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Youth Sports

Spring Hill brothers are dedicated to lacrosse

SPRING HILL

There are two brothers. • One listens to rock. The other listens to rap. One loves school. The other not so much. One is short, muscular. The other, tall and lanky. • Two brothers, different in so many ways, but alike in their sport: lacrosse. • Marcus and Eddie Kubica Jr. have been playing since the Hernando Lacrosse Club started five years ago, and since then, they have both taken to the field like fish to water. As starting goaltenders, both wearing No. 13, Marcus and Junior, 16 and 14, respectively, have become two of the shining stars of the local club.

Marcus, a junior at Central High, has prioritized lacrosse as one of the most important things in his life. Last week, Central had its prom and Marcus opted out so he could play the game the next morning.

The Crusaders are 1-8 this season after losing a crop of seniors last season, but Marcus has kept them in many games, facing close to 60 shots while in the net. With more than half a roster of freshmen and sophomores, he has his hands full.

"(Marcus is) in a difficult situation because we have a very young team," Crusaders coach Greg Longo said. "That's led to some difficulty in competing in games against some of the more established programs."

Junior, an eighth-grader at Explorer K-8, has become the club's jack-of-all-trades. His talent has shined through at both the middle school and junior varsity levels. He is the starting goalie for the middle school Crusaders, boosting a save percentage of more than .800. Longo thinks he has the talent to compete at the varsity level as a freshman next season.

He has also been known to play in spot action for the junior varsity Crusaders. Junior has taken advantage of every opportunity, scoring six goals while playing midfield.

Allen Long, an assistant coach for the program, is a member of both the University of Maryland and the U.S. Lacrosse halls of fame. He was the captain of Team USA in the 1970s. According to Eddie Kubica Sr., Long said Junior has the talent to play Division I lacrosse in college.

Lacrosse took a backseat this year when Eddie Sr. began experiencing health issues. He has suffered from migraines for years and began to have seizures. It's under control now, but for about six months, their father's health weighed heavily on their minds.

"It was hard on them," Eddie Sr. said. "They kept their focus on the field and went out and played harder."

Even through that, the Kubica brothers gave their all, playing and practicing four to five days a week at Veterans Park in Spring Hill.

For the past two years, Marcus and Junior have been a part of a competitive travel league during the summer. With the Tampa Sand Sharks and Wesley Chapel Tribe, the Kubicas have both gained valuable experience, even squaring off against each other at one point.

The healthy rivalry has made them both better players and kept them closer to their family. On most days, Ocean Kubica, Marcus and Junior's 5-year-old sister, will be learning lacrosse from her brothers in the back yard.

She even has her own little Hernando Lacrosse Club uniform she wears to her brothers' games, and she intends on following in her brothers' footsteps and playing goalie on the girls' team when she's old enough.

"It's really fun and (it's) something that brings us all together," Marcus said. "(Ocean) always us questions because she just wants to learn."

Submit feedback, story ideas to communitysports@tampabay.com.

Fast facts

Marcus and Eddie Kubica Jr.

Ages: 16, 14

Schools, grades: Central High, junior; Explorer K-8, eighth grade

Team: Hernando Lacrosse Club Crusaders. Marcus play on varsity, while Junior plays on the middle school and JV squad.

Positions: Both play goalie; Junior also plays some midfield.

Spring Hill brothers are dedicated to lacrosse

04/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 2, 2009 7:47pm]
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