ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The Dunwoody High School boys lacrosse team continues to defy the odds as it scratches and claws its way toward a berth in the state playoffs for the fourth straight year.
The Wildcats came from four goals down on the road to beat Alpharetta 12-9 March 5 in a game that figures to decide the final playoff spot in 6A-7A Area 2. Freshman goalie Will Levy won the “baller chain,” awarded by the team to the player-of-the-game, for making 16 saves. Junior Zach Rosing scored three goals, one coming with the Wildcats playing at a two-man disadvantage due to penalties.
“It was a huge win,” head coach coach Mike Nash said. “It didn’t put us in the playoffs, but a loss would have all but put us out of a chance for the playoffs. Will played out of his mind. Combined with Anderson Nail dominating faceoffs, that was the difference.”
The Wildcats have come a long way in the program’s decade existence, a journey that has taken them from Class AAAA doormat to 6A-7A contender. Two years ago, Dunwoody became the first DeKalb County school to ever host a playoff game. Last year, the Wildcats were one of just three AAAAAA schools to win a first-round playoff game.
“It’s awesome,” Nash said. “Our program is growing while others are shrinking. I attribute that to the guys before me who started our junior (middle school) Wildcats’ program. Our boys now know they are good lacrosse players and know they can play with anyone.”
“Jeff Kline is doing an amazing job with our junior program,” assistant coach Jim Fox said. “We have over 30 players from the fifth to eighth grades. Plus, we have more of our kids now playing with local travel teams. Some of our high school players have been playing together since sixth grade. It’s a huge plus.”
Fox also gives a lot of credit to Nash, a longtime football coach who knew little about lacrosse when he took the reins last season.
“He has brought so much with his experience as a coach in many areas; preparation, execution, work ethic and building young men,” Fox said. “He not only coaches the game to the players, but the physical and mental aspects of being a successful athlete.”
It has been an enjoyable experience for the head coach.
“I’ll be honest I am learning lacrosse,” said Nash. “But it’s a great sport and I am enjoying it. I think my biggest contribution is not in the X’s and O’s but the psychology of the game, learning situations and how to see the bigger picture.”
The Wildcats are seeing the bigger picture, and the future of the program is bright. Dunwoody’s next home game is 7:30 p.m. Mar. 16 at the high school. Tickets are $5.