It’s been a struggle in recent years for the Sussex Central Golden Knights lacrosse program.
Playing within the competitive Henlopen Conference and needing to overcome some unique obstacles have hurt the Golden Knights when it comes to wins and losses. However, with a positive approach and a slowly but surely growing team in terms of experience, Central hopes their days playing from the basement of the conference will soon be behind them.
While many teams take the preseason as a time to reacclimate themselves with their systems, things are little different for Sussex Central.
“The most difficult aspect of preparing for a new season is teaching all of my new players how to play lacrosse,” said Sussex Central head coach Joseph Macaluso. “Here, we do not have a community lacrosse youth program. So, many of the players who decide to play in high school have never played before.”
Central plays in a conference which included five of the 16 seeds in last year’s DIAA Boys Lacrosse State Tournament and the lack of places to learn the game for local youth puts the Golden Knights and a few other schools in the area at a great disadvantage.
However, despite an 0-11 finish to the 2017 season the level of talent on the Golden Knight’s roster is only improving each season as this year’s returning players proves.
Returning standout attackman Reese Pearson and midfielder Devin Pearsall have been with the team since their freshman years and long-stick midfielder Tucker Campagnone played with the team as an eighth grader. All three now makeup the foundation of the the team.
“Both Tucker and Devin are receiving some college interest, so we are expecting all-conference years from both of them,” Macaluso said. “Reese, who is planning to enroll in the Air Force, is the most technically sound lacrosse player on the team and we’ll ned his leadership and optimism in every game.”
Even though the program hasn’t won a regular season contest since 2016, their approach toward getting better starts by setting goals, similar to most teams.
However, while the Golden Knights have set goals for themselves, those goals and how they go about reaching them may be different than most programs.
At Sussex Central, they set goals to accomplish goals, according to Macaluso.
“Every year we need to start small and my team is aware of that,” Macaluso said. “If we set goals too large at the beginning, we focus too heavily on them rather than the process it takes to achieve them.”
The Golden Knight’s first goal this season is to prepare as much as possible for their first game.
“We need to knock off the winter rust, retrieve the skills we left on the field last year and we need to improve upon them,” Macaluso said. “If we don’t reach that goal to the best of our ability, wins won’t occur.”