McLax faces off against Liberty District

Boys team above .500 midway through the season


Photo provided by Kent Arnold

La-Crossing The Field – Senior attacker Alec Butler (#29) cradles the ball past a Chantilly defender on Apr. 29. Butler and the rest of McLean’s offense scored 7 goals in this regional matchup.

Nicky Varela and Jack Shields

Thanks to impressive roster teeming with veteran talent, the boys lacrosse team has commanded themselves to a 4-3 start. Expectations were high after missing out on last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It feels really good having a season again, especially for me since I’ve had so many injuries. Some other schools didn’t get to have one, so I’m very thankful to get to have one. It’s a blessing.”

Ecstatic just to have the opportunity to play this season, the team used their excitement to fuel their motivation to compete.

“Coming into the season, we wanted to come out with a bang. We expected to win the district and make the playoffs,” senior midfielder Philippe Kabasele said. “So far, we’ve lived up to what we were talking about.”

More motivated than ever, the team’s confidence has been high from the jump. Still, players have found ways to stay grounded and keep working without being overconfident.

“Going into the Marshall game, we knew that they weren’t a very good program, but we didn’t want to be too cocky. We couldn’t go down to their level. We made them play on our level to try and compete with us.”

The Highlanders beat Marshall by a dominant 18-4 score on that night. The boys also picked up big wins over Mount Vernon, Herndon and South Lakes, winning 21-1, 18-4 and 11-4 respectively. Despite the success, the boys have had their struggles this season; particularly against rival Langley.

“We were too focused on playing Langley than we were on the actual game,” Kabasele said. “We started slow because we were too busy goofing around. They were much more focused and prepared than we were.”

The home game against the Saxons ultimately ended in a 14-2 defeat; the Highlanders worst loss of the season. Of course the frustration of losing to their fiercest rivals still lingers, but the game also provided an opportunity for the team to learn and improve.

“One of our biggest weaknesses is our communication during the games,” Kabasele said. “We plan on talking more in practice and being more clear during the games. There’s not too much magic to it.”

With just two games left in the regular season, the Highlanders are tuning up for the playoffs and a potential rematch against Langley.

“If we meet them in the playoffs, we just need to be more focused and have a better understanding of their assignments. We know what we’re going to be dealing with next time,” Kabasele said.

The boys expect nothing less than a deep postseason run. Led by a large group of seniors, the team is striving to be better than ever come June.

“We know what’s possible this season and by communicating, we are holding each other accountable during practice and games,” senior goalie Mason Munoz said.