Zach Bicho and his teammates on the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team had plenty of motivation as they hosted Princeton Day School last week.
“We lost to them last year in overtime and we have been looking forward to this game since the beginning of the season,” said Hun senior midfielder Bicho. “We knew it was a big one, we knew they were a good opponent.”
The annual meeting between the cross-town rivals turned into a very good game, as the teams were never separated by more than two goals throughout the April 16 contest.
With the game knotted at 4-4 late in the fourth quarter, Bicho fired in the go-ahead goal for the Raiders who held on for a 6-5 victory.
“That was our man-up play and I wanted the ball and defense was slow to ride and I got my hands free and, as coach [MV Whitlow] would say, I stuck to the fundamentals and just stuck it,” said Bicho, reflecting on his clutch tally. “That was the important one, the important one went in.”
Bicho played a vitally important role for Hun throughout the game as he dominated in the face-off circle, winning virtually every draw on the afternoon.
For Bicho, who started facing-off in middle school, becoming so accomplished in that aspect of the game has come down to hard work and savvy.
“It is just a lot of repetition, knowing the different guys that go out there, quick hands, just getting that ground ball,” said Bicho, who is headed to McDaniel College where he will continue his lacrosse career.
In Bicho’s view, Hun’s defensive effort made the difference in the win over PDS.
“Our offense was a little slow today; we weren’t getting what we really wanted,” said Bicho, who also picked up an assist in the contest.
“But they won us that game. Our captain Greg Flood got the game ball today because of his leadership.”
The Raiders have also benefited from the leadership of new head coach Whitlow.
“Coach Whitlow has changed the team around tremendously,” said Bicho. “He wants things perfect, he sticks to the fundamentals and he knows how to win.”
Whitlow, for his part, credited Bicho with playing a major role in the victory over the Panthers.
“What Zach gives us is consistency on the face-off; it is about strength and desire,” said Whitlow. “When the game was on the line, he wanted the shot and he made it.”
In Whitlow’s view, a strong defensive effort proved critical for the Raiders.
“No. 29 [PDS senior star and Lehigh-bound Cody Triolo] is a really good player and we tried some different things on him to try to slow him down,” said Whitlow. “We performed well on defense; this was a defensive win.”
Hun got some good offensive performances as well with Corey Reynolds and Brendan Black each scoring two goals and Zach Winterstein adding a goal and an assist.
“Brendan Black had a big game, he may only be a sophomore but he is a leader out there for us,” added Whitlow. “Zach Winterstein is playing well; he has been working very hard on his offense.”
Winning six straight games after an opening day loss, the Raiders have shown the benefit of hard work.
“We have been executing well,” said Whitlow, whose team lost 10-4 to Rutgers Prep on Monday to drop to 6-2 and will look to get back on the winning track as it hosts Peddie on April 25, Notre Dame on April 27, and Somerville on April 30.
“We were already confident but this was a very good win. We are very excited to come away with this game.”
Bicho, for his part, is excited about Hun’s prospects this spring. “This is the best team I have been on in my four years here,” asserted Bicho. “We have great guys; we have really been coming together and executing.”