Boys Lacrosse: Senior quartet playing in harmony for Hilliard Bradley Jaguars

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Bradley seniors Zach Lehman (left), Liam Kennedy, Nathan Alting and Max Williams have been playing lacrosse together since the third grade.

The Hilliard Bradley boys lacrosse program has a first-year coach in Jalen Jackson and numerous young players who lost a season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Jaguars also have four seniors who almost always have a sense for where the others will be on the field and what they’ll be doing next. It is the kind of intuition that comes from playing together on the same team since the third grade.

Attackers Nathan Alting and Max Williams, defender Zach Lehman and goalie Liam Kennedy are rarely out of touch.

“Over the years, Liam and I have kind of formed into like ‘Hall & Oates’ on the defensive end of the field,” Lehman said. “We’re a group where Liam and I know each other, and we have high expectations for each other on the field.”

Just as Kennedy and Lehman have a defensive bond, Alting and Williams share a similar awareness as attackers.

“We’ve played together for so long,” Alting said. “I know where he’s going to be. It’s easier when I don’t have to think about it too much.”

Williams said playing together comes down to trust, and he’s built that trust with Alting.

“For me at least, I know where Nathan is on the field,” said Williams, who scored in an 11-3 loss to Darby on April 6. “We always trust each other and know we can make plays. The big thing is trust.”

After playing together for nine years, Kennedy said communication is better among the four. They know what each is thinking, especially Lehman on the defensive end.

“I’ve got to lead the defense, so I do my best to move the pieces where they need to be,” Kennedy said. “A lot of times I can rely on Zach. We talk through things together. Sometimes I might need to slide earlier (for a save), and he can see it quicker than I can.”

Jackson said the four are natural leaders for the Jaguars, keeping their teammates’ heads up during tough stretches.

“The communication and leadership they bring and their bringing everyone together was huge, especially because we didn’t have a season last year,” said Jackson, whose team was 1-7 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Davidson on April 20. “They really brought everyone together. They get the boys talking, and they get their heads up. They’re good at being positive.”

The Jaguars gave Jackson his first win with an 8-5 victory over visiting Licking Valley on April 8.

“I thought getting that first win helped us see what we have as a team and what we can do together when we put 100 percent effort into it,” Lehman said. “It can only help us get better, not just as a team but as individuals. I think that win really helped raise the expectations because we showed our true potential.”

Lehman is glad to be back after missing much of the past two seasons. He dealt with mononucleosis and a concussion as a sophomore before his junior year was wiped out by the pandemic.

“Missing last year was really tough, especially because of missing so much of my sophomore year,” he said. “Last year meant a lot to me, and it meant a lot to the 2020 seniors that didn’t get to play. I think the 2021 class plays for that class last year.

“Over the years, Max, Nate and Liam have formed a brotherhood, and I know I can rely on them to have my back and they have mine. We’ve developed the same instincts and we know how each other play and it kind of helps us as a unit on the whole. It makes us better lacrosse players.”

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