Not too long ago, Bellaire’s lacrosse program was on the verge of being non-existent.
Before that could happen, Nick Ignatiev was brought in to try and save a program at a school with a special place in his heart.
“I graduated from Bellaire in 1990,” Ignatiev said. “It was important for me to come back and support my alma mater.”
Ignatiev is in his first season at Bellaire. As expected when bringing in a new system, some players will buy in and others won’t. Those who didn’t buy in chose not to play, but that hasn’t caused Bellaire to miss a beat.
As a Division III lacrosse team, Bellaire is the top-ranked squad in their division.
What’s most unique is that Bellaire is winning with players who are from different walks of life and who aren’t experienced at playing lacrosse.
After football season, Bellaire’s left tackle Juan Sandoval came over to lacrosse as a newcomer.
Though in lacrosse they wear shoulder pads and a helmet, Sandoval said he has struggled with not making football-like hits in his new sport.
“I have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I have to work on not hitting opponents in the head, but other than that it’s been fun. I’m making friends plus getting stronger and faster.”
Other players who play intricate roles for Bellaire are Derek Adrion – the captain and “heart and soul” of the team. Brothers Jared Cordova and Jakin Cordova are the offensive and defensive juggernauts of the team, respectively. Also key is Richard Falloure, the most consistent player, along with Xander Fell.
Fell starts as the quarterback/ point guard of the team, which is a big deal since he is a freshman on varsity. Ignatiev said Fell is the most coachable player he’s ever had.
“We’re by far the most diverse team in the league by background, by ethnicity, by race and by experience,” Ignatiev said about his team. “That’s what makes it fun. Those guys don’t care where they came from, they’re all together as a team now and they’re all working hard.”
This article appears in the April Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!