The goals the Hickman boys’ lacrosse team shoots at may be small, but the goals the players shoot for are most definitely not.
According to coach Jamie Mullen, the Kewpies have their sights set on three reachable goals this season.
“Realistically, our goals are to make it to the playoffs and beat Rock Bridge and win our district,” Mullen said.
Mullen said winning the district will be hard, as the Kewpies will have to overcome an “exceptional” Rockhurst team that opened up its season with a 23-0 victory over Shawnee Mission South on March 9.
Hickman has been close to accomplishing the first, falling just a few points short of the postseason the past two years. The Kewpies are a part of the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association (MSLA) and play under a points system that determines who makes the playoffs.
Teams earn one point for a win against a team that did not make the playoffs last season, three points for a win against a team that made the playoffs last season and three points for a win against a conference opponent, regardless of their playoff status last season. Teams do not lose any points for a loss against a playoff team from last season, but do lose one point for a loss against a team that did not make the playoffs last season.
In order to accomplish these goals, Hickman will have to rely on a number of younger players. According to Mullen, 12 sophomores will dress for the varsity squad, with four of them starting.
“We have no juniors playing varsity this year,” Mullen said. “Our team is a mix of senior leadership and young talent.”
One of the sophomores that figures to factor heavily in the Kewpies’ chances of accomplishing their goals is somebody whose job it is to prevent goals. Dan Hurst said he is looking to follow in the footsteps of other Hickman goaltenders.
“I’m a little nervous,” Hurst said. “There have been a lot of good goalies here over the years.”
Despite his age, Hurst has already experienced a game between the pipes at the varsity level.
“Last year Dan played in a big game against Pembrooke at the end of the year,” Mullen said. “We lost by one and it knocked us out of the playoffs, but Dan came in and really stepped up and played well.”
To help prepare for his duties this year, Hurst attended Bill Pilat’s The Goalie School, one of the top goalie camps in the country according to Mullen, at Roanoke College in Virginia over the summer.
Hurst said he knows how important it is for him to help direct to Kewpies’ defense.
Dan Hurst said that, while he is nervous about manning the net for Hickman, he does not expect such uneasy feelings to persist.
“Before every game I’m a little nervous,” Hurst said, “but I’ll get out there and get in my zone. I have been able to get more comfortable in practice these past few weeks.”
The Kewpies opened their season Sunday with an 8-7 loss at Webster Groves. Mullen said a muddy field and the back-and-forth nature of the game made it one of the best the team has played in. However, it also exposed some other things the Kewpies need to work on.
“We need to get sharper with our passes, and the defense needs to apply more pressure,” Mullen said.
The Kewpies will look to rebound from the loss when they open their season at home this weekend. On Saturday the Kewpies face Clayton at 11 a.m. and Parkway Central at 2 p.m. They also host Kirkwood on Sunday at 10 a.m. All games will take place at Cosmopolitan Park.