Things will look quite different for the Susquehannock boys' lacrosse team this season.

A new head coach and three assistants will try and get a younger group back to the top of the YAIAA.

Former offensive coordinator Steve Marshner takes over for Russ LeBlanc as head coach of the reigning YAIAA tournament champions.

"When you lose two coaches like Russ LeBlanc and (former defensive coordinator) Scott Smith, you have challenges filling those shoes," Marshner said.

Grant Zimmerman, Zack Alark and former JV coach Gary Hartsock will try to fill the coaching void.

Zimmerman, who played at the University of North Carolina and was a team captain for the Tar Heels, will run the Warriors defense. Alark, who played for Stevenson University, will share the offensive duties with Hartsock.

"Our goal was to fill in the talent we lost at the coaching position, and we've done that," Marshner said.

Those coaches will inherit more underclassmen than usual for the Warriors.

"We are younger than we've ever been before," Marshner said. "We have less experience than we've had in the past. But, we're still talented."

One of the seniors that will be looked to lead the younger players is returning all-star Phil Norris, a team captain.

"It's a big responsibility," Norris said. "I have to lead the whole team. It's a young team. All the young players, they're going to be looking to slack off at times and we just have to be good role models for them."

They said it

YAIAA boys' lacrosse coaches took the time to answer some questions in our spring sports questionnaire. The following are a few of their outlooks on the upcoming season:

  • "Growing our new players, building chemistry and competing at the highest level is our biggest challenge." - Steve Marshner, Susquehannock
  • "In York County, anyone can beat anyone on any given day." - Chris Andrews, Dallastown
  • "We have a good young team, but only three returning varsity seniors and lots of young players. If we can get some younger players to step up, it will take pressure off our returning players." - Dan Quickel, West York
  • Norris set a tone last season for the Warriors, who finished 19-3 following a quarterfinal-round loss in the District 3 tournament.

    The center midfielder won 63 percent of his faceoffs and collected 134 ground balls last season.

    "I just really go after it. Every time the ball is on the ground, I just want it more than the other players," Norris said.

    Norris, who got into the sport by following his brother's lead, started playing in seventh grade. He took a year off but got back into it and has improved ever since.

    "At first, I didn't really like it. I picked it up after a few years," Norris said of lacrosse.

    The defending Division II champions, who were 10-0 in league play last year, have high expectations again.

    "As seniors, we've been in the playoffs and know what it's like," Norris said. "We know what intensity level we have to bring. All the other teams are going to be bringing it, too, so we just have to be prepared."

    Seniors John Chamberlin and Zach Speights will lead the attack for the Warriors. Junior Tom Nace returns at the midfield. Susquehannock, however, has to replace its top five defenders.

    "We're developing on the defensive side," Marshner said.

    The team is confident that as the season progresses, the younger players will mix well with veterans.

    "We want to repeat as (league) champions," Marshner said. "Even with the losses we've taken from the coaching staff, and we lost some fantastic seniors from last year, we're trying to get back to where we were or beyond."

    The Warriors want to focus on the regular season first. Then, should things work out, they will try to break that postseason habit.

    "In 2009, our first year, we were a strong team and lost in the second round of districts. The 2010 team, which was probably our strongest team, ended up taking a loss in the first round of districts," Marshner said. "Last year, we made it to the second round. So we're pretty consistent.

    "Our hurdle is to win that second game in districts."

    More spring sports previews:

    Cover story: For many girls' athletes, spring is just a part of it

    Baseball: West York catalyst Toomey still thinking diamonds

    Softball: York County Tech looking to take back Division IV with McLane

    Boys' track and field: William Penn's Posey aiming farther

    Girls' track and field: Janneh's New Oxford career almost didn't happen

    Girls' lacrosse: South Western's Szparaga determined to play

    Boys' tennis: For South Western's Meyer, it's a family thing

    Boys' volleyball: Gard, York Suburban have an itch to scratch

    Girls' soccer: Weikert helps Gettysburg take the offensive

    How does York County make net gains?