First year of 7 v 7 District lacrosse tournament is a success
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The fall lacrosse season for the Westlake Club team is only a few weeks away. Directed by returning three-year coach Chris Delfausse, who led the team to the State semi-finals last season for the first time in the program’s history, is beginning this preliminary fall season play with a new style of practice.
Delfausse and other District coaches (which include Vandergrift, Lake Travis, Bowie, Dripping Springs, Anderson and Austin High) put together the first 7 v 7 style tournament for four weeks in October. Both JV and varsity teams from all schools were encouraged to play to emphasize extra practice. While play was optional, the tournament was praised by most coaches as it was a good opportunity to allow a laid-back and fun atmosphere.
“I think the whole ‘take it easy’ approach to the tournament was pretty successful,” captain midfielder senior Hayden Baker said. “People had the opportunity to take a tournament for fun rather than trying to show up every person they play.”
The tournament was organized like this: on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, teams played two games of two 15-minute halves. Teams had an unlimited roster, but usually contained around 12 players. What was unique about these teams was that they were chosen by the students rather than the coaches, allowing the players to have more control over the tournament to ease the stress level of fall play. Delfausse and other assistant Westlake coaches have volunteered as referees.
7 v 7 play is much different than normal play. With two midfielders, two attackmen, two defenders and one goalie on each team, compared to the normal three players at each position, the field space is reduced. Instead of the normal football field length, play is set on 50 yards, allowing much closer and physical play.
While the motif expressed before every game was to refrain from heavy hits and ripping shots on the goalies, it appeared to happen anyway.
“Putting together a highly competitive District like this, you expect there to be flair and some intense play,” attackman senior Finn Corbett said.
However, despite the inevitable butting of heads, the players still enjoyed the competition.
“We got worked up with each other, and people got angry for sure,” defender senior Oliver Dina said. “At the end of the day though, a lot of us are friends, even the ones on opposite teams. We grew up playing lacrosse with each other, so we are [used to] each other’s play style. That of course also makes us more inclined to want to beat the other teams even more.”
The final prize for winning the tournament was merely a t-shirt and bragging rights, but the weight of winning may be heavier than expected. This season has a high prediction that Westlake and Lake Travis will be neck and neck in fighting to win the District title. The passion was present when the two teams faced, with Lake Travis claiming victory on the second week of play. In the final championship game on Oct. 26, Westlake faced Lake Travis. Once again, the Cavaliers came out victorious with a 15-19 win, officially claiming their team title and leaving a tight trail for the Chaparrals to follow.
Westlake’s normal fall season and tryouts will start up on Nov. 7 and continue into the later weeks of December before the winter break. The Chaps have a promising season ahead of them with five Division 1 commits and eight returning starters. The goal as always is to win State, but the first task for the team is to obtain the District title.
“We’re good this year,” Oliver said. “There is no doubt the talent is there. It’s going to be a matter of if our team can get the same chemistry we had last year to carry us farther than we have before.”