Friday’s lacrosse semifinal match between Jamestown and Lafayette is about as perfect a matchup as you can hope for in high school sports — crosstown rivals, one team full of experienced seniors, the other full of promising young talent and a drive toward a state title at stake.
Lafayette and Jamestown are relative newcomers to lacrosse, but both schools have made a big impact on local play. Over the past four years, the biggest roadblock the teams have had for championship play has been each other.
Lafayette may have won back-to-back Hampton Roads High School club lacrosse championships in 2017 and 2018, but after two victories over the champs during the regular season, Jamestown coach Mike Hurley said the Eagles are ready to make a finals run of their own.
“We have a senior-laden team, they've been playing together for a while, so team chemistry just helps them play that much better,” said Hurley. “We run a very fast, very physical game, they’re a good, talented group of kids, very confident we’ll make a play for the championship.”
One of those Jamestown seniors, Roan Schumann, has played for the team for four years, and he said that experience made a difference for the Eagles this season.
“We have six or seven other seniors on the team, and that leadership and experience helps out a lot, it’s really made a difference this year,” said Schumann. “We have a very physical team and some great stickhandling, and with that seniority, hopefully, that will be enough to take us to the finals.”
The Lafayette Rams, on the other hand, are a much younger team than they were when they won back-to-back championships, having lost much of those squads to graduation.
Lafayette coach Thomas Rice said that after a slow start this year, the team has come together just in time for the postseason.
“There’s a lot of talent on this team, but a lot of youth as well,” said Rice. “We had a few stumbles during the regular season, but our defense started coming together toward the end, and our offense has really been clicking.”
Nicholas Doyle is a senior at Warhill, one of several Warhill players filling the ranks at Lafayette, and one of the few seniors on the team this year. Doyle said that there may be some new faces on the field, but they’ve got the same desire to win as their predecessors.
“We have different players, but we’ve got the same team spirit, the same drive as last year,” said Doyle. “We’re all very excited to be playing Jamestown, and we’re all going to do our best to come out on top.”
No matter if Jamestown or Lafayette wins the semifinal game Friday night, it will be the fourth year in a row that a team from Williamsburg has advanced to the Peninsula finals. No matter what, it means that Williamsburg has a promising future in what Coach Rice calls “the fastest sport on two feet.”
“It’s great to have two competitive teams in the sport right here in Williamsburg,” said Rice. “Lacrosse is growing rapidly, it’s an action-driven sport, and we’re lucky to have the community behind it that we do here.”
The winner will play in the Peninsula District finals at 7:30 p.m. May 13 at WISC field 5 against York. The Peninsula District champion will then play the Southside District champion at 8:30 p.m. May 17 at Old Dominion University for this year’s title.
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.