West York’s Steven Wilson goes through drills during a recent lacrosse practice. Wilson got into lacrosse to stay in shape for football, but the
West York's Steven Wilson goes through drills during a recent lacrosse practice. Wilson got into lacrosse to stay in shape for football, but the sport soon became a passion. (GameTimePA.com - Jason Plotkin)

Related: Matt Goul previews the boys' lacrosse season on the Varsity Beat blog.

What began as a way for West York's Steven Wilson to improve his football skills became a passion.

"At first I just wanted to do it to get in condition for football and be in shape," he said of his introduction to the sport. "Then I started liking it even more, and it turned out I was better at lacrosse than I am at football."

Now it is the sport Wilson plans to play in college; he verbally agreed to attend and play for Cabrini College in the fall.

And it's not the glory of flinging goals into the cage that gets the speedster going. Wilson is a defender who takes his job -- usually guarding the opposition's most dangerous offensive threat -- seriously.

As an assistant coach the first three years of the Bulldogs' program, first-year head coach Rodney Tamblin has seen what Wilson can do in West York's end.

"Steven comes to me and says, 'Coach, I want their best offensive player,'" Tamblin said. "As a junior last year saying that is what he wants to do, I put him on that guy. As far as other teams, they know their best offensive player will get Steven.

"Matchups are huge, they can be the deciding factor in every game. He sets the standards."

"In defense you always have to be on your guy, remember where you guy is. (Allowing) a goal is very crucial in the world of lacrosse," Wilson said. "You have to communicate. You have to make sure you and your goalie are on the same page, that you (and) the other defensive players are on same page."

Wilson is just one of several Bulldogs returning from last year's YAIAA Division II championship team. Returning starters include Tanner Gerace, Nick Wilker, Austin Groff, Seth Clauser and Trevor Smith.

Still, while Clauser (41 goals) Gerace (24) and Wilker (22) return a fair amount of offense, the Bulldogs will try to find someone to fill the shoes of Division II Player of the Year, Klayton Garman, who led the YAIAA in goals last year with 60.

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  • "Klayton is a player you can't replace," Tamblin said. "We looked to him for a lot of shots, now we will ask our other key guys to step up, like Seth Clauser. Now it is his turn to step up and show what he learned. We've got a lot of key starters returning."

    And no one is likely to feel sorry for the Bulldogs, who won their division crown in only the third season of varsity play. Lacrosse is already achieving similar success to the other sports at West York.

    "It feels great. Last year was the third year we had a team. The first year we won two games," Tamblin said. "To make a statement like we did last year, we wanted our program to stand out and continue what (former Bulldogs coach Dan) Quickel started and expand upon it."

    Wilson is confident that he and the 2013 squad can add another title to its resume. Part of the key may be dealing with high expectations.

    "This year because we have a lot of returning players, we have really good returning team chemistry," Wilson said. "We are looking to take this team far."
    @stevenavaroli; 771-2060

    Daily Record/Sunday News 2012 boys' lacrosse All-Stars