Camelback Mountain towers some 2,700 feet over the Phoenix area but it was no obstacle for the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team as the players climbed it twice on their recent preseason trip to Arizona.
Later this spring, the Raiders hope to reach another summit as they look to make a return trip to the state Prep A championship game.
“The expectations are higher,” said Hun second-year head coach MV Whitlow, who guided the Raiders to an 11-6 record and a trip to the Prep A title game where they fell to perennial champion Lawrenceville.
“With higher expectations comes higher scrutiny. We should be slightly improved. It is not what you do today, it is what you do in May.”
Whitlow likes how his team has been doing things, having developed a familiarity with his coaching approach.
“The second year is less of a transition, the boys are used to the systems we have in place,” noted Whitlow, whose team is scheduled to start the season by playing at Don Bosco on March 26 followed by a game at Chestnut Hill Academy (Pa.) on March 27 and a home contest against the IMG Academy (Fla.) on March 31. “There is less implementing. They are used to the expectations.”
Hun is expecting some big things on offense from the one-two punch of juniors Brendan Black and Matthew Favalaro.
“On attack we have junior captain Brendan Black, he’s a leader on the field and he is a Villanova commit,” said Whitlow. “Matthew Favalaro has good vision and good off-ball play.”
The Raider midfield features a good trio in sophomore Owen Black, senior Corey Reynolds, and sophomore Alex Semler.
“We will be led by sophomore Owen Black, he is also a Villanova commit,” said Whitlow.
“He is working hard to be a more dynamic midfielder. He does bring a high lacrosse IQ. Corey Reynolds is a UMBC recruit, he is a strong shooter. Alex Semler is another guy who will help us in the midfield.”
A pair of senior stars, Cam Dudeck and Jimmy Jannicelli, figure to spearhead the Hun defense.
“We have Cam Dudeck; he is one of our captains and he is a Naval Academy commit,” said Whitlow.
“He has the work ethic and the desire to create victory. Jimmy Jannicelli is a senior and a Cornell commit. He is a real leader, he was voted as a captain and is a good teammate.”
The Raiders boast two other battle-tested defenders in junior Tucker Stevenson and senior Chase Goulburn.
“Tucker is a returning junior and it is good to have him back,” added Whitlow. “We also have Chase Goulburn, he has committed to Endicott. He brings experience and has gotten himself in great physical condition.”
At goalie, the Raiders will be utilizing sophomore John Levine as the starter.
“It is going to be Levine,” said Whitlow. “He is a very solid goalie, he is a great ballstopper.”
As Whitlow looks ahead to the season, he believes his squad possesses a great mentality.
“The key is that as they play together, the team seems to be coming together,” said Whitlow.
“We are going to be humble and hungry. I really like this group of guys; it is group of high character young men.”