It's all working out for Archer, Carter
Charlie Archer has had more playing time than expected. Play Video
Charlie Archer has had more playing time than expected.
Charlie Archer didn’t know what to expect. Ben Carter didn’t know what to expect and their coaches sure didn’t know what to expect.

Archer and Carter are a pair of freshman defensemen who have found themselves on the field much more than either could have dreamed this season for the JU men’s lacrosse team but, so far, everything is working out fine for all concerned as the team heads toward its final regular season game Saturday at home.

“We’ve turned to these two guys and they’ve split that position and they bring different things to the table,’’ coach Guy Van Arsdale said. “It’s tough as a freshman defender because playing defense at this level is so much more complex. You don’t just worry about your man, there are so many other responsibilities and so many things you need to learn to become part of a unit rather than just a defender.’’

For their part, Archer and Carter were only looking to make some kind of impact when they got here. Having been recruited by the former coaching staff only to walk in to a new coaching staff only heightened their unknown.

Carter, from South Burlington, Vt., was recruited prior to his senior high school season by Matt Kerwick and arrived on campus to Van Arsdale.

“I didn’t know what to expect with a new coach, but after playing fall ball I liked new coaches,’’ he said. “I like coach Van’s style of play, I like how he is gets us ready. It has become easier because all the relationships (with coaches and teammates) are better.’’

Nonetheless, he had short expectations.

“I didn’t expect anything,’’ he said. “I wanted a lot of playing time but didn’t expect anything. I was going to work hard and hope for the best.’’

The hard work is noticed by defensive coach Jake Baxter.

“He’s one of the more athletic defenders on the team and he’s a tough kid,’’ Baxter said. “He goes in there and can mix it up. He knocks kids down and if there’s a loose ball in the crease you know he’s probably coming out of that pile with it. It’s a great spark having him come off the bench.’’

Archer, from Wilmington, N. C., had some second thoughts, not many mind you, but mostly in the idea of keeping options open. He and his dad, Harry, carefully assessed the situation and decided to stick with the Dolphins.

“We took our time to think about it and weigh options and see if there were places to go if wanted to switch,’’ he said. “And to do it without it being a complete disaster. I’m glad I stayed.’’

As with Carter, Archer was hoping to get any field time and was shocked when two days before the nationally televised Navy game was told he was starting.

“That came out of the blue,’’ he said. I

t also answered nervous questions he had had when he began his career.

“I really had no idea, we honestly had no idea what to expect at all,’’ he said. “I hadn’t known coach Van Arsdale or Coach Baxter so we were all pretty nervous. I can remember at the beginning of the year wondering what it was going to be like and whether we were going to enjoy it at all.’’

On top of that, he was learning a new position going from long-stick middie to close defense.

“He’s a very intelligent off-ball player and he knows the defense in and out,’’ Baxter said. “He’s out there communicating and when he’s communicating our defense is running smoothly. It’s pretty remarkable for a freshman to go out there with that leadership. With him, you look at film, not stats.’’

That’s not to say they are perfect players, but they are working to lessen the miscues.

“Of course, you are going to be a little hesitant with them because freshmen are going to make mistakes,’’ Baxter said. “You hope they keep learning ftp, what they’re doing and those mistakes get fixed from week to week. The playing time they’re getting right now will be invaluable in the next two, three, four seasons.’’

With that, the comfort factor of playing the freshmen is becoming greater and expectations are changing.

“You can see week to week that they’re figuring it out,’’ Van Arsdale said. “We’ve thrown those two guys to the fire and they’ve really come together in good ways to split the time and they’re very supportive of one another.’’

- Jim Nasella