During nine of the last ten years, Loyola Academy had either been the state champion or state runner-up. Such a statistic speaks volumes about the kind of program the Ramblers have in Wilmette.
St. Viator has been looking to advance its own program each year, so with a meeting against the Ramblers last Wednesday, the Lions were looking to take another huge step.
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In what undoubtedly will be regarded as one of the classic games of the spring, St. Viator beat Loyola Academy, 5-4, in double overtime.
"I think it was definitely a matchup of really disciplined and skilled defensive teams," St. Viator coach Bill Sanford said. "Historically, I think Loyola has been one of the best defensive teams in the state and we're strong. Neither team could get going much in the offensive flow before the ball was going the other way."
Loyola jumped ahead 1-0 as one of its long poles scored, but the Lions battled right ack. Neither team led by more than 1 goal and St. Viator ultimately forced overtime when Ryan Romenesko scored.
Brian Goss scored the game-winner in overtime. He also scored the Lions' first goal.
"It was his typical shot on the run," Sanford said. "He's been working on that for a long time and it's where he likes to take his shot. We were fortunate enough to get a good possession and having our star player score was fitting."
Conner Romenesko was in goal for the entire game. Earlier this season Sanford had split duty in the cage, but Romenesko started strong so Sanford stayed with him.
"He had a pretty good first half and I didn't want to do anything to disrupt it," Sanford said. "He had an even bigger second half and his OT play was pretty good."
In another major move, Conner Murphy made a seamless transition from defense to midfield, something that Sanford decided upon after a loss to Lyons Township.
"We wanted to bolster the defense at midfield so we took our best defender and made him a long-stick middie," Sanford aid. "He's been incredible and is always on the field. He has an engine that doesn't stop."
While the excitement over beating a program of Loyola's caliber has dissipated some as several days have now passed, the Lions are pleased that they've made a huge statement with the win.
"Last year we felt we didn't do much to make the program better," Sanford said. "It was kind of an average year, so this has gotten everyone excited."
There's no place like home:
Neuqua Valley has its fingers crossed extra tightly that the weather will be nice for Saturday's 1 p.m. game against Wheaton North. According to Neuqua Valley coach Mark Cummings, the Wildcats have not played a home game on campus at Neuqua Valley in approximately 10 years
The Wildcats play the majority of their games at Commissioner's Park but have played occasionally at Illinois Benedictine in past years. Because Neuqua Valley is a grass field, the Wildcats don't have the same luxury as other Naperville or Wheaton schools that have artificial turf that's not affected by wet conditions.
"Some of the board members pressured them hard for them to let us have this one game," Cummings said. "We'll be hoping for good weather. If it's bad all week they might put us somewhere else on campus."
The Wildcats went 1-2 last week, dropping a 16-7 game to St. Charles and a 9-6 decision to Wheaton Warrenville South.
"It was 3-3 with St Charles in the second and we had a three-minute non-releaseable (penalty) and they scored four times in a row on us," Cummings said. "We were incredibly sloppy against Wheaton. They're a very good team, but our turnovers had to have been incredibly high."
The team salvaged one win last week and did so without Austin Savage who was out with a knee injury. Cummings expects Savage to not be out for very long.
"We had a 10-1 or 12-1 lead (against Glenbard West)," Cummings said. "We were able to get most of our subs in for the second half."
Grayslake North win No. 4:
Grayslake North had its offense in high gear this week. The Knights beat Highland Park 13-7 on Friday and earned a 15-6 decision over Mundelein on Monday.
Against Mundelein, the Knights received 3 goals and 7 assists from Matt Schlagetter, 7 goals and 4 assists from Colin Chatten and 5 goals and 3 assists from A.J. Fish. The defense was also in good form as Josh Kortenkamp, Ben Smith and Bryce Hernsen led the defense in support of goalie Dillon Cotter who registered 16 saves.
Bears still rolling:
A week after surviving Conant, 11-10, Lake Zurich carried the momentum of winning that thriller in picking up a couple victories last week. The Bears enjoyed a 10-5 win over Schaumburg and a 10-4 victory against Vernon Hills. On offense, Ryan Faetz led the way with 6 goals and 3 assists. Ross Williams was right behind Faetz with 5 goal and 2 assists and Sean Learas contributed 3 goals.
Got something against Minooka?
For the second time this season, Marmion's game against Minooka was postponed due to poor weather on Friday. The Cadets did play on Tuesday, cruising past Marian Catholic, 11-1. Colin Smith and Brad Szmurlo each had 3 goals.
"I couldn't be prouder of these young men as it was a total team effort," Marmion coach Kevin Griffin said. "Going 2-0 in conference is a great start which shows our conference that we are here to play, and lacrosse is here to stay."
The Cadets have a busy week ahead as they'll play three games in four days, with match-ups against Montini, Geneva and Nazareth looming. The Cadets will see Geneva again on Saturday in a tournament at West Chicago.
OK DuPage, Hello Tri-Cities:
Geneva enjoyed a strong week against DuPage teams last week, beating Naperville Central 9-3 and West Chicago 11-9 before falling short against Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley 16-10.
Now, the Vikings will look to prove themselves against some schools in the Tri-Cities, battling Marmion on Tuesday, and again on Saturday, and St. Charles on Thursday. Last year, the Vikings traveled to St. Charles on senior night and ended up playing the second half with a running clock because they were down by more than 12 goals. Geneva lost that game 18-2.
On the offensive:
Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley was scoring in the high teens last week, blasting Minooka 18-2 and then following it up with a 16-10 win against Geneva.
T.J. Berk had 5 goals and 3 assists, Zack Wood had 6 goals and 3 assists and Conner Mersch had 5 goals and an assist in the win against the Indians. Defensively for Waubonsie Valley, Scott Brown surrendered 2 goals in the first half while Scott Barger posted a shutout in the second half.
Sticks and stones:
There are five schools in the Daily Herald coverage area who will play this weekend in West Chicago's 2011 Wildcat Sticks and Stones Classic. Bartlett, Geneva, Marmion, Vernon Hills and West Chicago will all play three games apiece on Saturday with their Sunday scheduled to be determined. The 12-team field also include several not-so-familiar teams, including Belvidere, and visiting from Wisconsin, Appleton, Neenah and Sun Prairie. Games begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Cornerstone Lakes Park in West Chicago.