedule. We must know our personnel and be prepared to be in a dogfight every game, the most important thing is to have your teammates back through the hardest of games.”
The Rangers finish their season facing St. Marks, Highland Park, and the Episcopal School of Dallas. The Rangers will definitely have their work cut out for them, with the hardest games coming towards to the end of the season, as these games “bring out the best of every player” and “everyone, even the coaches look forward to these three opponents the most,” as expressed by Kissick and Surran. The goal of the season in the eyes of Kissick is “to leave a lasting legacy for the class of 2016 and for the younger players to mature as the team progresses, as well as to show other parts of the country that Texas can compete with the best in the nation.”
The goal as in every season, to grow on and off the field, and to hopefully capture the crown as the State champions. The Rangers look strong and poised to make a deep run in the playoffs this year.