WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange High School boys lacrosse team is off and running with a new head coach and the determination to return to the Klank Division following a disappointing 2018 season.
Kevin Yeager has taken over as head coach, replacing Pete Tourian, who now is the assistant coach with the program. Former WOHS head football coach Jim Matsakis is coaching JV.
“This season, our theme is ‘Buy In,’ ” said Yeager, “and we are developing a positive culture and a sense of family. When you’re down, the rest of us will bring you up and have each other’s backs.”
Tourian has sung Yeager’s praises.
“Kevin is a stand-up guy whose heart is in it all the way,” Tourian said. “He is young, hungry, and relates very well to our student-athletes.”
Yeager is promoting a more structured practice and playing environment to strengthen the team’s infrastructure. Currently there are six seniors – four in the starting lineup – followed by several juniors and sophomores.
West Orange had a recent 3-2 record, with wins against Passaic Tech, Cedar Grove, and Saddle Brook.
Yeager and the team cited the triple overtime 9-8 win over Cedar Grove April 1 as a turning point in this season. Last year, Cedar Grove dealt a 10-3 blow to West Orange in a division game.
“Our team set the tone for the first three quarters of the match against Cedar Grove,” said Yeager, “and we had a lot to prove.”
Senior captain/attackman Zeke Giorlando and junior captain/middie Cade Lipsey were enthusiastic about the win over Cedar Grove, calling it a “pivotal moment for the team.”
“It gave us momentum,” noted Lipsey.
“The team is still pretty young. We have a lot of sophomores,” added Giorlando.
Giorlando and Lipsey went through the West Orange Rec Lacrosse program, along with most of the team, and hope to see that feeder program continue to grow and develop.
Giorlando and Lipsey cited senior middie Brian DiPalma and sophomore defenseman Chris Parsons as players who perform with a lot of creativity.
Agreeing with Yeager, the captains said their primary goal this season was to move from the Kirst Division back into the Klank Division for next season.
“We can definitely do it,” said Lipsey.
Added Tourian: “We want to leverage our success into greater confidence and performance on the part of our players. They’ve been doing a great job, and we want to help them continue to grow.”