We wrapped up the 2013 season with a 7-4 overall record (6-4 MCLA). It was a great year that showed outstanding growth for our program and our players. It is with both sadness and joy that we say goodbye to our 2013 senior class. These men have been influential in taking Taylor Lacrosse to the next level of competition. Each and every one of our seniors made many sacrifices to play here and we would like to honor them with one last farewell.
Will “Bulldog” Gemmel was essential to our success this season. As an LSM, he led our team in ground balls and caused turnovers. Will was sound defensively and continued to improve throughout the season. He led our fast break and our coaching staff felt comfortable anytime Will was in possession of the ball. Will’s knowledge of the game was second to none and the winning mentality and grittiness he brought to each and every practice and game will be sorely missed. Will Gemmel is a competitor and it was a joy to have had the opportunity to be his coach.
Losing Rex Huffman to an ACL injury was the most difficult part of our season. Rex was a leader in his play and attitude. Rex served as the best example of what one can become if they are dedicated to the team. Coming into this season, Rex was a starting midfielder and likely would’ve been one of our best two way middies, being proficient defensively and offensively. His desire to get better even as a senior was an inspiration. It was difficult to not see him be able to play the game, but he lead our team as Christ would have, by serving. Rex was at practices and games, serving as a statistician, encourager, assistant, and an extra set of coaching eyes. Rex’s leadership on our team helped to groom our younger players into men capable of leading our team in the future. We will miss Rex dearly.
Brett Ladley came into his own this season. The coaching staff asked him to take on a role he had never done before—being an offensive producer. Brett Ladley more than rose to the occasion. This season, Brett had more points that his past three seasons combined. His outside shot, both lefty and righty, was a thing of beauty, and proved to be the difference in several games for us. Brett exemplified what we seek to develop our players into. He is a good man, offering wisdom, and encouragement to all. He played a significant role in recruiting for us and helping to promote our program. Brett Ladley is irreplaceable.
Brennan Meyer was a staple of our defense. He was proficient at handling the ball, hitting hard, transitioning, and reading the opposing teams offense. Brennan battled nagging injuries all season, but always showed up to play. His best game was against Aquinas, where he protected our goal and cleared the ball for us on countless occasions. There is no better defender on the field at handling the ball. We will miss his commitment to our team and the physicality with which he played. Brennan Meyer was a starting defender, and we can only hope that his presence set an example for the guys who will have to pick up the slack of him being gone.
Kevin Seifert had a remarkable year. He was moved to attack last year and produced for us, this year we asked him to play attack and take on a different role of running our offense. He did that and more. Kevin set the example of what it means to play attack for us. Often times attackmen are proficient scorers and feeders, Kevin has those skills, but so much more. He worked hard on the ride to get our team the ball back, he was in the scrum for every ground ball, clearing out bodies and coming away with the ball. Kevin never strayed from the coaches’ game plan. He was consistent and his value came specifically in the intangibles, the stats that are difficult to measure. Kevin sacrificed his body for his teammates every single game. His toughness and heart is something to admire.
We could not afford to not have Matt Witt on the field. Similar to Brett Ladley, his point total this season, was more than his previous three seasons combined. Witt played midfield for us, but so much more. We would move him to attack, where he was just as comfortable, he even played Man-Down defense for us with a long pole. He excelled at ground balls, feeding and shooting. He was dynamic in the way he played, being able to score from outside, using a wicked face-dodge to break down a defense and score in tight, drawing a slide and finding the open man, and dodging to his right or left. He could not be contained, even with often drawing the opposing teams best LSM. Matt Witt put our team on his back and carried us to a 7-4 season. The sacrifice he has made to advance this program throughout his career is immeasurable. It is a sad day knowing his time here with our team is done. We will miss Matt Witt.
Johnny Rad as we call him is the reason we have been competitive the last 4 seasons. He is the backbone of our team. Johnny Rad had a remarkable way of making all the saves, no one should be able to make. We saw him stand on his head over and over again. Goalies single handedly can steal games, Johnny Rad stole more than just games for us, he stole seasons. Johnny finishes his career as the winningest goaltender in program history. No one sacrificed their well-being for our team more than Johnny Rad. Johnny not only served our program in the goal, he was always the first to volunteer to help in any area of our program. To find another guy that has dedicated himself to our program and served our program in the way Johnny has, may be impossible. We will miss everything he has brought to this team.
We will be praying for our Seniors as they move on to the next chapters of their lives. We look forward to welcoming them back to the Alumni game, Homecoming weekend next fall.