Boys Lacrosse rides string of victories into playoffs

After OT loss to Loyola, NT has won nine of ten and is out for revenge

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Boys Lacrosse rides string of victories into playoffs

Junior Charlie Hoban scrambles for a loose ball in an early-season blowout win over St. Ignatius    Stuart Rodgers

Junior Charlie Hoban scrambles for a loose ball in an early-season blowout win over St. Ignatius Stuart Rodgers

Junior Charlie Hoban scrambles for a loose ball in an early-season blowout win over St. Ignatius Stuart Rodgers

Junior Charlie Hoban scrambles for a loose ball in an early-season blowout win over St. Ignatius Stuart Rodgers

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New Trier Boys Lacrosse heads into the second round of the playoffs with wins in nine of their last 10 games, the only loss coming against Culver Academy, one of the top-ranked teams in the nation.
The Trevians followed an overtime defeat against Loyola on Apr. 16 with a 20-1 domination of Highland Park a week later, and haven’t lost to a team from Illinois since.
“I think we’ve played really well,” said senior Brian Sitzer, whose fourth and final year on Varsity is in its final stretch. “We want to get off to a fast start and ride that momentum into later games in the playoffs.”
New Trier earned that fast start by beating Whitney Young on May 20 in the first round of the playoffs, cruising to an easy win as the second-ranked seed in their sectional. Whitney Young took down Notre Dame in a play-in game earlier this week, but they were no match for the Trevs.
Before their strong finish, the team was a bit disappointed in how they performed in the early games of the year. Losses to Louisville St. Xavier, Catholic Central, and Brother Rice defined a rough stretch for a team that entered the season with high hopes.
“I believe we have started the season below expectations with how many guys returned this year, losing to a few out-of-state teams in games that we should have won,” said senior Brooks South, who will be playing collegiate lacrosse at Furman University next year.
The aforementioned overtime loss in April to the defending champion Ramblers, however tough the result was, marked a turning point of sorts in their season. The team felt that the effort that had them in control for most of the game would carry over to their upcoming outings, and it did.
“We were leading the whole game and I thought our team performed strongly and showed our potential. We had good depth and still a lot to work on, but after that game I was confident going forward,” said senior Henry Freedman.
“It seemed like we had the upper hand for most of the game and it just slipped away at the end,” explained Sitzer. Games like that against top teams can serve as teaching moments, even if they do eventually go awry.
South also noted that the slow start ended up being instrumental in how they finished the regular season, explaining how the team learned from their mistakes.
“Those games taught us a lot about ourselves and helped us improve tremendously as a team,” he said. “And our main goal for the rest of the season is to prepare for Loyola.”
Loyola is already on the team’s mind despite the later rounds of the playoffs not having started yet, and for good reason. The Trevians’ 2018 state title repeat bid was halted in its tracks by the maroon and gold in the final game, by a score of 7-2. NT did the same the year before to the Ramblers’ hopes of defending their 2016 win championship.
Additionally, for the second consecutive year, the IHSA is using a sectionals format instead of one large bracket, and the Ramblers fall in the same sectional as New Trier. So while it won’t be another state final rematch, the two squads will likely face off at some point.
“I believe each of us will make it to that game,” stated Freedman. “Playing Loyola in the playoffs is the best game of the year no matter what.”
“We are not worried about when or where we play Loyola. We just want redemption,” explained South.
Sitzer recommended a more methodical approach, knowing that to get to Loyola, they must first take care of the other schools in their path.
“We need to stay focused on our goal and have to treat playing Loyola like playing any other team in our way of winning state,” he cautioned. “We hope to play them at some point, but anything can happen come playoff time.”

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