Player of the Year: Wittenberg keeps his wits after position change
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
June 12, 2014 04:01 AM | 1765 views | 2 2 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lucas Wittenberg
<Br>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
Lucas Wittenberg
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
slideshow
MARIETTA — Lucas Wittenberg was an effective attacker for Harrison’s lacrosse team the past two seasons.

In 2013, he was voted offensive most valuable player after leading the team with more than 40 goals.

But like any person committed to a certain sport, Wittenberg evolved and figured out a way to become an even better player.

“I think my best strength is dodging and shooting on the run,” Wittenberg said. “Last summer, I played with LB3, which is a club team in the area, and I got a lot better using my left hand, which is my off hand.”

Wittenberg’s offseason improvement allowed Harrison coach Jeff Meese to tinker with his 2014 lineup, moving Wittenberg from attack to midfield.

The results were evident.

Harrison went from winning 10 games in 2012 and 11 last season to 17 in 2014. The Hoyas totaled 196 goals and averaged 9.8 per game in 2013, then increased their output to 275 goals and 14.5 per game in 2014.

Harrison also won the Area 1AAAAAA championship and reached the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.

“We moved Lucas to midfield, and our offense started through him,” Meese said. “He has a great lacrosse IQ, and he has good vision. When he’s out there, he’s like a coach on the field. He knows where the ball needs to go. That was huge for us.”

Wittenberg’s goal-scoring production remained the same with the position change. But he became more adept at passing and finished the season with 44 goals and 40 assists while earning first-team all-state honors.

He is also the 2014 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.

“I was definitely surprised and honored, of course, because there are a ton of players across the county that I thought played a great season,” Wittenberg said of the award. “I never would have been able to accomplish what I did without a great group of teammates around me that fed me the ball and allowed me to shoot and do what I’m supposed to do.”

What Wittenberg did was make players around him better, and his offseason work was a huge part of that.

“I think that definitely helped me utilize more positions on the field this year,” Wittenberg said. “It allowed me to score some goals and feed to my teammates.

“I think I’m a pretty good passer with good vision on the field. I allow myself to move into a spot to get my teammates open.”

Meese counted on Wittenberg’s ability to improve the offense when he shifted the talented scorer into the midfield.

“We put in a new scheme prior to this year and added that to his improved passing game,” Meese said. “He didn’t lose any of his goal production from last year, and if teams tried to shut him down, we had guys who can pick up the slack because, even though Lucas would be shut down, everybody else would be available to score.

“(Wittenberg) has worked very hard. The kid plays year-round lacrosse and is starting to come into his own. He’s setting himself up for a great senior year.”

Wittenberg feels the same way about himself and his team.

“I was definitely excited and pleased with how the season went,” he said. “We didn’t reach our goal (of winning a state championship), but I think all the guys had their minds focused on one goal and that brought us closer as the season went on. We had key wins over teams like Walton, and Lassiter in the first round of the playoffs, and Westminster, who was predicted to be better than us, but we came out as a team and performed how we wanted to and won that game.

“I definitely came away from the season impressed at how we did, and I think we have the same amount of potential or more next year.”
Comments
(2)
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LAXPro
|
June 12, 2014
Congratulations, but what criteria does the MJD use to vote someone as the LAX player of the year? Other players scored double the amount of goals and were versatile in other positions.
freewilly
|
June 13, 2014
Assumption would be those player(s) scored twice as many against what kind of schedule opponents. Having high goal counts against mostly JV and sub-500 programs doesn't bode well in the selection process.
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