Grayslake North's boys lacrosse team will be playing for a state championship Saturday.
The Knights (19-3) will battle in the Illinois High School Lacrosse Association Class B state title game at 3:30 p.m. at Palatine after beating visiting Sandburg 19-8 on a rain-soaked turf field Thursday night.
The Knights, as they have all year long, relied on constant pressure from their potent offense, coach Brad Fish said. AJ Fish led the way with a goal and 7 assists, increasing his state-leading point total to 118. Not to be outdone was his teammate Matt Schlagetter, who finished with 3 goals and 4 assists. Schlagetter has 117 points this season, second to Fish.
The duo got plenty of help on the offensive side of the ball. Brendan Walker, whose emergence has been a tremendous asset for the Knights, Brad Fish said, poured in 5 goals. Joey Amsler was his steady self with 3 goals.
Grayslake North also received production from Farhan Khan (2 goals, 2 assists), Josh Cokefair (2 goals), David Collins (goal), Eric Palade (goal), Jack Mattea (goal) and Nick Stanfel (assist). Brad Fish said the midfield play of Cokefair, Walker, Palade and Collins has been a key ingredient to the Knights' success, as they continue to control the ball in the middle of the field.
"The unsung hero of the team has been Stanfel," Brad Fish said of the first-year player, who is a converted baseball player in his senior season. "(He) has been dominant as a faceoff specialist."
Against Sandburg, Stanfel won 20-of-27 draws and continued to get the Knights key possession after possession.
The defense started off a bit shaky, but allowed only 2 goals in the final 24 minutes. Goalie Eric York was his normal steady self with 5 saves. Josh Kortenkamp was the recipient of the game ball (along with Walker on the offensive side), as he shut down Sandburg's leading offensive threat to 1 goal.
Bryce Hermsen, Shane Pech, Ben Smith and Ian Pearce completed the defensive shutdown of the Chiefs.