Through the first few weeks of the boys lacrosse season, only one Chatham County team still has an undefeated record.
That accomplishment belongs to Northwood, which was 4-0 entering its game against Seaforth on Tuesday night (late score). Head coach Randy Cox’s team is coming off an 11-6 season in 2022 that saw the Chargers finish second in the Central 3A Conference with a 9-3 league record.
Through their first four games, the Chargers outscored their opponents by a total of 82-18. Northwood has won all but one of its games — a 13-10 win over Jordan on March 6 — by double-digit goals.
“I think the first few weeks have gone pretty well,” Cox said. “We just try to make sure we improve and get a little better every time we step on the field or go out to practice. I think the boys are working hard to do just that.”
Northwood lost in the first round of the state playoffs last season to conference opponent Williams, but this year’s Chargers look ready to build on last season’s postseason struggle. The Chargers got revenge on Williams on March 7 by way of a 16-2 victory, and they followed it up two days later with a dominant 18-4 victory over league opponent Cedar Ridge.
Northwood will try to play catchup this season to Orange High, which won last season’s conference regular season title. This year, the Panthers are off to a 4-1 start, including a 3-0 mark in conference play.
The Chargers will face Orange for the first time this season Monday, a matchup that could very well shift the balance of power inside the conference.
“The more success, the more pressure there is to continue to be successful,” Cox said. “Other people are gunning for you. We’ve tried to emphasize that and work hard in practice, or even if you’re not in practice. We try to emphasize being great at the basics.”
This year’s Northwood squad is led by a talented group of seniors, including Taylor Laberge and Will Smith, who combined to score seven goals in the team’s season-opening win over Carrboro on March 1. Cox also highlighted the team’s other captains, William Johnson and Taylor Zelhof.
As far as younger players, freshman James Flanagan has started all the Chargers’ games in goal, allowing fewer than five goals per game. Other players Cox expects to contribute this season are Van Reece, Jason Walden, Coltrane Northington, Grayson Cox and Carson Fortunes.
“Our seniors, they know how to play the game, so there are critical times in the game where they’re making the right decisions,” Cox said. “We collectively, are working toward making the right decisions ... I feel like the entire team is buying into the goals that we’ve set and that they set individually. Now they’re trying to achieve them.”
Following its Tuesday game against Seaforth (after press time), Northwood’s next game is Friday on the road against Chapel Hill. The Chargers are 1-15 overall against the Tigers since the start of the 2011 season.
Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.
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