If everything plays out on Tuesday evening, we could see Round 2 in the battle for Grayslake. Of course, this meeting would have substantially more on the line.
Grayslake North beat Grayslake Central 11-8 on May 18 in a regular-season game that received the CN100 Comcast treatment. If the teams advance after Tuesday, they'd meet with a trip to play in the Class-B Lacrosse Cup on the line.
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Grayslake North (15-2) will face Naperville Central, while Grayslake Central (10-5) will battle Chiefs Lacrosse on Tuesday. The Knights are looking for their second straight championship appearance. They fell to Waubonsie Valley in last year's title game.
After receiving a bye in the opening round, the Knights cruised to a 20-12 win over Marmion with AJ Fish and Matt Schlagetter each scoring five times.
Duking it with Bears: York's strong senior class ensured the Dukes would advance to the Elite Eight in this year's Class B playoff hunt. York's record is a modest 12-8 overall, but more than half of those losses have come to Class A opponents. The only Class B teams to beat the Dukes are Geneva, Grayslake North and Naperville Central and those three teams are all still alive in the playoffs.
Next up for the Dukes is a Lake Zurich team which beat up on Minooka 15-4 on Friday behind 5 goals from Ross Williams, 3 from Taylor Dever and a 3-assist, 2-goal effort from Tyler Cohn.
"Lake Zurich is obviously a very good lacrosse team with a great resume, but we are not scared of playing them at all," York coach Don Canfield said. "We have been playing great lacrosse at the end of the regular season and in our first two playoffs games, and feel like we can compete with anyone."
Lake Zurich (15-4) has won eight of its last nine, with the only loss during the streak, an 11-5 decision to Grayslake North.
Goalies Nick Bacidore (84 saves) and Tony Kohn (95 saves) have split halves in goal for the Dukes behind the defense of Evan Mack, Joe Hlavacek and Zach Ubriaco. Midfielders Pat Sheehan and Brian O'Malley continue to control the midfield while Austin Kleibhan (29 goals, 12 assists) Jack Lesniewski (15 goals, 23 assists) and Colin Grubbs (24 goals) lead the attack.
Unfamiliar foe for Geneva: Geneva coach Rick Nobregas spent his Friday evening in Bartlett scouting O'Fallon, which beat the Hawks 13-9.
As the only IHSLA team in the southwest, O'Fallon plays more than half its games against teams from Missouri since it's located less than 15 miles from St. Louis. It dropped games to Waubonsie Valley and Glenbrook South and beat Mt. Carmel this year.
"Not too many people know much about them," Nobregas said.
Some injuries and illnesses have slowed the Vikings at times this season, but they have put it all together at the right time. The Vikings haven't lost since April 17.
"We would like to get past Tuesday, but even if we don't it's still been a very successful season," Nobregas said. "We had a great trip to Kentucky and now we're still playing and have a chance of getting to a state championship."
After losing three of its first five games, the Vikings have won 11 straight.
"There was a change of culture here with a lot more discipline and with the new coaching staff," Nobregas said. "We don't have these super studs like some teams but we have a culture where everyone wants to do good for the guys around them and are fighting tremendously hard."
If the Vikings win, they'd play either Lake Zurich or York in the Class-B semifinals on Thursday.
Wildcats stunned: Entering the Class-A tournament having lost 9 of its last 10 while also enduring six-game and seven-game losing streaks during the season, No. 24 seed Stevenson (4-16) wasn't expected to do anything in the playoffs, especially opening against No. 9 Neuqua Valley (12-5).
Stevenson shocked the Wildcats, winning 7-6 in overtime.
"After the season ended we talked a lot about how we could erase the bad memories of the season with a playoff win," Stevenson coach Brian Larsen said. "The boys bought in. We had great senior leadership to focus us up for the playoffs, we game planned hard and executed it to a 'T' and came out on the winning end."
Youth and inexperience plagued Stevenson during the season, but it put it all together at least once for fourth quarters in pulling off one of the biggest upsets in playoff history.
"Great win for the program and most likely set a state record for the lowest seed ever to advance out of the first round," Larsen said. "It leaves us with a lot to build on with the younger guys."
Stevenson's season came to an end in the second round with a 13-6 loss to Lyons.
Nothing shocking: The NILAX playoffs have played out as expected, as all of the top seeds have advanced to Wednesday's semifinals. Top seed and defending champion Jacobs will face either No. 4 Prairie Ridge or No. 5 Downers Grove while No. 2 Cary-Grove will meet No. 3 Huntley.
"We know we're not unbeatable," Jacobs coach John Bigler said. "We have many areas we're still improving so we have a healthy dose of reality. At the same time, we expect to win, and we've discussed that any 'and 1' added to our record will feel like a defeated season."
Jacobs is a perfect 16-0 and has won 24 games consecutively dating to last year.
"It's not so much a perfect season that we're after; it's the championship trophy -- and always has been -- that we're after," Bigler said. "If that goal comes to fruition, it will bring along with it an undefeated season."
While there hasn't been an official confirmation regarding Alex Crescenti's 103 goals and counting this season, as well as Shane Kathe's 68 assists so far, Bigler hasn't found any data that refute that both are single-season state records. Both players have led the way in allowing Jacobs to outscore every opponent this spring.
All everything: Grayslake North's AJ Fish, Waubonsie Valley's Zach Wood and Wheaton Warrenville South's Tyler Cook were named All-American. The three athletes were also All-State selections. Libertyville's AJ Schmidt and Kevin Verkler, Palatine's Ryan Sullivan, St. Charles East's Will Debord and Wheaton Warrenville South's Brandon Peterson were also recognized as All-State selections.
Intriguing game No. 1: No. 6 seed Waubonsie Valley (13-1) will face its biggest challenge of the season when it meets No. 3 seed St. Viator (12-2) on Tuesday. The Warriors haven't slowed down a bit after making the leap from Class-B to Class-A this spring. They breezed past St. Ignatius, 20-3, on Thursday, but will have a much more difficult time against a St. Viator team. The Lions only two losses have come to Loyola Academy and Lake Forest, who are also the top two seeds in the tournament.
"We're ready and want to show that we can go the distance with the best teams," Waubonsie Valley coach Mike Julius said. "It should be a good matchup against a strong team."
Julius made it a point to note that the Warriors are ranked No. 153 in the nation which is significant, especially since Illinois isn't considered the hotbed for high school lacrosse -- well, at least not yet.
"There are some people that don't think we should be here," Julius said. "We're going to try to defend against their basic stuff, and it's a playoff game, but our guys take that seriously and this class has been in the final four all four years."
St. Viator expects a challenge from the Warriors that it hasn't seen thus far.
"They've got juice all over the place," St. Viator coach Bill Sanford said. "I think our kids will be for up for it. We are young, but we have pretty good chemistry and this team wants to surpass their buddies from last year."
Only one of these budding programs will advance, so Tuesday should be a darn good game.
"I think, regardless of the winner, it's good to have two teams in their relative infancy involved in the discussion for best of the best," Sanford said.
Intriguing game No. 2: No. 4 seed Wheaton Warrenville South will take on seven-time defending state champion and No. 5 seed New Trier. According to the seeding of the tournament, the Tigers are the favorite in this one, but no program in state history has had the success of the Trevians.
New Trier (12-3) has only yielded 60 goals this season and just 4 per game. The Trevians have allowed more than five goals in a game only four times this year.
"It's our first time hosting a quarterfinal so it's big for the program," Tigers coach Mike Blouin said. "We've been up there with these teams before and can compete with them."
The Tigers have an opportunity to make a major statement. After all, how much bigger would it get to knock out the team that's won the Class A title seven straight times?
"The guys are hungry and they're also playing very well," Blouin said. "We've learned a lot as the season has gone on and am looking forward to challenge them again at our place."
The Tigers dropped a 7-6 decision to New Trier on April 28.
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