Expectations were high for Ethan Krauss as he headed into his junior year at Shawnee last season.
After losing his freshman year to the pandemic, Krauss led the Renegades in both goals and assists as a sophomore, with 39 and 48, respectively, to help the Renegades make a fourth consecutive sectional finals appearance during the 2020-’21 season.
So while Krauss’ coaches looked forward to the junior’s progress in his second season of varsity action, opposing teams also expected a lot from him, showing respect with double teams and special attention at all times.
“What we were looking for out of him was just him continuing to do what he did so well his sophomore year,” Shawnee head coach Don Green said. “Nobody really expected him to perform as well as he did during his first year, at least at the start of the season, but heading into this past season, every defense now knew he was a huge part of the puzzle towards our success that they needed to stop.”
Fortunately, Green said, Krauss’ versatility helped him find success in each game given what opposing defenses allowed him to do. In some games, Krauss was a facilitator, opening up chances for his teammates. In others, he would lead scoring by finding the holes on his own.
That led to Krauss improving upon his numbers from a season ago, registering 56 goals and 54 assists for a team-high 110 points during a season in which Shawnee captured its fourth-program sectional title with a 14-11 win over Clearview in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 Tournament championship game.
For that, Krauss is South Jersey Sports Weekly’s 2021-’22 Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.
Heading into the season, Krauss was obviously aware of the attention he’d receive from opposing defenses. He took it upon himself to work on maneuvering ways to score by taking different paths toward the net and working on shooting from different angles.
A big part of the picture would also require Krauss to pass off to teammates who would take a shot instead, something he was just as eager to work on and see happen.
“I tried to work on different ways to score all offseason, so that teams wouldn’t be able to scout me as easily, so I could still score in different ways than they planned for or were prepared for,” Krauss said. “But being able to pass off to the other guys was just as important, because by the end of the season, a lot of teams were doubling me or had different zones that stopped me from getting into the zone.”
Entering the season, Krauss and fellow teammates were eager to flip the script of Shawnee enduring four consecutive seasons of sectional championship losses. Ultimately, Krauss sought to be a better player who could help push the Renegades over the edge, something that had eluded them for a long time.
And he did just that.
“That’s what we were working for all offseason and during the regular season, especially after having lost the year before after we finally got to play again,” Krauss said. “Especially to be able to do that at home, there’s just no better feeling.
“It was definitely like a brotherhood … We were very close as the season went along,” he added. “We had such good chemistry together and kept building off that.
What Krauss has been able to do during his first two years on the field for Shawnee, Green said, has been impressive to say the least, and he did so while still getting comfortable and learning at the high-school level.
With one more year ahead of him, Green is excited to see the new senior put what he’s learned together for one final season.
“It’s been unbelievably exciting,” he said. “It’s crazy to think about what he’s done and what he can do in a senior season as he continues to mature and develop as a player.”