By William

KANSAS CITY – We have a new team in town, the McPherson Bullpup Club Lacrosse team, and they opened their 2020 season on Sunday with a pair of games in Kansas City at Rockhurst High School against Bentonville and Blue Valley Southwest.

While the Pups lost both games, 17-8 to Bentonville and 5-2 to Blue Valley Southwest, one must remember this was the opening games for a new team with a limited number of players playing a new sport.

“Since the Wichita Knights do not have a junior varsity team, we have partnered with them so that their younger players can get some playing time,” noted Bullpup Lacrosse Coach Virgil Lyon. “While we did borrow four players from Wichita for our first game, I felt that what little experience we have was put to good use. The guys did what they have been taught so far very well. We’ll keep building on it and playing more complete games as a team going forward. Our defensive play was very strong for such a new team. They did some things that are pretty advanced for a group that’s only been playing together for about one month.”

In general, the team looked a bit shell shocked during the first quarter of the Bentonville game as they allowed a lot of scoring right off the bat. Once the Bullpups talked about doing what they knew how to do and got in the flow of things, they started performing.

Coach Lyon continued reflecting on the team by saying, “Offensively, we could stand to shoot the ball more. Going to the goal, ‘tic-tac-toe’ passing, and pulling the trigger on good opportunities will come with more confidence and experience. This will take a little bit of time, but we’re on the right track. Defensively, our field position and awareness suffers when our guys get tired. Being in the right place at the right time will also come with more experience. This is something that we can easily address during practice.”

“We had a three-way tie for ground balls between Jase Reedy, Tucker Nelson, and Edgar Martinez. These were junior varsity games so our numbers are a little inflated because both teams are still learning to handle and pass the ball. The Pups fought for every ground ball within reason and that’s a great omen. We saw great wing play on the face-off from Jase (Reedy) and Skyler Porter. Both weren’t afraid to mix it up and played their hearts out. I know that when they gain more experience, they’ll become very dominant on the face-off. We haven’t yet worked on our special teams.”

(Note – in Lacrosse, ground balls equal possessions and possessions equal scoring opportunities.)

Coach Lyon had his choices for ‘offensive player of the week’, as well as the top defensive player for each game played on Sunday. Here are those players and some of Coach Lyons references to how they did.

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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – SIMON LYON > Simon had six points (four goals and two assists) during the weekend. Lyon scored twice and got both assists in the first game. This means that he was involved with 50% of the team scoring plays. Lyon had zero turnovers in the first game and two ground balls (which means that the other team dropped it and Lyon was the guy who picked it up for us). In the second game, Lyon scored both Bullpup goals, had another three ground balls and caused two turnovers.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME vs. Bentonville – GABE DAVIS > Gabe had a monster weekend with nine caused turnovers, five of which came in our first-ever game. Many defensive players don’t get that many caused turnovers in an entire season. Gave played with good fundamental body position and has become very good at cutting off passing lanes and knocking passes down. Gabe also slid to the ball very well, preventing at least another four or five scoring opportunities.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME vs. Blue Valley Southwest – TITO MENDEZ > Tito, playing in goal, finished the weekend with 28 saves against two goals against. Tito’s shot/save percentage currently sits at 78.57 which is outstanding as a really good goalie at the high school or college level usually has a percentage around 65%. Tito has fast, fast hands and plays with poise. Once he settles his feet down and learns to cut the goal correctly all the time, he’s going to be a player to watch.

A couple of other players Coach Lyon wanted to talk about included:

  • Edgar Martinez – Edgar took our face-offs for nearly the entire day. His numbers look rough, but we didn’t practice to win the draw. We did practice to prevent fast breaks and contest the ball on the ground with strong hustle at the wings. Edgar did a great job forcing the ball into our offensive end and keeping the ball on the ground long enough for our wing players to get into the scrum.
  • Tucker Nelson – Tucker has really quick feet and a nose for the goal. Tucker took a lot of shots, but didn’t connect on any this weekend. He isn’t afraid of contact and is scrappy when the ball is on the ground. Tucker did a great job helping us with possessions and made very mature decisions when it came to testing his defender and going to the goal. It’s really obvious that as his skills improve, he’s going to be an impact player for us.

As a team, Coach Lyon explained some of the first game experiences the Bullpup Club Lacrosse team faced, “Outside of being really new to the sport, one of the biggest reasons we lost is that the other teams had rosters of 20-30 players while our bench is still really, really shallow. Two games of ‘ironman’ lacrosse was a great test of our physical fitness levels and our mental toughness. I think that, once the boys jumped into the game with both feet, the mental toughness challenge went by the board. Unfortunately, both teams wore us down over the stretch. But with that said, add a couple of more weeks of practice and a few more jerseys on the sideline and both games could have gone either way.”

Coach Lyon continued talking about the experience level by adding, “What little experience we have was put to good use. The guys did what they have been taught so far very well. We’ll keep building on it and playing more complete games as a team going forward. Our defensive play was very strong for such a new team.”

Finishing up his reflections on the opening day of games for the Bullpup club lacrosse team, Coach Lyon said, “The guys all know each other well and like each other, which really helps us. Most of the boys are reasonably athletic and are not timid. They are already talking things over on the field and on the sidelines plus they help each other out with the little things at practice and are working on their own to improve their fundamental skills.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR BULLPUP LACROSSE? Next up for the McPherson Bullpup Club Lacrosse team will come on Saturday, March 28 when they play a pair of games in Wichita at the Stryker Sports Complex. First game will be matched up with the Wichita Knights before closing out the day play St. Thomas Aquinas.


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Player (Goals – Assists – Points – Shots – Ground Balls – Caused Turnovers):

Simon Lyon > 4 – 2 – 6 – 6 – 6 – 2; Tucker Nelson > 0 – 0 – 0 – 5 – 8 – 2; Treven Price > 0 – 2 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 0; Edgar Martinez > 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 8 – 1; Skyler Porter > 0 – 0 – 0 – 2 – 3 – 1; Jase Reedy > 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 8 – 0; Thomas Potts > 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 2 – 6; Gabe Davis > 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 2 – 9.

TEAM TOTALS > 4 – 4 – 8 – 16 – 37 – 21.

Tito Martinez had 28 saves and 22 goals against.

Edgar Martinez had 41 face-off attempts and won 3.

(McPherson Club Lacrosse Post is SPONSORED by CrossDove Writers)

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