Lake Zurich High School will host a men's lacrosse game between the University of Illinois and Michigan State University March 17 thanks in part to a former Bear who now roams midfield for the Spartans.
"It's not often we get to see collegiate-level lacrosse in our own back yard, especially between schools as popular here as Illinois and Michigan State," said Dave Kintzer, Lake Zurich Lacrosse Club president. "We've already heard from well over a dozen other high school and youth programs that are as excited as we are about this."
The game also is noteworthy for the local flavor it brings - including players from Lake Zurich, Barrington, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Grayslake, Geneva and St. Charles. Charley Dever, a Spartan midfielder and 2010 Lake Zurich graduate from North Barrington, said he's looking forward to his homecoming.
"I'm pretty excited," he said. "I've played so many games there, going back there with my new team will be special. All the guys up here know about Michigan schools. It'll be fun showing them Lake Zurich."
The game originally was scheduled to be played at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill. But when a scheduling conflict arose with the school, Dever -- an officer for MSU's lacrosse club -- called Kintzer. A few phone calls and some signed papers later, along with the support of Lake Zurich Athletic Director Rolando Vazquez, and the game was on.
In addition to a return to the field where he played varsity for three and a half years, it's likely Dever will be facing players on Illinois who he squared off against when he played at Lake Zurich.
While Dever is joined on Michigan State by players from St. Charles and Geneva (http://mcla.us/team/michigan_state/2013/roster.html), Illinois' roster (http://www.hometeamsonline.com/teams/default.asp?u=ILLINOISLAX&t=c&s=lacrosse&p=remote&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmcla%2Eus%2Fteam%2Fillinois%2F2013%2Froster%2Ehtml)is packed with local talent, including players from Barrington, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Grayslake, and several western suburbs.
"It's going to be cool being back at Lake Zurich playing against them," he said.
For Kintzer, it's a testament to the quality of lacrosse being played throughout the suburbs.
"You look at that roster and see all these local young men, it just shows how good these high school and youth programs really are," he said. "Lacrosse no longer is an 'up-and-coming' sport around here. The fact that we can get two universities like Illinois and Michigan State to come to Lake Zurich is just another sign that it's definitely arrived."
The game is 1 p.m. at the Lake Zurich High School football stadium, 300 Church St., Lake Zurich. Gates open at noon, and admission is $2. For more information, visit www.lzlacrosse.com.
About the Lake Zurich Lacrosse Club
The Lake Zurich Lacrosse Club was established in 2002 to develop, support, and promote the sport of lacrosse in the Lake Zurich area as well as provide Lake Zurich High School students with the opportunity to play competitive lacrosse at the high school level. Lake Zurich joined the Illinois High School Lacrosse Association (IHSLA) in 2002 and the Illinois High School Women's Lacrosse Association (IHSWLA) in 2006. Since 2007, the Lake Zurich Lacrosse Club has provided youth lacrosse programs for boys and girls U9 through U15. For more information visit www.lzlacrosse.com.