Tornado turn-around
Revitalized Butler lacrosse team rolls, 11-2

By Derek Pyda 
Eagle Staff Writer 

BUTLER TWP — What a difference a shot of confidence can make. 
The Butler boys lacrosse team was coming off a 4-13 campaign and with a slew of underclassmen on this year's roster, the team's confidence level entering this season was, as senior goalie Brandon Martin put it, “pretty low”. 
But the Golden Tornado posted a 9-8 win over Bethel Park in the season-opener March 24. 
“That was uplifting for us. Last year, it was silent in here after games,” said Martin, standing outside a spirited Golden Tornado locker room following Butler's 11-2 win over Franklin Regional at Art Bernardi Stadium Wednesday night. 
It was the Tornado's third win in four games this season. 
“We're a young team with just six seniors,” said first-year Butler coach Michael Courteau. “But the talent is there, we just need to grow as a team. 
“We worked a lot on fundamentals in the practices leading up to the season,” he added. “We needed the guys to implement those things in the games.” 
The team's latest performance can't hurt. The Tornado (3-1, 1-1) outshot the Panthers 29-14 in the first three quarters, after which Butler led 11-1. 
Leading the way was Sam Lex with four goals. Gavin Terwilliger and Jake Lex both scored twice in the rout. Andrew Monks, Ben Kranbacher and Nico Cicco also found the net. 
“We played a full 48 minutes,” said Courteau. “Offense, defense, faceoffs, special teams, everybody was on point tonight.” 
The Tornado have scored 29 goals in their three victories. In 2015, Butler managed five or less goals in seven contests. 
“We are communicating more on the field so far this year,” said Sam Lex. “We're working more as a unit.” 
“We had a few key players last year,” said Martin, but didn't play well as a team.” 
Martin tallied 10 saves against Franklin Regional while receiving solid defensive play from his teammates, including Ryan Crawford, Jacob Tilko, Danny Coleman, Evan Suter and Logan Dubyak. 
“The defense is playing really well,” said Martin, “the best it's been in the last three years.” 
Courteau was an assistant on the 2014 Butler squad. 
“I knew some of this year's players when they were younger,” said Courteau. He knows the goalie position is in good hands with Martin, who was working on a shutout Wednesday until Franklin Regional's Luke Myers scored with 1:57 left in the third quarter. 
Brandon is a three-year starter,” Courteau said. “He's not only good at stopping shots, but is doing a better job of commanding the defense this season.”