It was raining lacrosse sticks and gloves and helmets Saturday afternoon in Palatine.
Somewhere Tom Skilling was thinking, “Shoot, I should have added that to my forecast.”
The descending gear belonged to Knights on Grayslake North’s boys lacrosse team. They had exuberantly tossed their equipment skyward after beating York 12-5 for the Lacrosse Cup state championship at Palatine High School’s Chic Anderson Stadium.
The field was a mess.
But it certainly looked wonderful to Knights coach Brad Fish and his squad.
“What I see is all good,” said Fish, whose squad last spring lost to Waubonsie Valley in the school’s first Lacrosse Cup appearance. “I’m glad it’s our stuff on the ground this time.”
His son, junior All-America attack AJ Fish, and Knights senior attack Joey Amsler each scored 3 goals on an otherwise sunny day. Grayslake North junior goalkeeper Eric York stopped 15 York shots.
Yes, Grayslake North’s keeper vs. York on Saturday was a … York.
“At times I thought York’s fans were cheering for me,” York cracked.
Eric York’s biggest fan Saturday afternoon was Brad Fish. York was a JV keeper last year. He attended off-season lacrosse clinics and hit the weight room — hard. And often.
“He doesn’t look at all like he did last year,” said Fish, the coach. “What a game he had. Eric has grown a lot as an athlete and goalie.”
York, the Knight, had no idea earlier this week that his contingent of fans would include a combined six relatives from Tennessee and Florida. Two cousins, two uncles and two aunts showed up in Illinois and cheered for their relative after each save.
“‘Yorkie’ came up with some incredible saves for us,” said Amsler.
Six Knights, including Amsler, scored Grayslake’s first six goals. The others were Fish, Dave Collins, Matt Schlagetter, Josh Cokefair and Farhan Kahn. York’s Dukes (14-9) also received balanced scoring, as Jack Lesniewski, Austin Kliebhan, Connor Koop, Jason Klappauf and Brian O’Malley each tallied a goal.
Top-seeded Grayslake North (20-3) led only 6-4 at 9:32 of the third quarter. But the Knights took control by pouring in 4 of the next 5 goals, including 2 by the dynamic Fish in a 41-second span at the start of the final frame. Fish’s fast-twitch moves allowed him to elude York’s defenders and unleash a bevy of creative shots.
“They have a lot of offensive weapons,” said York coach Don Canfield, whose seventh-seeded Dukes beat second-seeded Lake Zurich and sixth-seeded Geneva to earn their first Lacrosse Cup berth in program history.
“Our guys,” he added, “played hard and with a lot of heart. They also played for each other. It was cool how well we played in the playoffs.”
Kahn finished with 2 goals for the winners, and Fish dished a team-best 2 assists. Grayslake North junior middie Brendan Walker netted the final goal of the game at 1:36 of the fourth quarter.
“Years ago we started a youth lacrosse program in our town,” said Brad Fish. “Our seniors here today — they were some of the first ones in that program.”
Loyola Academy edged Lake Forest 6-4 in the Illinois High School Lacrosse Association state championship game afterward.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.