After an injury-riddled season that resulted in several losses for the Saint Paul’s Lacrosse team last year, the Wolves look to retake their claim as state champions, a claim that solidified them as one of the premier programs in Louisiana.
Over the past two years, teams like Saint Thomas More, Jesuit, and Catholic High have jumped the Lacrosse Wolves, but the Wolves could not be hungrier. This offseason, the team started off strongly, appointing new head coach Aaron Falkenstein to take over the team, as well as hiring coach Austin Danielson, a Mandeville High School graduate, as an offensive assistant.
The Wolves are an older team this year, returning 15 seniors. They also return eight starters from last year’s team. Seniors Braden Couvillion, Shaffer Peters, Will Kitchen, Ben Vining, Luke Wahden, Peter Verges, and sophomore Matthew Kleinshmidt look to continue solid campaigns from last year as a tight defense that gives up few settled points.
Saint Paul’s senior and team captain Ben Vining said the team has a new defensive focus this season: “Last year, we were not physical enough, but this year that will be our main focus as we want to lay some wood. We also want to eliminate all ‘ball watching’ and would rather keep our heads on swivels at all times. These two things will help us handle pressure in critical moments.”
Offensively, last year, the Wolves did not produce goals in big games. They put their defense in tough situations without putting points up; however, they return four starters along with two captains and a former Player of the Week in Trevor Flood. Flood went down last year with a concussion after a big blow to the head against Catholic High School, ultimately shifting the game in favor of the Bears.
Leading all middies in goals last year were sophomore Deke Carpenter and senior Christian Cowley (captain), both of whom have moved to attack this year due to their elite speed and versatile stick skills.
Many see this year as pivotal rebound season for the program. “This is a big year for the Saint Paul’s Lacrosse program. They want to get back on track in big way as well as build for the future with new head coach Aaron Falkenstein, and this group of seniors might be the group to do so,” said Saint Paul’s senior Sam Gold.