Growing Batavia program looks like a winner
Taking small steps, Batavia is finding an identity as a lacrosse program. Last year, the team was recognized as Aurora Christian/Batavia. This year, dominated by a roster of Batavia students, the team is known as the Batavia Bulldogs.
"We're still trying to build a program, honestly," Batavia coach Scott Salvati said. "We have kids on our team, at least a third of them, who should be playing JV and we're trying to play a varsity schedule. Next year we'll probably have a varsity and JV team, but still I like where we're going heading into the playoffs."
The Bulldogs are 9-4 after falling to Jacobs for the second time of the year. They were dismantled 18-4 earlier in the year by the talented Jacobs squad, but were much more competitive against a the same Jacobs team on Saturday, battling until the end but coming up short 13-8.
"It was a much more competitive game," Salvati said. "It was a good game compared to when we last played them."
Conner Eberhardt and R.J. Banker have led the way for the Bulldogs while Pat Collins has been a major plus in goal this season.
What happened? If any team is questioning its recent results, it's Fremd.
The Vikings were playing possibly the best lacrosse in program history, picking up six straight victories over Hoffman Estates, Palatine, Warren, Homewood-Flossmoor, Evanston and Barrington. Then, suddenly, things took a drastic turn for the worse.
A tight 8-6 loss to Schaumburg was followed by a 10-8 loss to Bartlett. If things couldn't get any worse, they dropped a heartbreaking, 12-11 overtime game to Conant on Friday.
"We had been playing probably the best lacrosse we've played in a long time and then suddenly tailed off," Fremd coach Tony Medina said. "Hopefully we can recover and make a little run in the playoffs."
The Vikings boast a roster featuring 13 seniors so they have the veteran leadership to get back on track, even with only two regular season games against Oak Park-River Forest and Mundelein before heading into the postseason.
"We really suffered this past week and maybe that's something to do with the kids being seniors and graduation coming up and not being focused," Medina said. "I think we have the guys to put together a little run, so we'll see what happens."
Tigers on fire: Wheaton Warrenville South looks to be one of the most formidable Class A teams in the state.
The Tigers are currently 10-2. They're lone losses were a 6-5 upset to Neuqua Valley on April 12 and a tough 7-6 decision to powerhouse, New Trier on April 28. They've also picked up big wins over Waubonsie Valley, the lone loss for the Warriors this spring, and a pesky St. Ignatius team.
Knights say nighty-night: Grayslake North improved to 14-3 with a 10-7 win over Glenbrook South on Saturday. Matt Schlagetter led the way for the Knights with 4 goals and 5 assists.
Eric York made 11 saves behind the defense of Bryce Hermsen, Josh Kortenkamp, Kevin Carter, Shane Pech and Ian Peace.
The Knights will look to head into the postseason with momentum, where it fell just short of a Class B title last year, losing to Waubonsie Valley in the championship matchup.
Double figures: Waubonsie Valley has compiled an 11-1 record this spring and its lone loss came when it didn't reach double digits in an 11-9 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South on May 1.
The Warriors' offensive attack is one of the best in the state. They've erupted for 15 or more goals against Benet, Geneva, Naperville North, St. Ignatius and Wheaton North.
Hawks clawing opponents: Bartlett continues to make great strides as it transitions into a varsity program for the first time. The team beat on Belvidere, 16-3, before dropping a 5-4 nail-biter to Naperville Central. They recovered to knock down Fremd, 10-8, last Wednesday.
The Hawks will take on St. Charles East on Friday to conclude the regular season before entering the IHSLA playoffs for the first time in program history.
Official respect: Pete Ducato, the president of the Rock Valley Officials Association, has officiated more than 50 high schools games and more than a dozen collegiate contests this spring. Put it this way, if you've been following the sport this spring, you've likely seen him in action.
Ducato stepped away from the high school scene to officiate the Robert Morris University vs. Mount St. Mary's NCAA Division I North East Conference Championship game on May 4.
"After more than 13 years of officiating lacrosse, I was thrilled to utilize the skills and experience that I have acquired in order to prepare me for such a high profile game," Ducato said.
The high-scoring, fast-paced game only drew two flags with St. Mary's stunning the top-seed, 16-15.
"It was a very exciting game that I feel fortunate to have been a part of," Ducato said. "Lacrosse officiating has been a part of my life for a long time, and I have actively worked toward ensuring consistent officiating at all levels of play."
Playoffs: Teams in both the IHSLA and NILAX will wrap up their regular seasons this week or early next week in preparation for the post-season tournaments. The IHSLA tournament will begin on Monday, May 21 while the NILAX post-season will get underway the following day, Tuesday, May 22.
Young and succeeding: The Cary-Grove lacrosse team will only graduate four seniors from this year's team but it's not thinking about next year just yet.
Cary-Grove is 10-4 through May 13 with games remaining against Batavia and Huntley.
"Our only losses are to Jacobs twice and to Downers Grove and Prairie Ridge and those were both by 1 goal," Cary-Grove coach Dylan Weber said.
The team has a lot of firepower on offense thanks to senior Mike Beautsch and juniors Trevor Dorn and Holdin Taylor. The team put a football-like score on the board against Glenbard recently, winning 27-8 behind a ridiculous 12-goal outburst from Dorn and 10 from Taylor.
"They've been the key to our success," Weber said. "And our faceoff guy, Zak Graden, has been very good too."
Golden Eagles go record hunting: Jacobs standouts Alex Crescenti and Shane Kathe make scoring look easy. Too bad determining if they've broken any records hasn't been as simple.
Alex Crescenti scored his 91st goal of the year in a win against Batavia on Saturday, which according to Jacobs coach John Bigler, should be a state record for most goals scored in a season. Meanwhile, Shane Kathe now has 63 assists, just a couple short of another state record.
"From what we can find, Alex has broken it and Shane is just a couple of assists away from breaking it," Bigler said. "We want to be as accurate as possible, but from we've seen on the website, we're pretty certain Alex has broke it and Shane will soon."
Crescenti and Kathe have undoubtedly been important to a Jacobs squad that is a win away from a 15-0 regular season. In fact, the Golden Eagles have won 22 in a row dating back to last year's 16-2 squad. More impressive, the Golden Eagles lost 23 players to graduation and only returned four guys other than Crescenti and Kathe so they've relied on a brand-new defense and alternating goalies.
"Our defense is entirely new so we didn't know how we'd fare there," Bigler said. "We knew we'd be solid on offense but with no returning players at all on the defensive end we weren't sure, but the guys picked up the system quickly."
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