Boys lacrosse: Hoffman Estates nips Schaumburg

 
By Greg Swiderski
Daily Herald Correspondent

Tuesday, Hoffman Estates' boys lacrosse team fell behind early 3-0 to Vernon Hills and lost 6-2.

Wednesday, the host Hawks turned the tables on neighborhood rival Schaumburg with a quick 3-0 first-period lead. Hoffman Estates would use that burst to top the Saxons 5-3 in the Spring Break Tune Up Tournament.

The win gives Hoffman Estates a 4-3 record and a 2-1 tournament record before hosting Mundelein Thursday afternoon.

"It was a key factor getting that fast start today," said Hoffman Estates coach Joe Garofalo. "It was a game where we didn't have to play catch-up. Our defense is really starting to click for us. They really had to be on their game. The thing that is making us into a better defensive team is our communication with the players and our goalie Nathan Vann (9 saves), who had another good game."

The defense, led by Ramon Rodriguez, Cormac Rustay, Nilay Sriram, John Kurzynski, Dilon Joo and Nate Fisher, kept the Saxons' (3-3) offense bottled up most of the game. Rustay was a key factor.

"From my position on the outside, I wanted to do my job and try to take the ball away," said Rustay. "I used my body to force the offensive players away from the goal and slow their offense down. Good defense helps get the ball to the offense. We've struggled early on but I think our defense is starting to come together."

On the offensive side, the Hawks used 3 goals from high-scoring senior Zach Nashalman. Nashalman, who now has 36 goals for the year, scored twice in the first quarter to give the Hawks a kick start. Stefan Knappik, who scored the other 2 goals. scored in between Nashalman.

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"We have some good shooters on this team," said Nashalman. "I try to work my way open and if they can get the ball to me I try to make the shot. I like shooting the ball low but I can also score on the bounce. You just have to be able to find your spot and be comfortable with it."

The Saxons tallied a goal in the second quarter with 7:10 remaining on Sean Solon's tally, cutting the lead to 3-1.

Nashalman countered with 2:17 left in the first half for a 4-1 lead.

Knappik scored for the Hawks with 2:44 left in the third quarter to increase the lead to 5-1.

Mark Dewees scored goals late in the third and fourth quarter for the Saxons, who will play a rugged Mundelein team Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

"Hoffman Estates took advantage of their shots that they had and made them in the first quarter," said Schaumburg coach Joe Carey.

"In this tournament, I'm looking for us to do a few things," said Garofalo. "I'm looking for us to execute on offense and run our schemes. Play improving defense and work on fundamentals."

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