Southeast Raleigh junior Kyle Muhs and sophomore Andrew Protz were unaware their school once fielded a competitive boys lacrosse program until it was shut down six years ago.
All they knew was they loved the sport and attended a school that lacked a program. They didn’t even know each other until one day Muhs wore lacrosse shorts to school. They had a Spanish class together.
“Until then I thought I was the only guy in the school that played lacrosse,” Protz said.
They began talking about how nice it would be to have a team. Then Muhs spoke with Doug Greenberg, his 919 Elite Lacrosse coach. Greenberg told him about how he founded the sport at Southeast Raleigh before he left the school to start the Holly Springs program.
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Greenberg encouraged Muhs to start a team. The first step was Muhs and Proctor taking a petition around school.
“We got about 80 kids to sign it,” Muhs said. “We took it to principal Candis Jones, and she was very supportive. The whole administration has been supportive.”
The next step was Michael Smith taking the job as the head coach, although if you watch the Bulldogs play a match, you can see how the players are all ears when they gather around Muhs in a team huddle.
“He definitely has a coaching presence,” Protz said.
Smith played lacrosse in high school in Pennsylvania before he served 12 years with three tours in Iraq. He got back in touch with the sport through coaching. He was an assistant at Wake Forest last year and planned to coach the Athens Drive JV team this year before the Southeast opportunity arose.
“When I first talked to the kids I told them we’re going to lose games, but our team motto is ‘fearless,’ ” he said. “I want them not to be afraid to lose and then good things are going to happen. ... We’ll take it one step at a time and keep improving. I think with the kids coming into the program we’ll be competitive. I’m committed, and the kids are working hard.”
The Bulldogs lost their first eight matches until Muhs scored four goals in a 5-4 win in a match Friday over Southern Durham. It was the first win since the 2007 season – Southeast Raleigh was winless from 2008-11.
Protz thinks tasting victory boosts the team’s confidence.
“That was some of the best lacrosse we played,” he said. “It was a good game. It don’t matter how good the teams were. We matched up. Hopefully this helps us the rest of the year and next year.”