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J-D lacrosse has new lineup, same expectations

Evans gone, nine new starters in place for Red Rams

— The midfield is yet another uncertain aspect of the J-D team. Junior captain Ryan Durkin figures to be a sure bet for some solid playing time, as does sophomore Grayson Burns.

“I think our midfielders need to be grinders [and] need to be ground ball guys,” Archer said. “They’ve got to play with that grind mentality. If they do, then we’ll do good things.” He also named juniors Matt Murad and Ben Wipper as players who may see significant time.

By contrast, the attack unit is chock-full of talent and experience, led by two of this year’s senior captains in Griffin Johnson and Ryan McKee, as well as last year’s top goal scorer Griffin Feiner. They will each have to carry a heavier scoring load to replace Evans, who had 180 points a season ago.

“The three attackmen will all take an extra burden onto their shoulders, but scoring wise, I think we’ll be fine,” Archer said. “They’re all very capable scorers.

Archer is also confident in the leadership capabilities of Brady, Johnson, McKee and junior captain Ryan Durkin. The foursome will do their best to replace the 14 seniors that graduated and went on to play college lacrosse.

“Last year, we had so many seniors, and they pretty much all led. They were all good leaders and they all led by example,” Archer said. “[This year’s captains] are leading by example and stepping up when they need to rally the guys. They’re doing a great job.”

Notably absent from the Red Rams’ schedule are high profile match-ups it’s had in recent years against teams like Niskayuna and Duxberry (Mass.), which were lost due to Chittenango’s addition to the league. The Red Rams still will face traditional local talents West Genesee and Fairport.

“I don’t want to ever give up the West Genny and Fairport games because those guys are always powerhouses and they’re always a good gauge for where we’re at,” Archer said.

With J-D losing such a strong class of seniors, Archer expects tough competition from some of the opponents the Red Rams have squashed over the past few years. “I think people think that they can now have a chance to beat us,” he said. “I don’t think before they really did. It’ll be up to us to squash that a bit.”

J-D gets its first chance to prove itself in the regular season on March 28 in an away bout with Chittenango.

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