Cherokee off to fast start

Cherokee's Jordan Krug (6) beats Cherry Hill East goalie Jesse Viggiano for a first-period goal. AKIRA SUWA / Staff
Cherokee's Jordan Krug (6) beats Cherry Hill East goalie Jesse Viggiano for a first-period goal. AKIRA SUWA / Staff
Posted: April 07, 2014

Since his freshman year, Trevor Osler has been hearing about the Cherokee boys' lacrosse team's Class of 2015, the class just behind his.

Those juniors are lauded for their depth, their talent, their chemistry . . .

The praise is well-deserved, Osler conceded, but some perspective is in order:

"I feel like I have to point out," the senior attack said with a grin, "when we were sophomores and they were freshmen, our class won the freshmen-sophomore game. Just thought I needed to throw that out there."

This is the season the Chiefs have waited for. The ultra-talented Class of 2015 is now a veteran group. The senior class is strong, and there is a solid core of freshmen and sophomores to complement them.

Saturday, the Chiefs again justified their high expectations. Cherokee jumped out to a six-goal, first-quarter lead and cruised to a 15-3 win over visiting Cherry Hill East (1-2).

"This is the deepest team we've ever had," Chiefs coach Pete Corelli said.

Cherokee, the fourth-ranked team in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, improved to 2-0. In their opener, the Chiefs took a 6-0, first-quarter lead over Jackson Memorial in a 14-3 win.

"We always want to get after teams right away, control the pace," said attack Jordan Krug, who scored a team-high six goals, including three in the first quarter. Osler chipped in with three scores.

Krug led the Chiefs with 48 points last year, and he is part of a junior class that includes Arizona State recruit Ryan Vallen, a midfielder; starting goalie Grey Clarkson; and midfielder Timmy Carroll.

Krug estimates he played with at least eight of his current teammates before high school for the Medford Youth Lacrosse program. The group was notably dominant among youth leagues in its eighth-grade year.

"All of us are close, and I think that translates onto the field," Krug said. "A lot of us work together year-round. It's all those things we do outside of practices and games that really makes us better."

After establishing itself as one of South Jersey's best programs, Cherokee won a combined six games in 2010 and 2011.

In 2012, the Class of 2015's first year, the Chiefs went 10-9. Last year, they were 12-5.

This year, they're pushing to be among the area's elite.

And they're off to a good start.

"The best thing is, we haven't seen any selfishness," Corelli said. "When you have a deep team, there could be animosity. But these guys love each other, they're close, they thrive on getting everybody involved, and that's what's going to lead to our success."

Cherry Hill East 1 1 0 1 - 3

Cherokee 6 5 4 0 - 15

Goals: CHE-Brandon Stern 2, Matt Stern; C-Jordan Krug 6, Trevor Osler 4, Timmy Carroll 2, Zackry Grace, Ryan Seward, Tim Richards.

Saves: CHE-Jesse Viggiano 13; C-Grey Clarkson 5.

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