Hurricanes Gathering Strength
A nervous 6-foot-5 attackman, Michael Belt, arrived at Huntingtown High the day after the boys’ lacrosse team held its first practice. A confident head coach, Rodger Ganley, had taken the job just 11 days prior.
“I knew we were going to take a few steps back before we took some forward,” Ganley said.
Huntingtown (5-3) took a large step forward yesterday, winning the four-team Casalino Cup at Calverton with a 12-6 victory over Jefferson in the final after a 12-7 win over Calverton in its opening game. It’s the first time the third-year school has won the seven-year-old tournament.
When Belt arrived at Huntingtown, he said he was nervous about how he would fit in. But he said it didn’t take long for his teammates warm up to him.
He scored 16 goals in the team’s first five games and added five in each game of yesterday’s tournament.
“It only took a week,” he said. “Once I started scoring, everybody was real nice.”
Belt transferred from Chesapeake, where he led the team with 45 goals last season. He causes massive matchup problems and several times shot overtop of the goalie yesterday.
“You can’t teach that size,” Ganley said. “When you’ve got a guy with that size and the ability, you play him right away.”
Even with the additional strain of wel- coming in a new star player, Huntingtown had to adapt to Ganley’s new schemes. Huntingtown went 9-5 last season after going 5-9 the year before, giving the players hope that they could improve on that this year. It did not look good early on — the Hurricanes lost their first three games.
“It was really devastating, being a month away from the season and not having a coach,” senior Dave Wiese said. “But Rodger stepped up and now we’re starting to get into things.”
The Hurricanes now have won five straight. They opened the final with six straight goals and kept the ball away from Jefferson (4-6) for all but two minutes of the first quarter. Belt scored three of their first seven goals, all unassisted, and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.