Unbeaten Tribe aiming for lacrosse title

Members of the Charleston Tribe gather around coach Justin Thomas before a game. Provided.

After coming up one win short the past two seasons, members of the Charleston Tribe boys' lacrosse team are determined not to let a third opportunity get away.

The Tribe consists of high school players primarily from Dorchester District 2 schools that don't field varsity lacrosse teams. The Tribe went 8-0 during the regular season and now begins its quest for the South Carolina Independent Lacrosse League championship.

The team plays Camden Military Academy at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Danny Jones Recreation Complex in North Charleston.

The Tribe defeated Camden Military 11-7 and 10-9 in previous meetings.

First-year team member Keegan Sell, a freshman at Ashley Ridge, said he hopes the Tribe's success will lead the school to adopt lacrosse.

"We've done very well and everyone is working together," Sell said. "I think we'll be able to win and give the seniors on our team what they've been looking for."

The winner of Friday's game will advance to the championship next weekend. The Tribe lost to Benedictine Military, no longer in the league, in the 2012 and 2013 championship games.

"We're hoping to win the whole thing," said Tribe head coach Justin Thomas. "The team we play, we already beat them twice. It's always up in the air, but we're ready for them.

"We lost a lot of seniors last year but we've managed to hold it together. We've only had two close games. Everyone is doing their part and everyone is stepping up."

In some ways this closes out an era for team president Peter Collins Jr., who began playing lacrosse for the Tribe and will be seeing the last of the players he coached on the middle school level, defender Carson Jones, graduate this year.

"This year they've kind of surprised me, but don't tell (the players) that," Collins said. "We lost a lot of seniors and experienced players and only had probably five or six core guys coming back. The rest of the kids had one year or no experience."

Junior goalie Cullen Rahman has been shutting opponents down, and Jourdain Mast, who was converted from defender to attack this year, has "been lighting it up," Collins said.

"I'm excited and nervous," Collins said. "We've been in the championship the last two years and dropped the ball. This is a big year for us, a chance to go back and win the whole thing. The league is more even this year as far as talent."