For a program that’s been in existence for just three years, Thomas Dale boys’ lacrosse has given the student body something to cheer about.
The best part is, it’s based around what coach Paul Amos called a group of good kids who are leaders.
The Knights have an 8-3 record as of a press time, with losses coming to programs that are around 20 years older than theirs, James River and Midlothian.
However, Thomas Dale is gunning for the Rapids in a Conference 3 and 6A South race that will very likely call for Thomas Dale to beat James River if they are to improve on last year’s regionals appearance and qualify for states. Armed with 12 seniors and leadership that Amos couldn’t stop talking about, it appears there are many components in place for success.
“That’s [leadership] is the moral to the story for this year,” said Amos. “They way they’ve come together and the culture they’ve created for the younger guys is outstanding, it’s been very seamless.”
A big part of that leadership comes from a core of five seniors, three of whom are committed to play at the next level. Josh Anderson (Bridgewater), Palmer Jones (Hampden-Sydney) and Lee Tookes (Randolph College) are already admitted and committed. Attacker turned midfielder Trent Akins and a two-time All-Conference 3 honoree Tanner Davis, lead the way for the Knights.
Thomas Dale appeared in the regional tournament last season, falling to Colonial Forge, but the team has much larger aspirations. They’ll look to capitalize on a strength in their face-off game and continue to improve a defense that’s gained experience as the season has worn on.
“The face-off game is something we’ve been good at,” explained Amos. “But we want to keep improving that. Lacrosse can become a game of ’make it, take it.’”
Thomas Dale was so good at face-off that they once rattled off five consecutive goals against Manchester without the Lancers touching the ball.
The other key to have a shot at James River is an improved defense. Under the tutelage and leadership of Davis, newcomers and less experienced underclassmen have been able to blossom. Players such as rising football talents Dusan Stjepanovic and Snug Wilson. the younger brother of former football, wrestling, and lacrosse standout “Main” Wilson. Amos said that it will be key for the defense to continue their strides.
Thomas Dale will likely either be the No. 2 or No.3 seed in the upcoming Conference 3 tournament slated to start Monday, May 15.