Boys lacrosse: Neuqua Valley makes New Trier sweat out state semifinal
Don't ever count Neuqua Valley out of a boys lacrosse game. You'll regret it.
New Trier almost did Thursday in an IHSA semifinal matchup at Hinsdale Central. The Trevians won 8-6 but got Neuqua Valley's best effort, especially late.
New Trier jumped out to leads of 3-0, 6-2 and 7-3 before the Wildcats swung back at the end of the third quarter.
Sophomore midfielder Mark Trelo tallied first from the left side with 56 seconds left in the third. After the quarter break freshman midfielder Adam Arimborgo drove from left to right and deposited a shot top shelf past New Trier goalkeeper Brian Dolby at 7:39.
Suddenly, Neuqua Valley was down just 7-5, but the Wildcats weren't done.
After a big New Trier turnover with 6:42 to go, senior midfielder Caiden Perry scored his third goal of the night by beating a defender on the right side and blasting a shot into the left. That cut the Trevians' lead to just 7-6.
"Scoring is a crazy feeling, especially with all of our fans here," Perry said. "We always get a ton of fans for all the away games and on such a big stage it's awesome."
But wait … there's more. Senior midfielder Eddie McDonald won the ensuing faceoff and the Wildcats batted the ball around before junior defender James Hammer was called for a foul. That gave Neuqua Valley a man-up situation and a golden opportunity to tie the game.
It didn't happen. Instead, New Trier senior attackman Henry Scherb scored an unassisted goal with 1:56 to go, which set the final score.
"Going into the fourth quarter, we were down 3, we had been playing with them all game," Neuqua Valley coach Josh Maluta said. "I thought as long as we limited our turnovers, we could score whenever we wanted.
"The idea was to outwork them in the fourth and put the ball in the back of the net. We got close."
It was Neuqua Valley's first trip to IHSA state, and the experience might have contributed to some nerves early. But down 3-0 early in the second quarter, Maluta alertly called a timeout to calm his guys down.
It worked. The Wildcats forced a turnover that led to its first goal, a point-blank shot from sophomore Dan Curtis on the left side, with the assist from senior midfielder Ben Schink.
After a New Trier goal at 4:06, Perry tallied for the first time at 2:41, using his speed to cut across the top of the crease and blasting the ball into the center of the net.
The Wildcats got yeoman's work out of senior goalkeeper Cameron Nevins, who saved 12.
"I would say it's all up to your mindset," Nevins said of the overall experience. "Usually, I come in really nervous, and I can't really compete with today and I was really feeling the competition. I would say with the fans supporting you, you get more of a push."
Neuqua Valley got outshot 32-17 but just did with the faceoff battle 9-8.