ADAMS TWP — A number of great players have passed through the Mars boys lacrosse program.
As far as single seasons go, Mike Doyle has put himself at the top of that list.
This spring, the senior member of the team's attack and third-year starter has broken Mars records for points (131), goals (83) and assists (48) in one campaign. Blake Thompson (Class of 2016) previously held the first two standards while Joe Horvat (2017) had the record for assists.
And Doyle isn't done yet. He and the Planets open play in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday.
“I knew what the numbers were before the start of the season, but breaking them wasn't a goal of mine,” said Doyle. “I knew it was a possibility, but it didn't really cross my mind until I got close.”
Doyle was a key member of last year's team that won the Planets' third straight WPIAL championship.
“His play as a junior was fantastic,” said Mars coach Bob Marcoux, “but he was more of a distributor. Cade Hetzler and Anthony Grieco, those two guys were the finishers.”
But Hetzler and Grieco both graduated and the Planets were in need of star power in the scoring department. Marcoux believed he had found his man long before the season started.
“Last fall, he played really well in the few games we had,” he said. “Then I saw him in the weight room over the winter. He put on 15 pounds of muscle and there was no doubt in my mind he was going to be able to take the next step.”
Doyle displayed his ability to dominate games early on this season, scoring nine times in a win over Gateway in March. In 18 regular-season games, he scored at least five goals 10 times.
His improved physique has had the most to do with his stellar season.
“I got a lot stronger and my shot has improved, just from that,” he said. “I also worked on passing with my teammates. This is the kind of season I was hoping to have after putting in that hard work.”
It's that work ethic that not only has helped Doyle reach a new level, but serves as an example for his teammates.
“It's nice when your best player is also your hardest worker,” said Marcoux. “Mike makes the other players raise their game to keep up with him. He received the most votes for team captain this year and is ultra-competitive.”
Doyle, who has committed to play at Division II University of Indianapolis, knows his personal success is due in part to the talent around him.
“The better teams try to stay on me a little more,” he said, “but when I get attention, it opens things up for our other guys. Chris Sicher, Garrett Reinke, Austin Cote, Wes Scurci, Zane Mundy, Jack Rice ... they've all played well. Chris was given the opportunity to step up this year and has done a great job of both scoring and feeding.”
Doyle is also on the verge of breaking the Planets' career records for goals and points. Grieco currently holds both at 210 and 293, respectively. Doyle has 191 and 288.
But the latter's focus is on what he and his teammates can accomplish. The Planets (15-3) won a fourth straight section title this season and are eyeing a fourth straight WPIAL title after graduating 18 seniors from last year's team.
“We had a lot of players moving into new roles and they were just trying to find their way at the start of the season,” said Doyle. “We have adjusted, though. We just played our best game of the season (a 16-4 win over Upper St. Clair on Thursday). We have a lot of great athletes and work well together.”