The Tigers are working on teamwork, making an impact, and regrouping this season.
Tunkhannock Area boys lacrosse coach, and program alum, Eric Janiszewski feels his team knows they have a lot of holes to fill.
“But if we can stay focused, we should be slowly turning the team back around,” he explained. “We just want to keep improving and gaining confidence.”
“I lost five seniors and three others,” said the coach who is in his seventh year at the head of the program. “Jaxson Montross and Brett Sickler for football and Matt Prebola for javelin.”
Montross and Sickler have committed to play football in college, and Prebola is a nationally ranked javelin thrower. All three have chosen to forego the spring lacrosse season.
Janiszewski had two players go on to play at Keystone College- Izaiah Simon and Ryan Kugler- and everyone of those players were in every game when healthy.
According to the coach, the Tigers won three games last season and struggled for sections of the year. Janiszewski said, “We were overall inexperienced and didn’t succeed against opponents of our own skill level. But hopefully we can fix that this year.”
To do that, he is working with the team on their attitude and approach to the season.
“We are trying to make everyone focused on winning as a team and not just their own accomplishments,” Janiszewski said. “It is a team first attitude. As for lacrosse, we have done a ton of conditioning, basic skills, and slowly working on all the elements of our game plan.”
Janiszewski will look to sophomore Mike Sickler for leadership, as he finished with an all star honorable mention last season in a tough Wyoming Valley Conference.
For his part, Sickler said, “I have never been much of a vocal leader, so I try to show leadership through the way I play. I also try to help anyone who is willing to ask.”
Sickler continued, “I play my best every game and try to win as a team. I am playing for our team and trying to win, not for individual titles. I feel coaches look at players who work and do the little things right so that’s what I strive for.”
The coach, who played defense at Tunkhannock when lacrosse was still a club team before playing at Misericordia, believes the team does have a couple new guys that should make an impact, including some freshmen and a player that used to play youth lacrosse that has come back as a junior.
Janiszewski returns 10 players with experience at the varsity level out of
the almost 30 on the full roster.
“We returned almost every defender and midfielder that played last season,” said Janiszewski. “But we also have an inexperienced goalie, as well as guys on attack and faceoff that need to prove they can succeed.”
Sickler, who has been playing for six years, was a goalie up until eighth grade. Last year, as a freshman, was his first year playing defense.
He added, “I feel that everyone on the team gets along and wants to work as a team, not individuals. During practices, everyone is helping each other by working hard and trying to get better. Unfortunately, we had to make cuts this year but everyone who tried out is still welcome to practice and learn.”
Tunkhannock Area added four competitive non-conference games to its schedule this season and will play every conference opponent one time.
“So we should have around 8-10 really competitive games,” Janiszewski said. “Which is way more important to me than blowouts one direction or the other.”
The Tigers will play their last game, against Holy Redeemer, at King’s College.
Janiszewski has stressed to the team that with the majority of the team always competing in other sports, he just wants them to stay active and use their stick when they get the opportunity. He acknowledged that players are on a travel team or play indoor lacrosse.
The team is looking to make it to district playoff competition within the new regular season schedule system.
“If I’m being honest, Crestwood has something awful and will be representing our district at states,” said the coach. “They are a special team that have the skills to compete with teams in Philly and Harrisburg, which, in our area, is amazing.”
“I just hope we grow and realize that we need to put in full effort and focus to win,” he said. “They have got to want to do it, I can only push them so far. Next year we can return nearly everyone and perform at an even higher level.”
Roster: Seniors Joseph Casey, Jake Hawley, Bobby Miroslaw, David Evans and Shawn Glaush. Juniors Macauley Kenia, Riley Jones, Aiden Brown, Brian Hannah, and Ryan Simmons. Sophomores Brady Lukasavage, Jacob Maas, Nicho LaChase, Mike Sickler, Jayden Kozlowski, Cameron Blaisure, Logan Barbini, Nick Marabell, and Noah Westfield. Freshmen Ashton Blight, Eric Falzone, Chris Trochak, Collin Madan, Gavin Montross, Josh Falzone, Connor Chesner, Shawn Sinclair, and Logan Herbener. Student assistants are Logan Krause, John Scholz, and Alex Pierce.
Schedule: Mar. 30 at
Dallas, 4:15 p.m.; Apr. 1 vs. Wilkes-Barre Area, 4:30
p.m.; Apr. 6 at Wyoming Seminary, 4:15 p.m.; Apr. 8 vs. Abington Heights, 4:30 p.m.; Apr. 13 vs. North Pocono, 4:30 p.m.; Apr. 17 at Crestwood, 5:30 p.m.; Apr. 20 vs. Delaware Valley, 4:30 p.m.; Apr. 24 at Lakeland, 4:15 p.m.; Apr. 29 at Wyoming Seminary, 4:15 p.m.; May 1 at Scranton Prep, 4:15 p.m.; May 6 vs. Lake-Lehman, 4:30 p.m.