Community School goalie Everett Rowe (22) prepares to run through Barron Collier's James Leach (2) as he breaks out from the CSN net to take the ball upfield during Tuesday's District 20 semifinal at Barron Collier High School. GREGG HARDY/CSI
The 14-0 whitewashing that the Community School of Naples boys lacrosse team suffered Tuesday at the hands of District 20 tournament host Barron Collier had to be somewhat of a jolt to the Seahawks’ system.
CSN was flying high as it entered the two-day tournament, which concludes with Thursday’s Barron Collier-Naples championship game. The Seahawks had just capped a breakthrough regular season that included overtime wins over Naples, the district’s top seed, and Bishop Verot, which finished second in District 18. There was also a come-from-behind win at Estero and a couple of close losses to a quality Fort Myers High squad.
The Seahawks thought they knew enough about the Cougars — Collier County’s only decorated lacrosse program — to entertain the idea of an upset. CSN lost its only regular-season meeting with Barron — a 5-3 contest that was called off at halftime due to inclement weather.
“We tried our best to get ready for them from what we had seen, but they came out strong — stronger than we expected, I think,” said CSN goalie Everett Rowe, who made several great stops against the Cougars to keep the final score from becoming even more lopsided.
Rowe, who hopes to play for Florida Gulf Coast University’s club team next year, is one of 10 seniors listed on the Seahawks’ roster. The legacy they leave behind is not yet known, but what they’ve accomplished in their time at CSN is to help lay down the foundation for future Seahawks teams to be not just relevant but competitive against Collier County’s bigger programs like Barron, Gulf Coast and Naples.
The CSN seniors have also made coach Rich Lewton’s job a bit easier. They took an active role in coaching up some of the younger Seahawks.
“Our seniors were awesome,” Lewton said, “and it’s a shame that people only see us at games because for every game we have, we have three or four days of practice, and you’ve got to see what these guys do. They are inspirational to younger players; they give them direction.”
Rowe has taken ninth-grader Zack Danni under his wing, according to Lewton, who called Danni a “special breed” of goaltender.
“Zack Danni … who’s very outgoing and he’s a theater person … he’s got exactly the personality that a goalie needs,” Lewton said. “And he loves it. The biggest obstacle that any new goalie has is ducking. He does not duck. He has never blinked; he stays right in front of his shots. He’s going to be great.”
Keeping opponents off the scoreboard could be a strength of next year’s CSN squad. Besides the goalie position, the Seahawks have some up-and-comers at defender — thanks to standout senior Chris Murphy.
Lewton said Murphy mentored junior Zach Hurdis, who started this year, and freshman Landon Reed, who the coach called a “real bright star.”
“He’s a freshman, I could start him, but in favor of the seniors, I didn’t,” Lewton said. “He’s impressed our players. He’s got awesome checks, and he’s going to play this summer. And that’s what I need, is players playing this summer.”
Email Gregg Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CSI on Twitter at @239CSI or like CSI on Facebook at facebook.com/CollierSportsInsider.