Cannon School lacrosse will have different look, but the same goals
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Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014

Cannon School lacrosse will have different look, but the same goals

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/19/15/23/FEBa8.Em.138.jpeg|391
    - DAVE HARMON STUDIOS
    Cannon School junior Danny Brenner was an honorable mention all-conference selection last season. Cannon lost 17 seniors from last year’s team, which made it to the semifinals of the state tournament.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/19/15/23/1lxoZF.Em.138.jpeg|335
    - DAVE HARMON STUDIOS
    Attackman Will Bost is one of five seniors on a young Cannon lacrosse team. He is a four-year varsity player.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/19/15/23/1iJyhd.Em.138.jpeg|267
    - DAVE HARMON STUDIOS
    Cannon school junior Danny Brenner (7) had 132 ground balls last season and has 201 for his career. He is on pace to break the school record.

The Cannon School boys’ lacrosse team is coming off a record-setting year in which the program established school marks for victories and goals in a season.

For the second time in four years, Cannon reached the semifinals of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament. As a testament to the quality number of players it had last season, two former Cougars are playing collegiately this year.

But there’s no denying that Cannon will have a different look this season. Although 17 seniors graduated, coach Steve Schattner is optimistic that a record number of overall players, most of them underclassmen, can help turn in positive results this season and for years to come.

“We have some good returning players and some good new players,” said Schattner. “We have a good feeder system through our middle school and they’ve been playing a lot in the off-season.”

The Cougars, which finished third in the powerful Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association last season, opens 2014 with a game at Forsyth Country Day on Mar. 4.

Including Cannon School, three CISAA teams reached the state final four last year. In the semifinals, the Cougars lost to Providence Day, which was defeated by Charlotte Latin in the championship game.

Seeded fourth in the state tournament, Cannon School received a first round bye and beat Christ School in the second round 11-10. Senior midfielder Paul Anderson was named all-state, capping a season in which he set a school record with 157 ground balls.

Anderson, who now plays at Dickinson College (Pa.), led Cannon with 60 goals and was second with 87 points. Cannon School will also miss the contributions of attackman Tyler Brown (88 points) and goalkeeper Erik Zelina, both all-conference selections, and attackman/midfielder Trevor Williams.

Anderson built a reputation for being a key player in transition and making a difference on both the offensive and defensive sides of the field. Filling that spot this year will be junior Danny Brenner, who Shattner calls “one of the best midfielders in the state.”

An honorable mention all-conference honoree, Brenner had 132 ground balls last season and has 201 for his career. He likely will surpass Anderson’s career record of 294 sometime this season.

Helping out at midfield will be sophomores Davis Nelson and Andrew Zelina, brother to Erik. Junior Dante Lowe and Zac Venos are vying to replace Erik Zelina.

Seniors Nick Tubbs and Matt Lack anchor the defense. Sam Oddo, a sophomore, may assume the responsibility as the Cougars’ shutdown defender.

Leading the attack will be sophomores Kenny Clarke, Preston Miller, and Will Bost, a four-year varsity player who is just one of five seniors on the Cougars. Schattner says Cannon School will focus more on ball-movement and creating offensive opportunities compared to last year’s players’ capability to score one-on-one.

Bost understands his role as a leader on a team that has a completely different make-up from last year.

“It’s definitely different looking on the field and not knowing half the players or who is going to be where,” said Bost. “But it could be a good thing for us.

“I was the third leading scorer last year and Danny Brenner was the fourth leading scorer. And none of the plays were being called for us. It was all about the seniors. This year I think we can play to our strengths and could surprise some people in terms of the numbers we can put up.”

Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at joehabina@yahoo.com.

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