Marvin Ridge Boys Lacrosse Looks To Defend State Championship

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At A Glance
Marvin Ridge Boys Lacrosse
Conference: Southern Carolina Conference
Coach: Kevin Mack
Between the Lines: Marvin Ridge is the defending 1A/2A/3A state champion boys lacrosse state champion, which was the first for the school. … Head coach Kevin Mack is in his first year. Mack was an assistant coach for the Mavericks for two seasons before replacing John Dodd. Marvin Ridge has been to the state championship game three times since starting boys lacrosse in 2009.
Some of the names have changed but the expectations remain the same for the Marvin Ridge boys lacrosse team.
A year ago, the third time was the charm for Marvin Ridge as the Mavericks used a late season surge to win the Class 1A/2A/3A Boys Lacrosse State Championship after finishing as the state runner-up in 2014 and 2015.
Graduation took its toll on the Mavericks roster but first-year coach Kevin Mack said expectations are still high. Marvin Ridge has all new names on defense and the Mavericks have a sophomore in goal. But five seniors and a strong junior class dot the roster and that has Mack looking towards another strong postseason run.
Mack was the assistant coach at the school in 2015 and 2016 when the Mavericks advanced to the state championship game both years.
“We have a younger team and there has been a learning curve for some of us,” Mack said. “I feel we will be a good team and a tough get come playoff time. Any time you have a program that we have built here at Marvin Ridge, it’s high expectations. We expect to compete at the state championship level. We want to uphold that.
“With the team that we have, those expectations are good. We worked hard in the offseason and we dedicated a lot of time to the weights. We are young but I think it is going to start clicking for us.””
Marvin Ridge was 7-4 overall and 3-1 in the Southern Carolina Conference heading into a nonconference game with Charlotte Catholic on April 7. Marvin Ridge is averaging 13 goals a game while surrendering seven an outing.
“We are doing well,” Mack said. “We have lost a couple of tight ones this year against some good opponents. But I think we are moving in the right direction. Our young defense is getting some good experience. Offensively, we are starting to find our identity. We just need to keep on fighting.”
Seniors Ben Cook and Cole Curran and sophomore Justin Moore are the new starters on defense. Sophomore Tucker Duplessis is in goal after gaining some experience in the net as a freshman. Duplessis has 60 saves on the year.
“We are getting better, and they are working better as a unit,” Mack said. “Our goalie is stepping up and making some good saves.”
Junior Cam Renner leads the Mavericks offensive attack with 21 goals while senior Jeff Palombella has 20 goals. Junior Andy Walker has added 19 goals while senior Luke Halodik has chipped in 16
“Andy Walker is having a great year,” Mack said. “Andy just got promoted to team captain. We are also getting good leadership from the senior class. Palombella is a great finisher for us.”
Marvin Ridge has three critical games left including a showdown with league leader and nationally ranked Weddington on April 21. The game with Weddington could determine the league champion.
“We lost a close one to Weddington,” Mack said. “Our conference is competitive, but that will be an upside come playoff time.”
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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at