MEDFORD-- On paper, the Lenape boys lacrosse team is full of youth.
But, on Opening Day of the spring season, the Indians looked like an experienced bunch as they put away Clearview in the second half of their 8-2 victory.
Senior Will Mercado led the Indians with four goals, while the defense led by sophomore defender Brady Long and senior goalie Rob Pensabene held the Pioneers without a goal in three periods.
Sophomores Luke Cole, Sean Kennedy and junior Hunter Lippincott contributed the other four goals.
“One of the biggest concerns for our team this year was us being a young team, but that concern never really crossed my mind,” Mercado said.
Mercado is one of only seven seniors on the Lenape roster, and the group is using the experienced gained from past senior classes to work its way back to a sectional title in 2019.
“The past few years we did have a lot of seniors, a lot of older talent and everybody was more worried about the younger kids coming in,” Mercado said. “But the guys on the team were never worried about that. We’re playing for the legacy of those guys and they really left a good impression on us and I think we’re going to carry that through. We have a bunch of young guys with an older mentality.”
“They helped me mentor because I got some varsity time last year,” Long said. “They mentored me and now I’m just giving the knowledge off to my defense and I think we played very good today. I’m happy we only let up two goals today.”
Mercado and the rest of the attackers took responsibility for a two-goal first half and put the Indians back in control for the entire second half.
“We put that one on the offense because the defense giving up two goals in a half is playing well,” Mercado said. “The offense has to step up after scoring two goals in a half.”
Having four players put their names in the scoring column on Wednesday is just the first flexing of depth the Indians hope to show.
“This is the one year where all six players on the offensive side of the ball have such equal talent and we want to use everybody to the best of their abilities,” Mercado said. “We’re worried about team play right now.”
Long and the other defenders may be young, but with Pensabene in charge in net, they’re learning with every second on the field.
“I love Rob,” Long said. “He makes all the saves for me. I got burnt the first time, but he saved it for me. He came back and gave me advice. He’s a leader for the team and I really love him in net.”
Even though the faces may be different on the field for Lenape, the goals remain the same from a year ago.
“State championship,” Long said, “We want to get back to it. I think we have more key components this year and I think we’re going to thrive off of it”