By Greg Gielczyk

MUSKEGON — Three years ago, Mona Shores’ boys lacrosse team was 1-17 and among the bottom teams in the state.

A lot has changed since then.

Following a victory over Reeths-Puffer, a Tier 2 team, on Saturday the Sailors, who compete in Tier 3 improved their record to 8-1 with their only loss coming by one goal and they were recently given a No. 3 ranking in Region 1 of Division 1.

Competition in the Sailors’ region includes Rockford, Grandville, West Ottawa, Hudsonville, Grand Haven and Zeeland.

“There’s some pretty experienced and high level lacrosse teams in our region,” noted Sailors’ head coach Murle Greer. “There’s no easy road to the finals, that’s for sure.”

Several players are committed to continuing their lacrosse careers in college, with more that certainly appear to be following in their footsteps in the future.

While a team effort, the Sailors’ success can be directly attributed to nine different players who all contribute to the score, and who also played a lot of defense against the Rockets.

“They did a lot of hard work between the lines in our ride and faceoff games,” said Greer. “The defense continues to play strong, holding another opponent under 10 goals.”

Senior attacker Landon Taylor, the team’s scoring leader this season, accounted for six goals against the Rockets while junior attacker Luke Beilhartz contributed three goals.

Brayton Conrad, another junior attacker, scored two goals and added two assists. Sophomore midfielder Hayden Terpstra had two goals and an assist.

Mona Shores sophomore Andrew Baker led the team in groundballs with eight, and junior goalie Parker Hayward finished with 12 saves.

“It’s definitely going our way,” Geer said. “We’re pretty happy with where we are, and excited about the competition coming up. We have a couple guys who are high level players for sure.

“But, I think the strength of our team is really the amount of weapons that we have. We are in deep in guys who can score goals, and give assists.

“Our number one weapon, and our strength, is our diversity on the offensive side. On top of that, we definitely have some guys who are talented lacrosse players.”

Greer says that Taylor scored 87 points, combining goals and assists, last year.

Hayward has a 64 percent save average in goal this season, which Greer is among the best in the state.

“He’s a leader on the team,” added Greer. “He brings a lot of emotion and energy to our team. He goes above and beyond what’s expected of him.”

Mona Shores has had to compete in play-in games to make the playoffs the last two seasons.

The Sailors’ goal this season is to finish in the top half of the region so they could host a playoff game, and they are in good shape to do so.

It’s a light week for the Sailors, as they travel to Northview on Wednesday looking to stay unbeaten in the conference, and then they travel Spring Lake on Saturday afternoon.