The Warriors appear to be turning a corner in their brief lacrosse history, however, with a couple of impressive wins to start the 2013 season.
With a 12-2 season-opening victory over Archer Feb. 19 and a 12-3 win over Forsyth Central Feb. 23, North Atlanta was 2-0 for the first time as it headed into last Saturday’s Area 4AAAAA-A opener with Lakeside of Evans.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re making progress,” North Atlanta coach Patrick Cheney said. “We made some mistakes in the first game that we didn’t in the second game and we made mistakes in the second game that we probably won’t make on Saturday.”
The Warriors have gone through the challenges of most new programs in their first two years, going 2-9 in 2011 and 3-15 in ’12.
“Last season, our guys played down to the talent [that we played against],” Cheney said. “We played teams that probably shouldn’t have been as competitive as they were. We played down to those teams and we haven’t this year. It’s a great thing to see, when you’re used to playing down to the other team’s level.”
The Warriors are led by a group of seniors who have led the way on the field since the program’s inception two years ago and Cheney is encouraged by the progress they have made.
“We’ve got a good core of seniors who, when we started the varsity program, were sophomores and were playing,” he said. “At least three of the seniors have been starting since they were sophomores and it shows in their play style — that’s where we’re really showing it.”
Midfielder Will Wilson, long stick midfielder Rob Willfolk and defenders Turner McCreight, Chart Riggall and Cooper Gluck — who is out of the lineup for the next four weeks with an ankle injury — are the senior leaders for North Atlanta.
The Warriors have also gotten a boost from freshman midfielder Nick Rodman.
For Cheney, all the pieces are falling into place for North Atlanta to make a serious run at the team’s first state playoff berth.
“That is our main goal,” he said. “Our seniors and upperclassmen have made it well known and I have made it well known to the whole team that I see no reason why we shouldn’t place in the top four in our area, which is what we need to do to make it to state. If we play to the best of our ability, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be playing in the playoffs.”