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posted: 6/15/2013 8:34 PM

St. Viator leads all-star effort

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

St. Viator was best represented in this year's Class A all-star game at Sandburg in Orland Park on June 6 as Mike Julius, Dan O'Malley, Andrew Romano, Billy Spingola and Peter Trunk were selected to the team.

O'Malley had a hat trick to lead the Black team, which was coached by St. Viator's Bill Sanford, to a 16-8 victory over the White team.

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Libertyville was awarded for its strong season as Jack Ryan, AJ Schmidt, Luke Stelzner and Nicholas Ward participated. Grayslake North also had four representatives with AJ Fish, Ben Smith, Brendan Walker and Eric York. Wheaton Warrenville South had three athletes on the squad: Harrison Kerth, Ryan McNeill and Mitchell Wilhlem.

Chase Arima and John Claussen were on-hand for Hinsdale Central while Matt Koziol and Declan McGuire did the same for Benet.

Other local players included Schaumburg's Brandon Bethran, Wheaton North's Danny Caponi, Conant's Josh Rhodes, Fremd's Zachary Deutschmann, St. Charles East's Will DeBord, Naperville North's DC Felman, Waubonsie Valley's Kyle Fortsch, Glenbard West's Jack Manzella, St. Charles North's Nick McCullough, Hoffman Estates' Anthony Patrick and Palatine's Mike Allen.

In the Class B contest, the Black team again was victorious as Lake Zurich coach Chuck Vozas's squad edged Naperville Central coach Tim Hurst's White squad, 16-12. York's Jack Lesniewski scored twice for the winners while Ross Williams and Dave Tian scored for Lake Zurich.

Grant Soucy and Zach Jones were also all-star selections for Lake Zurich while Matt Breslin, Jake Cruse, Pat Harris and Duncan Lazirotti represented Naperville Central.

Grayslake Central's Nick Block, Tanner Hermes, Jason Koziol and Mason Smith also participated while Lesniewski was joined by teammates Brian O'Malley and Austin Kliebhhan.

Cary-Grove's Garrett Steiner and Trevor Dorn and St. Francis' Colin Baumgartner and Max Porter also were all-stars in the Class B contest.

Other roster spots were secured by the following local players: Warren's Bobby Clarke, Bartlett's Michael Lively, Wheaton Academy's Thomas Oster, Prairie Ridge's Ryan Skuermanski, West Chicago's Nick Turner, Marmion's Tyler Estes, Crystal Lake South's Tyler Mortensen, Geneva's Austin Nobregas, Montini's JP Palasek, Jacobs' Zach White and Crystal Lake Central's Kevin Dwyer.

Overcoming adversity:

It's rare that a team can overcome the loss of a top player, but somehow both Libertyville and Naperville Central were able to do it while going on extended postseason runs.

Libertyville advanced all the way to the Class A state semifinals, upsetting Glenbrook North in quarterfinal play. The Wildcats did so despite losing All-American defender Kevin Verkler to an injury. He missed the final four regular season games and the playoffs. The Wildcats also had to make due without starting Graham Crawford, who missed all four post-season contests.

"I was impressed with our reserve defenders, it showed how their hard work paid off," Libertyville coach Brady Sullivan said. "Only four long poles get to play heavy minutes most games and we played all of the playoffs without half of them."

Sullivan praised the play of junior Ethan Miller, who transitioned from long stick midfield to in-close defense, fellow junior Scott Metzger, who took over as starting long stick midfielder, as well as senior Nick Tomasetti and a JV call-up.

"Our only long stick playing his position from the season was senior Eric Harper," Sullivan said. "He really helped lead an inexperienced defensive group."

Despite the injuries, Libertyville was able to advance to the final four for the first time since 2004.

Naperville Central won a back-and-forth battle with Deerfield in the Class B semifinals, and the Redhawks had to do it without its heart and soul as Ryan Porter was sidelined with a concussion.

Porter took a crosscheck to the back of the head in a quarterfinal victory against Warren, but missed the semifinal as well as the championship loss to Lake Zurich.

The Redhawks really missed Porter in the 13-6 championship loss to Lake Zurich.

"That might help account for why we lost 22 straight faceoffs, literally all of them," Naperville Central coach Tim Hurst said. "We will be back to play next year, though."

Lake Zurich's Jack Boliaux won 100 percent of his draws to lead the Bears.

The Redhawks finished 18-3.

Assistant Coach of the Year:

St. Charles North assistant coach Andy Thompson has accomplished plenty as a head coach, including leading St. Charles, prior to the program splitting into North and East teams, to four straight Final Four appearances from 2007-2010.

Now, in his first season as an assistant coach, he's been recognized for his efforts.

Thompson was named Assistant coach of the Year via a state-wide coaches vote.

"I was very honored to get that," Thompson said. "(Geneva head coach) Rick Nobregas submitted my name and a write up to the league as a nomination. There were 9-10 other assistant coaches in the state that were nominated. I am very grateful that so many coaches would think of me for this honor."

Thompson transitioned from head coach to assistant coach for family and business purposes, but apparently the change did little to limit his contributions as a coach.

The North Stars finished 12-5 with a second-round Class A exit against Lake Forest.

Making the jump:

With its victory in the Class B championship game, Lake Zurich moves to Class A next year, becoming the fourth straight team from the Daily Herald area to win the Class B title game. That streak could very well continue as Naperville Central, Grayslake Central and York all had strong seasons in 2013.

Playing Class A opponents won't be a big change for Lake Zurich as it had eight such teams on its schedule this spring. The big difference is going to be personnel and chemistry as the Bears will lose 15 players to graduation.

"With Lake Zurich lacrosse having an exceptional youth program, we can now get kids playing from 9- to 15-years-old before even starting in high school," Bears coach Chuck Vozas said. "And if we can harvest the top talent coming into the high school and set them up for success by earning a spot on the JV team as a freshman, then you will have top talent early for those guys in their career."

Vozas was already talking about next season on the bus ride to the championship game with assistant coach Mike Sutton.

"Don't get me wrong, to lose such a stellar senior class hurts, but you can't sit there and cry about it, you have to move on," he said. "We feel very confident that the returning juniors, sophomores and freshmen will be able to pull their own weight and compete in the A division. We have a great returning goalie and our two faceoff men are also returning."

Academic All-Americans:

A few local players were recently named Academic All-Americans, including Glenbard West's Matthew Udelhofen, who registered a perfect 36 on the ACT.

Benet's Brian Severyn, Naperville Central's James Schelli and Marmion's Sam Ford were also recognized.

And finally:

Thanks to all for reading and for your contributions this spring. While the high season is over, I know there's plenty of summer lacrosse scheduled. Feel free to pass any notes this summer to me via email at walker.chris154@yahoo.com

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