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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 5, 2012

Voorheesville lacrosse learns the hard way
By Jordan J. Michael

TROY –– Everything was new and it showed. It may have hurt a little, too.

Being a brand new team isn’t easy, and Voorheesville proved that in its first-ever varsity lacrosse game at Troy last Saturday. The Blackbirds made careless mistakes that new teams are expected to make.

Troy’s score was running up and Voorheesville’s hope was running out. The Blackbirds have better days ahead.

Voorheesville lost, 16 to 1. Junior Ben Wilson, a captain, scored the Birds’ only goal in the first quarter. Head Coach Bob Gula said that his team had a great first quarter, trailing 3 to 1, but Voorheesville must learn how to play well for an entire game.

“We have some talent,” said Gula, who coached Siena College in 1997 and 1998. “We’ll progress.”

The Blackbirds were able to control the ball on offense whenever it was able to establish possession. The defense was tentative, had many holes, and wasn’t too aggressive.

Troy has had a lacrosse program since the mid-1990’s. Head Coach Brian Benner, who played against Gula in high school, said that Troy was in a learning phase when he took over the team six years ago. “You’ve just got to keep focus,” he said, “and play to your strengths.”

Goalie Chris Ranc, the only senior for Voorheesville, had never played a game between the pipes until Saturday. Troy scored on Ranc rather easily at times, but Ranc wasn’t getting much help from his defense.

“That ball moves really fast,” said Ranc. “I just have to focus on where the ball is going and tell my teammates to pull in and cover shooters for me.”

Voorheesville competed as a junior-varsity team in 2011, which was self-funded. The varsity team is still self-funded, but Gula hopes the school will pitch in some money in the future.

“These kids went to the board with a three-year plan mapped out,” Gula said. “Dinners, bottle drives, you name it. They want to play lacrosse.”

Voorheesville’s youth program is growing and kids are filtering in, Gula said. “We only have one senior because no one knew if we would last, but here we are.”

The Blackbirds will be playing Class C in the Wasaren League. Saturday’s match-up with Troy was a non-league game. It was the first learning experience of many for Voorheesville.

One thing is certain though: Voorheesville has athletes.

“I spend a lot of time coaching stick skills, but our opponents already have those skills,” Gula said. “We’ll learn as we go and take some bumps along the way, but we’re not going to settle for a loss. It might get frustrating, but the players will improve.”

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