The 2020 high school boys lacrosse season would have started this weekend if not for the coronavirus leading to schools shutting down for at least two weeks, resulting in the suspension of spring sports during that time period.
And we still don’t know if the season will be able to get going after that hiatus. Regardless, let’s conceive a possibility where the season is able to go forward. With that in mind, here are five things to watch for in the 2020 L-L boys lacrosse campaign.
Editor's note: The team-by-team preview capsules will be published on the LancasterOnline lacrosse page Friday morning
1. Section One: Defending L-L Section One champ Manheim Township, who last year reached the L-L and District 3-3A tournament title games, has one to two new starters at all three levels (offense, midfield, defense). Defending league tournament champion Hempfield is pretty much in the same boat. With that in mind, keep an eye on a Warwick team that returns three of its top-four scorers and its entire defense from last year’s District 3-3A playoff squad.
2. Section Two: With eight returning starters, defending L-L Section Two champ Ephrata has the most experienced roster in the league. The Mountaineers could get a challenge from Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic and Lampeter-Strasburg, both of whom bring back about half their starters from last year’s playoff teams.
3. Top returning players: Twenty players who earned first- or second-team or honorable mention nods last season return this spring. Two of those are goalkeepers: Warwick’s Alex Epple (144 saves) and E-town’s Duncan Keller (299 saves). Also, nine of last year’s top-20 points leaders are back: Lancaster Country Day’s JP Jones (61 goals, 18 assists), Ephrata’s Caden Keefer (49 goals, 23 assists), Kyle Raudenbush (48 goals, five assists) and Brock Boyer (33 goals, 16 assists), Penn Manor’s Clayton Hollinger (39 goals, 18 assists), Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic’s Wes Gilbert (35 goals, 24 assists) and Mason Scott (22 goals, 34 assists), Lampeter-Strasburg’s Connor Nolt (33 goals, 17 assists) and Warwick’s Justin Gerhart (24 goals, 17 assists).
4. New coaches: There’s four of ‘em: Cedar Crest’s John Wuori, Cocalico’s Matt Oberly, Conestoga Valley’s Jay Ridinger and Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic’s Bill Neal. Oberly, a Cocalico alum who previously built the Eagles into a winner as coach from 2013 through 2017, returns to the sidelines after a two-year hiatus. Ridinger, now a teacher at CV high school, is a Manheim Township alum who spent the previous three seasons as an assistant on the Blue Streaks’ staff, including the 2017 state title team. Neal spent the last three seasons as a high school lacrosse coach in Florida.
5. Coaching milestones: Fifth-year Manheim Township coach Dan Lyons, the longest-tenured of the L-L boys lacrosse coaches, is 13 wins shy of career victory No. 100.