(Posted May 14, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Coach Ed Kennedy credits a one-word mantra for the history-making season enjoyed by this year’s Jonathan Alder Junior High lacrosse team.
“ ‘Family’ is what we say every time we break huddle. They played for each other. They really did,” said Kennedy, who has coached with Garred Clemons and Joey Snyder for the Alder lacrosse program for three of its eight years.
That mantra–and practices six days a week since Feb. 22–carried the seventh- and eighth-grade team from a 0-4 start in the regular season to post-season feats no other Alder lacrosse team at any grade level has achieved: an appearance and a victory in the state semi-finals and a shot at the state title.
The Pioneers were among 64 teams invited to compete at the state tournament hosted by the Ohio Middle School Lacrosse Association May 8-9. Four 16-team divisions played in cold, rain-drenched conditions at Dublin Scioto High School.
In Division IV action, Alder knocked off Fairfield, a Cincinnati-area squad, 7-2 to start the tournament. They followed with a 15-1 rout of Mentor, a Cleveland-area team, to advance to the semi-finals where they bested fellow central Ohioans, Hilliard Memorial, 6-2. In the finals, they dropped a tough back-and-forth game 7-6 to Wadsworth of the Cleveland area to finish as state runners-up.
The success at state isn’t the only feather in the boys’ helmets. They also set an Alder scoring record for the season, tallying 118 points, three better than the previous record. Additionally, they finished with the second lowest number of goals allowed–74; the school record stands at 64. And their 8-6-1 season record is the second best in school history, behind the 2019 squad’s 12-2 mark.
“The boys worked hard. They didn’t miss a practice. They were there every day, working hard for each other,” Kennedy said.
The fifth- and sixth-graders coming up behind them had a strong season, and the high school team ahead of them is on a tear.
“It’s a program on the rise,” Kennedy said. “Everyone is so excited right now.”