For most of the last two years, Rick Lutzell and David Ostroff have been working behind the scenes to get support for a lacrosse program at SouthLake Christian Academy.
In January, SouthLake Christian athletic director Rich Landis finally made their dreams a reality when he announced that the program would begin immediately this spring season with a full schedule and Lutzell and Ostroff as co-head coaches.
While the initial excitement still hasn't worn off, for the last two months, Landis, Lutzell and Ostroff have been working to start the program from scratch.
At the first practice, SouthLake already had 40 players, from grades six to 12, ready to fill a middle school, junior varsity and varsity roster.
"We basically had six weeks to get everything ready, from the players to the equipment, etc.," Lutzell said. "But we couldn't be more excited. We've had great support from the administration to the kids and their parents. We couldn't have this without everyone helping out."
While coaches, players and parents have played a key role, Lutzell and Ostroff offer a different level of experience that will give the SouthLake Christian lacrosse program an advantage from the start.
Lutzell was not only a high school lacrosse standout, but he also played midfielder for four years in college at the University of Buffalo, playing against the likes of perennial national championship contender Syracuse and others on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Ostroff was also a standout at Miami Country Day School in Florida before going on to play goalkeeper at Catawba College for one season.
Now, Lutzell will run the Eagle offense, while Ostroff runs the SouthLake defense, allowing both coaches to focus on what they know best.
Ostroff also has experience in starting a lacrosse program as he helped get the Davidson Day lacrosse team started in 2006-07.
"We are really excited about starting another tradition (lacrosse) here at SouthLake Christian," Ostroff said. "We definitely want to win on the field, but right now our victory is just having a lacrosse team. But we will get better and better."
Ostroff says about 10 of the 40 players in the program have played club lacrosse before, giving the team experience.
Freshman Kyle Hammil and sophomore Jake Hatfield are expected to lead the offense early on, because of their experience.
Meanwhile, freshman defender Chris Lutzell, Rick's son, and senior Stephen Bolten, who is a starting offensive lineman on the football team, will lead the defense.
While the varsity team will be most people's focus, Lutzell and Ostroff have all the players from sixth grade to high school seniors working together.
"I think it's a great situation to have our kids working together and learning from each other every day in practice," Lutzell said. "The older guys have really taken some of the middle school kids under their wings far beyond what we expected."
The Eagle team has already come together like a family.
"After every practice, we get in a huddle and say, '1-2-3, family," Lutzell said. "Our players play like they are brothers, and they believe that. I think that is going to help this program move forward quickly."
Players to Watch
Danny Brown, Lake Norman: Wildcats' senior looks to go out on top before heading to Air Force.
J.T. Del Tufo, Lake Norman: Creative talent led, Mercer signee, is a big-time playmaker (28 assists in 2011).
Will Scott, Lake Norman: Reigning Lake Norman News' Player of the Year and Mars Hill signee looks to build on 44 goals in 2011.
Mike Hart, Hough: One of the top goals scorers in Charlotte area with 51 goals last year, now looks to be even better.
Jake Koferl, Lake Norman Charter: Led Knights will 44 goals in 2011, already had four-goal explosion in win over Charlotte Country Day this season.
Brad McDonell, Lake Norman Charter: Knights' top scorer a year ago is back up top to lead the offense.
Chris Lutzell, SouthLake Christian: Experienced club player will be defensive ace for Eagles.
Kyle Hammil and Jake Hatfield, SouthLake Christian: Talented offensive duo who both have extensive club experience will lead the Eagle offense from the start.