Preseason practices for any sport, at any level, always revolve around answering questions.
For most seasons the major questions center around personel placement and what combination of players will be the most effective.
For OFAs lacrosse coaches, Matt and Lauren Morley, the biggest question about their seasons is when will the Blue Devils Boys and Girls team start playing.
A dramatic departure from last season when the Blue Devil lax squad were able to hold the great majority of their preseason practices outside
And they arent alone.
Coaches all over Northern New York State, even those who have the benefit of artificial turf fields, are waiting for winter to release its grip.
The weather is extremely troubling for the OFA coaches as it is also delaying the resumption of the construction work on the track which encircles the Devils turf field which the lacrosse teams are scheduled to christen this spring.
Everything is up in the air it all depends on the weather, says Matt Morley.
Both OFA teams were scheduled to play four games before Spring Break on April 12. For now they are taking advantage of the indoor facilities at the Golden Dome and the Richard Lockwood Arena and waiting for the arctic air mass to retreat back to the poles.
OFA BOYS OUTLOOK
The OFA Boys have already seen a scrimmage at Massena cancelled and an opening game, on Monday, at the Raiders turf field postponed because of the prolonged winter. The Devils are scheduled to play at Canton today if conditions permit.
Coach Matt Morley calls his 2014 team a a great group of kids with tons of potential.
The first step toward realizing that potential is finding a successor for Spencer Lawrence who was a three-year starter in goal.
Spencer kept us in a lot of games in the past few seasons, says Morley who must also replace Jake Garrison on attack, Justin Feldt and Nick Perrigo in the midfield and defenders Christian Simmons, Chris Axtell and Nolan Rufa.
Returning to anchor this years team are: Andrew Roddy (Sr), Austin Putman (Jr) and David Prudhomme (Jr) on attack; defenders Burke Comeau (Jr) and Hayden Woods (Jr) and midfielders Nate Peo (Jr), Austin Morley-Sloan (Jr) who missed last season with an injury, Zach Montroy (Sr) and Taylor Richardson (Jr).
Montroy and sophomore Allen Smithers are practicing in goal while another netminding candidate junior Quinton Denner suffered a broken toe in an early practice. Other upper classmen on the squad are: Lane Hazelton (Jr D) and Brian Mills (Jr M).
First year players on the squad are: senior Aaron Peo (D, MF), sophomore Jayce Gaines (MF) and freshmen Dallas Ashley (MF), Max Ahrens (MF), Austin Murdock (MF) and Aidan Putman (A/MF).
The OFA modified team, which drew a turnout of 40 players, will be coached this season by former SUNY Potsdam standout Matt Curatolo.
Coach Lauren Morley feels that her team has the ingredients for a successful season but saw her preseason plans hindered when a multi-team scrimmage on Saturday at SUNY Potsdam was lost to a winter storm.
The Devils are scheduled to open their season next week.
We have three players in Mackenzie Bresett, Sky Hoover and Courtney Sherwin who I will feel will step up and become excellent leaders. Kaylee LOrange is extremely fast and we have two freshmen in Taylor Smith and Kelsi Donaldson who will give us the size which we have been lacking in recent years, said Morley.
And getting Brooke Badlam back after missing last season because of knee surgery will be a big plus plus for us.
Badlam will team with Sherwin to anchor the defense while Bresett, Hoover, Donaldson, LOrange and Smith are all expected to play in a deep midfield-defender corps with Hunter Shaver (Sr), Anna Couperus (Jr), Danielle Guimond (MF), Lexi Kennedy (So), Abby Marshall (Fr) and Julia Mullin (Jr).
Other returning defenders are: Shania Benson (Sr) and Janelle Cordwell (Jr). Maggie Peo (Fr) is a first year member of the rear guard. Shaver and Donaldson are also projected to play in the attack along with Courtney Brabant (So), Gary Garrison (Sr), Janelle LaRue (Sr), Paige McCarney (Sr) and Kiana Zulauf (Jr).
Sophomore Marissa Foster will start her second season as the starting goaltender.
NOTE: Former OFA standouts Chelsea Martin, Nikki Holmes and Kaitlin Sheppard are playing collegiately at SUNY Cortland, SUNY Canton and Cazenovia.