Many positives for LAX team

| 16 Jun 2017 | 12:50

There are many positives that Gary Stoll, the head coach for the West Milford High School boys lacrosse program, can take away from the season which recently came to a conclusion.
For example, the Highlanders played through a difficult schedule and finished with a winning overall record (10-9) and they advanced to the NJSIAA North Group 2 Sectional Tournament.
But perhaps the most positive attribute that Stoll will remember from this spring are the many contributions of the seniors on the roster.
“Our entire senior class, which was 14 strong, our three captains Kyle Little, Drew Kagdis and AJ Bolger, did an amazing job of leading the team,” Stoll said.
“This group of seniors has certainly left their mark on the program. They brought us to three consecutive county semifinals and made the state playoffs all four years they were here,” Stoll said. “Kyle Little made over 800 career saves and Drew Kagdis tallied 100 career goals, both extremely impressive stats. Five of our current seniors will go on to play at the next level next year which is something we as a program are extremely proud of.”
Several student-athletes showed steady improvement this year for the Highlanders.
“I wouldn't say surprised (by their progression) because we always knew they could do it, but some seniors waited four years to get their chance to start and they certainly did not disappoint,” Stoll said. “Tyler Groth, Vincent Boratto, Rob Gorny and Matt Czulada made a huge impact on our defense, while Richie Norris, Jarod Acanfrio, Anthony Hanratty and sophomore Ray Gorny really contributed on the offensive side of the ball.”
Stoll recalled a highlight moment that will be cherished for his team.
“The most impressive game of the season for us was our state game against Jefferson. We were down 8-3 to start the fourth and 8-4 with two minutes left,” Stoll said. “Any other team would have quit, but not this group. They battled back to make the score 8-7 with 10 seconds left. We won the face-off and got a great shot on goal that the goalie happened to make an excellent save on. One of the proudest moments as a coach was watching them fight back to give themselves a chance.”
West Milford lost to Jefferson, 8-7, in the opening round of the North Group 2 Sectional Tournament and they’re looking forward to 2018. The Highlanders were seeded 12 in the bracket and Jefferson was the No. 5 seed.
“Losing 14 seniors who all contributed will be extremely difficult but we have a couple key pieces back in place, defenseman Anthony Derin, middies Ryan Pych and Ray Gorny all return to the varsity lineup as well as getting back Joey Cummings off of a season-ending injury,” Stoll said. “We also saw a lot of positives and improvement out of young guys at the JV level.”