VYPE U: Atascocita Lacrosse rose to #1 before their season was cut short, can they repeat next year?
Atascocita High School has been known for being great at football and basketball. However, there is a team that has not been recognized as much, the lacrosse team.
The team started out in Division 3 but struggled for the first few years until head coach Taylor Brooks came in. Brooks played lacrosse in high school and went to Le Moyne College to play lacrosse in Syracuse, New York.
His first year as head coach in 2017, he changed the team's struggle into success while also strengthening the team chemistry. As former player Nick Doxy put it, "Coach Brooks came to the team with specific goals which motivated us as players. He believed in us and we believed in him." These goals and new team chemistry led to the team winning the Division 3 City Championship which would move them up to Division 2 the next year.
The following season brought in two new coaches. Defensive assistant coach, Zach Finger, who played at the college level at Southwestern University and defensive coach, Chris Wilke, who is experienced in coaching lacrosse and in fact, had coached the team Brooks was playing for when they won a state championship.
The new coaches brought in much experience that was helpful in making the players better as people and as players. Before the 2018 season, many teams thought Atascocita was a joke, but it was the complete opposite. They beat teams they have never beaten before and made it to the state playoffs in their first year as a Division 2 team.
However, the 2019 season would be a different story as they would have to rebuild the team after losing thirteen seniors, many of which were starters. Even though they had one of the greatest moments in program history by beating a powerhouse team, The Woodlands, in overtime and they had a winning season, they didn't bond as a team as well as they did the year before. They made it to the playoffs but would lose to Langham Creek in the first round.
Going into the 2020 season, they still had most of the offensive guys but added Nathaniel "Zero" Serrano and Justin Washington who would make big contributions to the offense. The offense, led by captains Bryce Washington, who committed to University of Michigan-DearBorn, and Joel "Booka" Brusnahan, who committed to Marist and is the first player for Atascocita to commit to a Division 1 school, was a force to be reckoned with. The offense scored 120+ goals in nine games while the defense was also dominate as they allowed only 4.4 goals per game.
Atascocita beat Division 1 teams including: Round Rock and Frisco as they made history becoming the first Houston Division 2 lacrosse team to beat a Division 1 Dallas team. The only loss came from a very talented Allen team that is a top competitor for Division 1. Atascocita became the #1 team in the state for Division 2 in front of a very talented Dallas Jesuit, who they would play if they made it far into the playoffs, and Pearland which is one of their district opponents.
Unfortunately, the worldwide pandemic ended the 2020 Texas lacrosse season for all divisions, so the Eagles would end the season #1 in Texas and would not get a shot for a state championship.
Even though they can't get the title this year, it was a statement year for the Eagles as they showed the potential the team had this year and what they would have for the 2021 season. They lose the starters Bryce Washington, Roman Farias, John Jenkins, and Colby Astor, but they bring back Joel "Booka" Brusnahan, James "Levi" McCoy (also a huge threat for the offense), Brett Woolcock, Jordan Frank, and Chase Taylor. Justin Washington and Nathaniel "Zero" Serrano also come back with a year of experience as high school players which should give them an advantage for next year.
So what separates the offense and defense from other teams not including the stats? Well, as Brusnahan put it for the offense, "We have at least four different deadly outside shooters and everyone can finish inside." Another reason, he states, is that they have "been together for four years and everyone compliments each other's way of playing."
Senior captain Roman Farias said, "We work together in the summer, fall, and many times after practice." They also have team dinners which help them, "get to know each other more and creates a trust that we have in each other that correlates to the field."
The Atascocita lacrosse program has risen significantly from struggling to find a win, to becoming contenders for a state championship that was halted short. However, they still have one more year left in them with the team still having a lot of talent on the offense and the defense. The questions are: Can they become #1 once again and can they get the first state championship in program history?