By John Philip Wyllie
Over the years, Mt. Carmel High School senior, Alex Sainz has enjoyed playing football and soccer, but he has discovered his real passion with lacrosse.
“I didn’t know anything about lacrosse when I arrived here as a freshman, but it is like a combination of several other sports. Now it’s my primary interest. I work on it throughout the (high school) off-season. It’s pretty much my life. I go to a lot of clinics and work very hard on it,” Sainz said.
His work rate and aggressiveness are obvious. And despite being one of the smaller players on the team, Sainz doesn’t back down from anyone. That tenacity and toughness are two of the things that have made him a Sundevil captain.
“Alex Sainz has great leadership qualities,” according to his coach Nate Williams. “He keeps the other players in line and makes sure that everybody is doing what they are supposed to be doing. “His hustle, his tenacity in going for the ball and his refusal to quit are what keep him in a leadership role. As a junior last year he finished third or fourth in scoring, so we are expecting him to rank near the top again this year. He could go on and play with anybody on a college level right now.”
As a flank midfielder or midi, Sainz is required to do a lot of running throughout the course of every game. That requires stamina and conditioning. He feels his team has an advantage when it comes to that. His coaches all have military backgrounds. One of them in fact, just returned from Iraq.
“I think it is a good thing for any coach to have a military background. They know a lot about discipline and conditioning. We get more of that from them than we would from most other coaches. That is what lacrosse is all about. If you can outlast the other team, you can usually beat them.” The Sundevils did that Tuesday night when they opened their 2007 campaign with a thorough 9-3 trouncing of Otay Ranch.
Once their league season begins several weeks from now, winning will become a lot more difficult. Paired with powerhouses such as Poway and Rancho Bernardo in the brutal Palomar League, the Sundevils will face some of the best teams in the county. It is difficult to compete skill-wise against teams whose athletes have been playing since they were little kids. But they gain a certain measure of satisfaction knowing that they can compete with just about anyone when it comes to conditioning and toughness.
Coming from Mexico, Sainz father grew up with a passion for playing soccer. From an early age he encouraged his son to pursue it as well, but when the younger Sainz instead latched on to lacrosse, dad was quickly won over.
“It’s not exactly the same, but lacrosse is pretty close to soccer. I think he enjoys coming out to watch me do something that he knows I really enjoy.”