Wheaton Academy's Miller seeing fruits of his efforts in weight room
Noah Miller was a rotational attackman last season for the Wheaton Academy boys lacrosse team.
This season, things have changed for the junior. He's already got 28 points on 21 goals and 7 assists, thus creating a powerful one-two punch with sophomore midfielder Liam White.
They are a big reason the Warriors, who finished fourth in state last season, are 9-3 overall this campaign.
What was Miller's secret to his current success?
"Honestly, it was the weight room," he said. "It changed my mentality on the game. Last year, I didn't have a lot of confidence because guys were so much bigger. Once I got bigger, it just helped my confidence. I'm not afraid to step in front of anybody."
Of course, he had to make some tough decisions. One of them was deciding not to play golf last fall in lieu of focusing on his lacrosse stick skills and generally working to get better.
That included the weight room, where he spent much of his time, through a class at school on the subject and generally lifting with a mentor or simply on his own.
Which begs the question: Other players across DuPage County are keen to do what he has done to improve. What recommendations does he have?
"I'm still on my journey on lifting," Miller said. "Find a workout plan, find a split, consistently go to the gym and work out the right muscle groups. Find a routine and stick with it."
Wheaton Academy coach Geof Weisenborn said Miller's breakout game was a 16-1 win against Valley, the Waubonsie Valley-Metea Valley co-op team, on April 5, where he had five goals. Two games later, in an 18-6 victory over Huntley, he had 6 goals.
"We always knew he had the skill, but he had to mature physically," Weisenborn said of Miller, who plays his club ball at True Lacrosse.
"Liam is a dodger initiator, he sees a lot of double-teams, and having guys on the field who can put the ball in the net like Noah is something that we need."
Downers Grove setting the standard:
The Downers Grove boys team's theme this "Set the Standard," meaning create a basis this season for what will follow. Two defensemen have taken that to heart, junior Danny Greifhahn, from Downers North, and Downers South sophomore Erik Selby.
If you want a good sense of their impact, consider Monday's Senior Night contest, a 5-4 win over Oak Park-River Forest, a game in which junior Josh Lambert scored the game-winner with 34 seconds left.
Greifhahn and Selby's defensive efforts kept Downers Grove in the game until Lambert worked his late magic. It was also redemption for a 6-3 loss to the Huskies last week.
Coach Shon Zawlocki said Greifhahn struggled last week against OPRF's physical checks, but that evaporated Monday. Selby contributed with a hatful of open-field groundballs.
What does "Set the Standard" mean to Greifhahn?
After an 11-9 loss to Hinsdale Central last Friday, "I reflected on it, and setting the standard is being the best person I can be, and then as a junior, being a better influence for the freshmen and sophomores," he said.
Added Selby: "Setting the standard, for me, is trying to make our team the best we can be with what we've got. Our defense is really solid and coming out to play every game … (We have) tenacity, stuff that we didn't have in the past."
Ginty guides Wheaton United:
Here's something you don't hear every day -- a player who toggles between defense and goalie. That's the world of Wheaton United senior Meghan Ginty, and the thing of it is, she's equally effective at both positions.
She leads the team by far with 75 groundballs, and in goal, she paces United with 164 saves. It's not unheard of to see her play defense in one half of a game and goalie in the other.
Which does Ginty prefer?
"I'm split between the two," she said. "I'm going to college for defense, at Aurora University, but I recently fell back in love with goalie."
"She's dominant," added United coach Sarah Burdeen. "She's a presence for the defensive line. She'll sometimes play a backer. In goal, she can clear the ball over 50 yards."
But the other area in which Ginty excels is leadership, Burdeen said.
"I was out sick for a few days and she was helping in practice," she said. "As my captain I thought she could run the drills how I would want to. You want a captain to be engaged and respectful and she embodies all of that."