Editor’s Note: Please welcome Dustin Rich to the LAS Network. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Dustin Rich knows a thing or two about growing the game. Rich currently coaches the men’s team at Missouri State University and in his spare time enjoys all things lacrosse.
Show Me Lax talks with Titan Head Coach Eric Koford about his 2013 Lee’s Summit West team.
Show Me Lax: Coach thanks for taking the time to talk some lacrosse today.
Head Coach Eric Koford: Sure thing.
SML: How many kids are on in your H.S. lacrosse program?
Koford: Lee’s Summit West Boys: 72 . Lee’s Summit West Girls: 55.
SML: Talk a little bit about the amount of growth you have seen in the past few years.
Koford: We started in Lee’s Summit 3 years ago with a youth boys’ team comprised of 19 players. None of which had ever played. Now in Lee’s Summit there are over 600 players, boys, girls, youth. We have boys and girls’ programs at all 3 high schools and a growing youth boys and girls. Belton, Pleasant Hill, and Ray-Pec are now starting to organize teams.
SML: For someone who doesn’t know anything about the LAKC, tell us what that is.
Koford: 2 years ago the Lee’s Summit teams refused to play in the MOLAX league, due to various restrictions and economics. I thought it would be more economical if we played the teams in the greater KC area. I got together with Chris Kliewer at SME and Dave Colbert at Pembroke Hill to discuss the possibility of forming a KC only league. We got all of the other coaches in KC together and formed the LAKC. It is a boys’ lacrosse league comprised of the teams located in the greater KC Metro.
SML: What are some of the big goals you have for your team this year?
Koford: We don’t set goals in the way that teams traditionally set goals. We focus on things that we can control and set goals with these things in mind. It is our belief that if you focus on the things that you can control and the other things take care of themselves. We don’t look at our schedule and handicap it or decide how many games we need to win. We don’t worry about our opponents, but focus on what we need to do to improve. We prize effort and attitude and feel that victories are a consequence of many other factors. Some we can control and some we can’t. We set goals for ground balls, and effort based statistics.
SML: Tell us about some of the players to watch for this season.
Koford: Tyler Reid was the second leading scorer in the league last year, with 45 goals. He is easy to recognize, in that he is 6’2” 275 lbs and fast. He plays crease attack and has unbelievably nimble feet. All-State offensive lineman at center and carries a 4.5 GPA. He is primarily looking at Ivy League schools and expects to play college football.
Jordan Bennett, a junior close defense, is our only returning varsity pole from last season. He is fast, aggressive, and relentless. He plays defensive tackle on the football team and wants to play lacrosse in college. He is always one of the hardest workers in practice.
Collin Adams is our most complete player. He is our leading midfielder and has excellent stick skills. He has a very polished game and is one of our team’s leaders. He runs the team like a talented NBA point guard. I expect him to have a huge season this year. He is a senior and wants to play at the next level.
Chase Quattrocchi was our second leading scorer last year and we can play him at attack, midfielder, or close defense. He does everything well and is very smooth on the field. He will score on a short stick defender every time.
Patrick Brigman is our blue collar workhorse on offense and defense. He is a highly competitive player and fearless. I expect him to have over 20 goals this year. He is tough to handle close to the crease.
Hayden Berkstresser, Danny Ayasse, and Austin Todd give us offensive threats at the midfield and can outrun most players in the league.
Reno Reed is a 4.4, 40 meter guy who plays LSM like a kamikaze pilot and owns ground balls. He plans on playing at Missouri S & T.
SML: Who are some of your biggest rivals?
Koford: Lee’s Summit North is always a close and hard fought game. We play we a lot of the North players in the off season, so we know them well. The proximity makes the players very competitive with each other. I have a great personal friendship with the North coaching staff. I respect their players and that just makes this backyard brawl even more fun.
SML: Do you have any big trips your team takes this spring?
Koford: I don’t know how we would fit one in. The Spring is so jam packed with Prom, Spring Break, Graduation, concerts, and about 10 other things, I can barely get a league season put together with enough practices.
SML: Tell us about your senior class. How much will they define the season, what have they helped do in their time at LSW, and are any of them playing in college?
Koford: This is our 3rd senior class and there is no doubt that they are the leaders. They are mature, athletic, and work hard. They set the bar for everyone else. They are all high achievers. Academically we have the highest average GPA for any sport at the school. Also, we are the second largest sport at the school. Second only to football who has 210 players. A lot of that is because of this great group of seniors. I think that every senior on our roster would like to play in college. Some of them may be attending schools that don’t have programs, though. Our football program helps us be successful. Our players are disciplined, train hard, and expect to win. This is because they have excellent football coaches who have taught them how to win.
SML: Coach, I appreciate the time. Good luck this year.
Koford: Thanks a lot.