Boys lacrosse: Glenbard West regains momentum vs. Benet
The Glenbard West boys lacrosse team can score goals in bunches. But even this offensive juggernaut slows once in awhile.
Take Wednesday's IHSA sectional semifinal against dangerous Benet. The Hilltoppers scored six times in the first quarter, only to watch the Redwings respond with 4 of their own to start the second.
Glenbard West coach Eric Nuss thus called time out to level-set his crew, and it worked.
His team erupted for 4 straight goals and never looked back, en route to a 15-9 victory, and a date in Friday's sectional final against Naperville North.
"We just talked about maintaining our focus and valuing possession," Nuss said of that crucial timeout. "We tend to get into kind of like this run-and-gun game, and when it works, it's great, but when you miss a couple of goals … We had to work the ball around to get a better shot."
The Hilltoppers (20-5) got 2 goals apiece in the first quarter from Sam McGee and Marky Winters and looked to be in full control.
Ah, but Benet had other ideas. Junior attackman Kyle Bollman scored twice in the first 3:42 of the second quarter, including a shot over the shoulder cutting left to right at 10:48. His second, at 8:18, was followed up shortly after by a goal from senior attackman Ethan Stonis.
Suddenly, Glenbard West's lead was 6-4 and that's when Nuss called time out, and implored his team to focus on possessions, among other things.
"We're not going to win by just showing up," he told his crew.
It worked. Junior Josh Crosby righted the ship by swinging wide high from left to right, settling at the far right side of the crease and blasting a shot past Benet junior goalie Connor Meagher at 5:35.
The Hilltoppers won the subsequent faceoff and Nic Seifert scored 12 seconds later. Goals by McGee and Nick Buzinski turned things around completely.
"I think for us, we really needed a momentum change," said Crosby, who finished with 2 goals. "When they came out with those four goals, they kind of had the momentum going. When we came out and scored, it shifted everything."
Added McGee, who led the Hilltoppers with 3 goals: "Crosby came out with the goal and shifted momentum, and (coach) Nuss told use what offense to run, and we executed it."
With a 10-5 lead at the half, Glenbard West cruised in the second half of a decidedly chippy game, though the Redwings scored 3 at the start of the fourth quarter to pull to within 14-9 with 5:27 to go.
But by then, it was too late for Benet, which finished 11-9.
"In the second quarter we came out strong and put some points on the board," Benet coach Rich Moran said. "Third quarter, we started that first six minutes, no one could score the ball and we kept throwing it away on offense. Credit Glenbard West, they are a very good team, and when they saw the opportunity, they seized it."
Glenbard West outshot Benet 46-30 and went 17 for 24 on faceoffs.
The Redwings were hurt by just 4 shots in the first quarter without a goal, and 6 in the third, with one tally. Sixteen turnovers didn't help.
"We have a lot of seniors that are going to graduate, so we're going to be missing a big chunk of offense and defense, so everyone is going to have step their game up and put in work on their own if we want to get better," Bollman said.