Quaker Valley tabs Bliss as boys lacrosse coach
For the first time since the program’s beginning, the Quaker Valley boys lacrosse team has named a new coach.
Kyle Bliss, an assistant with the team for the past two seasons, was selected to replace Bill Marcotte, who stepped down in August after 10 years as head coach, Quaker Valley announced last week.
“This is a great opportunity for Kyle to build upon two successful seasons,” Quaker Valley athletic director Mike Mastroianni said. “His familiarity with our students and the program enables us to continue this positive momentum.”
The Quakers reached the WPIAL Division 2 championship in Bliss’ first season on staff, ultimately losing to Seton-La Salle, but got over the hump in his second season, defeating Indiana in the final to claim their first title.
Bliss is the latest of a recent influx to the WPIAL of young coaches with a playing background. He started his playing career at Seton Hall Preparatory School in New Jersey before continuing at Denison University in Ohio.
After graduating in 2011, he spent a year coaching the freshman team at his former high school, helping him to identify with the love Marcotte had for the Quaker Valley program, Bliss said.
“It’s kind of an interesting setup, because Bill built the program from nothing,” he said. “You can tell the tremendous care he had, It’s kind of his baby.”
As Marcotte led the Quakers to a WPIAL championship last season, Bliss was one of a select few who were aware that his 10th season as coach would be his last.
The two had been in discussions about Bliss succeeding Marcotte throughout the season, and it was Marcotte’s tutelage in the relational aspects of coaching that gave his assistant the confidence to take his spot, Bliss said.
After Marcotte built the program, Bliss helped elevate it to a championship level. His knowledge of the game and ability to manipulate Xs and Os was quickly put to use, as he designed the Quaker’s offensive and defensive systems for the past two seasons in which they went a combined 31-4.
He now hopes to assert the Quakers as yearly contenders.
“That’s something I’ve been talking to the school about with Mike Mastroianni, as well as Bill, is building that fluidity throughout the program, where it’s just a new grade steps up every year,” Bliss said.
Even in just two seasons, his track record of being able to do just that is proven.
When Bliss joined the coaching staff in 2013, the team had to replace six senior starters from the 2012 season in which the Quakers lost in the second round of the playoffs.
“(Marcotte) said there were going to be a lot of new people, and it was going to be a rebuilding year,” Bliss said. “It turned out being — at the time — our most successful season.”
Bliss had more seniors to replace in 2013 than the four he does this year, but this season he will face the challenge of replacing two-time All-American Jimmy Perkins, the most prolific offensive player in the team’s history.
But the team’s performance in the WPIAL championship last year showed that they’re up to the task, Bliss said.
Perkins scored just three of the team’s 13 goals, while returning players Jared Vescio, Mike Clark and Tyler Smith combined for seven.
“I think with (Perkins) leaving, you have kids like Mike Clark and Tyler Smith who might have been in his shadow a little bit, just as the function of being around such a high caliber player. They’ll get a chance to take more of a frontal role.”