Neuqua Valley's Anderson finds her next home; Glascott contributes for Glenbard West
As usual, the Neuqua Valley girls lacrosse team is loaded with future collegiate talent, with plenty of underclass potential in the pipeline.
There's senior midfielder Jill Dennison, who will play next year at Grand Valley State University, a Division II school. Defender Taylor Meltzer will play at Lincoln Memorial University, another Division II school.
Then there is Kelly Anderson, a defensive midfielder, who will be plying her trade at Central Michigan University.
What's unique about Anderson, the sister of former Wildcats star Brenda Anderson, is that she is Neuqua Valley's first Division I recruit since lacrosse became an IHSA sport, back in 2017-18.
She started playing the sport in sixth grade, largely because her siblings played and she wanted to follow in their footsteps. Now she's on the cusp of a collegiate career at the Mount Pleasant, Michigan, school.
Why Central Michigan?
"It just felt right," said Anderson, who plays her club ball for True Lacrosse. "I picked Central Michigan because I felt a good connection with the coach (Sara Tisdale), and when I met the girls, they were super nice to me. When I was there, I felt like, I can be happy here the next four years."
She might not have the offensive numbers of other players, but Neuqua Valley coach John Scanlon, whose team is 10-3 overall and 3-0 in conference, values highly her contributions on the defensive end.
"She's like a coach on the field," Scanlon said. "She can analyze a situation and get people to do things that are best for the defensive setup. We may have had maybe four or five failed clears this year, and that is because of her lacrosse IQ."
Anderson experienced a lot of success early on at Neuqua Valley, starting as a defender as a freshman for the team that made it all the way to the supersectional, losing a tight game to St. Charles 10-8. The good news there is she was able to play with her sister, who was a senior at the time.
"The whole game was high intensity, everyone's energy was there and there were a lot of nerves on both sides," she recalled. "We ended up losing but we all played very well."
Three years later, the game plan is to return to the supersectional and maybe even take the next step.
"She's a role model on the team for just about anyone," Scanlon said. "We can put her anywhere and know we have a high-caliber person in that position."
Glascott contributes for Glenbard West:
Another True Lacrosse player who's having a stellar freshman year is Glenbard West's Cole Glascott. He started this season practicing with the offense and didn't quite have the stick skills to break into the rotation.
No problem. He simply shifted to defensive midfielder and due to an injury, he found himself starting in the second half in an epic April 14 contest against Wheaton North, a game the Hilltoppers won 10-9 in three overtimes.
Glascott entered the game as a second-half starter and hasn't relinquished that spot.
"He takes the wing on the faceoff and has done a great job with that," said coach Eric Nuss, whose charges are 12-7 and 4-1 in conference. "I imagine in a year or two he'll be playing offense, but stick skill-wise, he wasn't there yet."
Glascott started playing lacrosse in kindergarten and immediately fell in love with the sport.
"It's like you're always doing something; it's constant motion," he said. "It's the tempo of the game."
Unlike Neuqua Valley's Anderson, the potential of playing in college is a long way off for Glascott. But does he think about it? Maybe.
"I'm going to keep working as hard as I can," he said.
Bermel, Melody big for Wheaton North:
Another player who is making a major contribution to his team due to an injury is Wheaton North sophomore goalie Jack Bermel.
Last season, Bermel -- a basketball player -- had just taken up lacrosse and was playing junior varsity for the Falcons. There was a shortage of goalies on varsity, and when the starter got hurt, it was next man up for Bermel.
Sure, he took his lumps, but he played all off-season with his Second City club team, and this season, he's got a 52 percent save ratio for Wheaton North, which is 9-4 overall and 4-1 in league.
"Really, its been a lot of coaching and drills I've been doing and reps that have helped a lot," Bermel said of his improvement. "It's satisfying saving the ball. It's a lot of pressure on you, and I like the spotlight, but not in a selfish way. It's an important position."
Another sophomore contributor has been attackman Ryan Melody, who was leading the Falcons in goals (19) and assists (19) entering Monday's 15-1 over Batavia.
"What's working of me mostly, I'm one of the only lefty attackmen, so it's harder for defenses to pick up on that," Melody said. "I'm able to make better passes because I'm a lefty. Our team is also really good at getting open."