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Boys Lacrosse Prepares Ahead Of First Game

New coach helps lead teams towards success
Photo by Matteo Winandy
The lacrosse team, including senior Nathan Harper, works on strategies for their upcoming game. They will next play against Cypress Hill on February 18. “I look forward to practice every day. We practice hard and the coaches work to help us achieve our goals of being a successful team,” Harper said.

The boys lacrosse Varsity Blue, Gold and Junior Varsity team’s practice has started up again after their prolonged winter break.

On Jun. 6, 2022, the lacrosse program announced its new head coach for the Varsity Blue team, Mike Pressler. Pressler previously coached men’s lacrosse at Bryant University and Duke University, which he led for 16 seasons on each team. 

Alongside this, Pressler also coached the 2010 U.S. Men’s National Team, who went on to win gold at the World Lacrosse Championships. 

“As head coach of the U.S. national team in 2010, we won gold and then I was also an assistant coach on the national team in [2002] and we won gold in Perth, Australia,” he said.

Ross Thompson is the head coach of the Varsity Gold team and is heading into his 20th year of coaching for Highland Park High School. Thompson started off at Duke University where he met Pressler, his coach at the time.

“I coached him back [when he was] a college player,” Pressler said. “[Thompson] was a phenomenal football lacrosse player and he was one of my all-time great recruits at Duke. [Thompson] and I have gone down an incredible journey together over the years.”

Thompson and Pressler have since stayed in touch and once Thompson went to Highland Park to coach, so did Pressler. 

“He was one of the attractions to join the Highland Park lacrosse program, [the desire] to be reunited with Ross Thompson,” Pressler said.

This is my first year with [Pressler], but I can already tell [that he is] one of the best coaches I’ve had. He’s such a great leader

— Frank Moussa

The lacrosse team has won seven DI State championships and four DII State championships, the most recent being a DII Championship in 2018. DI Lacrosse Commit to Quinnipiac University senior Frank Moussa spoke about how a goal for the team was making it to the state championship this year.

“Pre-season is about laying out everything you have to get the win this year,” he said. “As we’re preparing for our 2023 season, our heads are looking [towards] playing [at] state. It’s what every Highland Park kid grows up [wanting].”

Another goal that was mentioned by Thompson was to remain injury-free this upcoming season.

“My biggest hope is that everybody stays healthy first and foremost, that’s every year,” Thompson said. “The injuries are things that really provide the biggest setback. These are young men that are aspiring to go on to college and to see injuries would be devastating in terms of Highland Park.”

Even more ambitiously, Pressler states that they want to be one of the top national lacrosse teams.

“Every year there’s a poll at the end of the year [that ranks] the top 25, nationally or public high school programs, and that’s where we want to be,” he said.

Although new to the team, Pressler has already made an impression on the players thanks to his commitment to putting the team on the path to success.

“This is my first year with [Pressler], but I can already tell [that he is] one of the best coaches I’ve had. He’s such a great leader,” Moussa said. “He’s super inspiring and his dedication to the game and his connections that he has with all his players is just so unique and something I’ve never seen before. He’s just really inspiring to me.”

The Varsity Blue and JV teams will be competing in their first game against Cypress Woods on February 18.

About the Contributor
Rohan Portteus
Rohan Portteus, Reporter
Who are your favorite music artists?  Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple, Fleetwood Mac Where's the next place on your travel bucket list and why?  Thailand to visit the elephant rehab centers. What causes are you passionate about? Gender inequalities.