Aaron Rabozzi knows exactly what it’s like to be a player on a relatively new lacrosse team fighting for respect.The first-year Hough girls’ lacrosse head coach, 24, is less than two years removed from his own playing career on Appalachian State’s club team. Before that, Rabozzi was a three-year, varsity midfielder under Coach Chris Diamond at North Meck High.While this is his first season as a head coach on the high school level, his experience as player gives him confidence that he knows how to be successful.“I don’t have the same experience as some of the coaching legends out there, but I do have the recent experience as player,” said Rabozzi, who was an assistant to former Hough coach Anthony Puma last year.“I feel like I know what players need to work on, and I know what works and what doesn’t. I believe it gives me an advantage because my players know that I know what I am talking about because I’ve done it all myself.”Rabozzi also has good help from his sister, Melanie Rabozzi, 21, who played lacrosse at Hopewell High and Presbyterian College.The Hough boys’ head lacrosse coach, Rob Simpson, whom Aaron serves as the main assistant, also played at Appalachian State with Rabozzi, giving them a tight-knit coaching group.“I love working beside my brother,” Melanie Rabozzi said. “He is the one who got me started playing the game. We all bring a little something different to the team and make a really good trio.”All three coaches are excited about the turnout for the Hough girls’ team tryouts, where 40 girls came out for the team. Those numbers not only give the team options but may also allow for a junior varsity squad to be formed.That group includes several experienced Huskies, like seniors Anna Diggs (all-conference last year), Olivia Jansen and Courtney Sheets; and juniors Savannah Dorn (all-conference last year), Aisling Chaffin and Chloe Anderson.Diggs and Anderson will be big in the attack, while Dorn also shifts from defense to the midfield and may even play attack, at times.Chaffin and Dorn will see a lot of time in the midfield, while Jansen and Sheets are the most experienced defensive options.Meanwhile, sophomore Katie Husselbee, a versatile player, will also figure into the lineup, according to Rabozzi.Rabozzi notes he isn’t totally sure whether all-conference midfielder Julia Brown (an N.C. State volleyball signee who is still finishing basketball) will play lacrosse again this season.“I feel like we have a lot good players with experience to build on,” Rabozzi said. “But with 40 girls coming out for the team, we will also have some new players emerge for us this season. Having options in the lineup, so girls can push each other for playing time, is great to see.”Rabozzi, who had never coached girls’ lacrosse until helping out with the team last year, says he has had to make some adjustments after taking a much more stern approach with the boys’ players.“It’s kind of a funny story, because I can be pretty hard on the guys,” Rabozzi said. “But when you get to the girls’ practice, and they are giggling and happy, you have to take a little more lighthearted approach, but at the same time be serious. I enjoy the difference between working with both teams.”Right now, the Hough lacrosse staff is concentrating on developing each player’s skills and techniques. “The tone I’m trying to set for this team is just for all of the girls to work on become better players,” Rabozzi said. “If we can do that well, I believe everything else we want, including the wins, will follow.”
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014
Rabozzi excited to be playing the coach for Hough
Five to watch
Savannah Dorn, Hough, Jr. – Defender/Attack. All-Conference 7 defender will shift into the midfielder or even up top in the attack at times as Coach Aaron Rabozzi wants to use her speed to his team’s advantage.
Anna Diggs, Hough, Sr. – Attacker. All-Conference 7 attacker was Hough’s top offense weapon last year and should be the same thing this season, when she gets finishes off her Husky basketball season as standout point guard.
Aisling Chaffin, Hough, Jr. – Midfielder. Husky junior expected to emerge as a key piece with players like classmate with Chloe Anderson, according to Robazzi.
Lauren Bock, Lake Norman Charter, Sr. – Defender. Savannah College of Art and Design signee, all-conference 7 pick a shutdown defender for the Knights.
Sara Henderson, Lake Norman Charter, Sr. – Midfielder. Lees McRae signee, also all-conference midfielder a versatile player who makes an impact on offense and can defend at a high level.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com.
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