Big junior class helps stabilize Kennedy boys lacrosse

Jason Olson
Sports Editor

With five captains, leadership roles are important for Eagles

Two years ago Bloomington Kennedy boys lacrosse had a senior class of 21 players. That’s more than what is allowed on the field at one time and close to the limit on the number of players on the varsity roster.

With such a large class, last spring saw the Eagles finish with four wins and the season cut short by losing the play-in game to Minneapolis.

Kennedy junior Zachary Workman shields the ball during a scrimmage against Rosemount April 13. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)
Kennedy junior Zachary Workman shields the ball during a scrimmage against Rosemount April 13. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)

This spring, head coach Andy Lee begins his fourth season on the Eagles sideline with a group that has experience on its side starting with five captains.

Those captains include seniors Adam Vodovinik and Christian “Kush” Johnson and juniors David Beacom, Nick McCcullen, and Ethan Skophammer.

“They’re really one core unit which is nice,” Lee said as the team started gathering for preseason workouts in February to prepare for the season. “It’s a family this year. We’ve got a nice balance of ages and everyone pushes each other in the right ways.”

Beacom plans to continue playing at Division I Detroit Mercy and Vodvinik at Division II Wingate University in North Carolina.

Teams were announced the previous Thursday, before the start of spring break.

Kennedy's Joey Tran, left, gets ahead of the crowd to scoop up the ball. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)
Kennedy’s Joey Tran, left, gets ahead of the crowd to scoop up the ball. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)

This year’s senior class has been together for three seasons, for the most part, with a goalie, midfielder and defenseman part of the varsity program since their eighth grade season.

“So their a really good core, really good buddies and feed off each other,” Lee said. Senior goaltender Ethan Skophammer made a couple strong saves to help get into the regular season mentality. “It takes one-two things to get that blood flowing, the second or third (quarter) Ethan made a couple saves and then we came up firing.”

“I feel really good,” Lee said after the Eagles squared off against Rosemount in a preseason scrimmage on the Kennedy turf. “They’ve always been that lynch pin for us at sections so to scrimmage them was something was looked at and started off slow but we put it together with a strong defense and more balanced offense and was really happy with the way we played. Nice to see those younger guys step up too.”

Kennedy's Erik Avilies, right, defends against a Rosemount player during their scrimmage. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)
Kennedy’s Erik Avilies, right, defends against a Rosemount player during their scrimmage. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)

With that big senior class two seasons ago, Lee and assistant coach Ben Kruger said the first double-digit win season in program history, “was a sight of what we could be. Then looking at that, spurred a lot of these guys for this year.”

Beacom said that big junior class will help fill the voids among the seniors.

Kennedy captain David Beacom looks to make a move on the Rosemount goal. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)
Kennedy captain David Beacom looks to make a move on the Rosemount goal. (Sun Current photo by Jason Olson)

“This first week we’ve bonded pretty well and practices have been pretty good. We just have to keep the pace up to make each other better,” Beacom said looking ahead. “We keep each other accountable, even in other sports.”

Look for the Eagles to be more patient on offense to take advantage of the opportunity once the play develops. Counter that with a bigger defense that makes it tough for the offense to move them out of the way to gain position.

In the scrimmage, Beacom said they have the man-up, man-down situations coming together well, aside from some errant passes. “It’s just keying in on those skip passes to get some shots that will be key,” he said.

Kennedy begins the season with a four-game road trip that began April 20 at Chaska at 7 p.m. and continues April 22 against Minneapolis at Washburn High School at 1 p.m., April 25 at Orono and April 27 at Chanhassen with both games starting at 7 p.m.

Contact Jason Olson at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @SunSportsJason