April 26, 2011. That was the last time a Southeast Raleigh lacrosse team took the field. It was an 11-1 loss at Enloe. Sadly, after the 2011 season, the oldest public school program in the county was disbanded for the next five seasons. After that long hiatus, the Bulldogs are making their return this spring.
Getting the Ball Rolling
Southeast Raleigh will field a boys varsity lacrosse program for the 2017 season, largely due to the efforts of two students: Junior Kyle Muhs and Sophomore Andrew Protz. "I tried to go to the athletic director my freshman year." Kyle said, but he didn't have the necessary information to garner any support at that time. This time, Kyle had Andrew's help and the two of them have spent the last nine months researching and planning the resurgence of the lacrosse program.
For the 2017 campaign Kyle and Andrew took their vision directly to Principal Candis Nicole Jones and Assistant Principal Sophia Overdiep. Armed with a summer's worth of research, a list of interested players, and a clear plan for how they wanted to revive the program they presented their proposal for a lacrosse team to the administration. Impressed with the boys' insight and preparation the varsity lacrosse program was green lit for spring 2017.
In order to show the administration there was a serious interest in the sport, Kyle and Andrew had gone to their friends and asked them to try the sport, as a favor to them. That was enough to show interest but now they had to find enough people to play. They needed to solicit the entire school in hopes of finding twenty or more guys that wanted to give lacrosse a shot. "We had tables out at lunch in the hallways. We put up posters so people could text us." Andrew said. They also set up a website and a twitter account in order to get the word out and make signing up easier. They would walk up to other athletes with a helmet and stick in hand and invite them to come try lacrosse.
Their methods have worked. They have been able to find a few players, like Freshman Zach Martin, who have some lacrosse experience but are mostly relying on training up a lot of athletic newcomers.
2017 and Beyond
The 2017 season will be a real experience for the boys of Southeast Raleigh. They have a full seventeen game schedule against teams from all over the area. "A lot of that, you know, when I did it I was trying to get it so there would be teams we were competitive against, [and] teams I knew were going to be big challenges for us." said coach Michael Smith. The schedule includes games against fellow newcomers Jack Britt and Southern Durham. Those challenging games will come against established programs Wakefield (3/31) and East Chapel Hill (4/18).
Coach Smith realizes he could have scheduled a much less competitive or complete slate of games, but he knows that the 2018 campaign will be no cake walk and wanted to start preparing his team now. "My goal for the year is to teach them to play, and to play fearless. That's our motto for this year: fearless." While the Bulldogs are an independent team in 2017, after the realignment they will find themselves in a seven team conference with Sanderson, Millbrook, Enloe, Leesville, Broughton and three-time defending state champion Cardinal Gibbons.
Smith knows that even this year will be tough. "I did the research, it's been ten years since we've won a game." he said. Andrew chimed in immediately saying, "We'll fix that coach." Ironically, that last win was a 17-7 victory on the road at Enloe in 2007.
Southeast Raleigh opens its 2017 season at home versus Jack Brit on February 28th.
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