By Brian Deakyne
LINCROFT — There isn’t a team that is enjoying the pre-season more than Christian Brothers Academy.
After losing the top five long-pole defensemen from a year ago, the Colts lacrosse team is looking for their younger players to gain valuable experience on the defensive side of the ball throughout March.
“We’re trying to mature quickly on the defensive side,” CBA head coach Dave Santos said. “We lost our top 5 guys in the rotation last year, so we have a bunch of guys without any experience. You can’t have inexperience on defense, so we’re hoping the boys will work hard together.”
Last season, CBA finished 12-4, advancing to the second round of the non-public A tournament before falling to Don Bosco Prep 16-7. They beat St. Joseph 12-3 in the opening round of the tournament.
The Colts’ season was defined by an eight game win-streak, ranging from April 20 to May 13, with CBA holding their opponents to one goal in the final four games of that streak.
Now, the team is just going to focus on coming together.
“We just need to continue to gel and work together. This kind of thing usually takes a while to get the cohesion,” Santos said. “If we work hard and work with each other, even with the inexperience that we have right now, I think we’ll be fine.”
Senior attack Donny Finn will lead the Colts in 2012, his fourth year on the varsity level, and mid-fielders Alex Roth and Stephen Deiner will also play prominent roles as captains.
“We’re looking at them to be leaders, and hopefully they can make up for the inexperience that we’re going to have on the other side of the field,” Santos said.
CBA’s 2012 schedule features match-ups against Rumson-Fair Haven — one of their few blemishes from last year — and a battle with New York’s St. Joseph Collegiate on April 5.
“We’re just going to focus on the next game at hand. Always the next game,” Santos said.
The Colts fell to Shore Conference foe Jackson Memorial in the semi-finals of the Shore Conference Tournament, the first time they had ever lost to the Jaguars in lacrosse.
Since 2004, CBA has never finished the season less than seven games over .500, including at least 15-win seasons in 2005, 2008, and 2009.
“We’ve had more kids with experience in the programs. We’re having fewer and fewer kids at the freshman level that have never played lacrosse before. In the early 2000′s, we would never have freshman kids with lacrosse experience, but now we have kids getting to the varsity level with 5,6,7,8 years of experience. It makes all the difference,” Santos said.
CBA will open the season on March 31, when they will host Moorestown.