The Smyrna High School boys lacrosse team is headed to the state tournament for the first time in their two years as a varsity program.
With the No. 13 seed in the DIAA State Tournament, Smyrna (10-5) will face off in the first round against No. 4 Tower Hill (12-3) at Tower Hill Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. The winner of the game will move on to the quarterfinals Saturday, May 18 and face the winner of the No. 12 Appoquinimink vs. No. 5 St. Mark's game.
The state tournament pairings were announced Saturday and came after the Eagles went 1-1 in their final week of the season. Smyrna had the lead Wednesday but gave it up in their 10-9 loss to Dover. But the Eagles found a way to bounce back Friday for an 8-2 win over Milford.
Prior to the Milford game, Judy said "Team 2" is special and they truly care for each other like brothers. The player's realizations that this team's time together is coming to an end just makes their drive greater, Judy said in reference to a possible state tournament bid.
"It's in their eyes, they don't want to leave the field or locker room after practice," Judy said. "They are enjoying every second together and a playoff berth would be the perfect way to extend the season."
The Eagles knew coming into the season they could improve on their 7-8 mark from last year and Judy said the players dedicated themselves in the offseason by participating in camps and tournaments. Their primary goal was to have fun and the wins would take care of themselves; the team's dedication enabled them to exceed expectations and put them in the state tournament this year.
"Our success stems from the closeness of our team – the chemistry that cannot be run, drilled, or projected onto the guys," Judy said. "We have brothers, cousins, best friends playing not only with each other but for each other. Our team motto has been and always will be 'Together' and this team epitomizes that mantra."
To prepare the players for the Tower Hill game, Judy said the team would attack Monday's practice with the same formula that has gotten them here, which is by putting the "fun" in fundamentals. The focus of the practice would be on stick work, shooting, positioning, transition, and clearing the ball. Judy said then the team would cover everything they need to know about Tower Hill's personnel and install any wrinkles the Eagles need to beat them.
"To beat a great team like Tower Hill, we must do three things: play smart with the ball, take chances defensively, and have fun," Judy said. "We have shown that when we do all three, we can play with anyone in the state."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.