Loyola’s boys and girls lacrosse teams play in the state semifinals Wednesday. The girls state final is at 7 p.m. Friday at Northwestern, and the boys state final is 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Stevenson.
(5) Lake Forest at (1) Loyola, 5:30 p.m.
(6) Neuqua Valley at (2) New Trier, 7:30 p.m.
Notes: The Ramblers (16-7) are looking for their fourth state title in the last six seasons after a run of six consecutive runner-up finishes from 2006-11. … Loyola beat Lake Forest 13-1 on April 8, and the Ramblers completed the regular season without a loss to a team from Illinois. The Scouts are led by senior Cole Johnson, who will play at Maryland, which won the NCAA Division I national title Monday. … Neuqua Valley is the one semifinalist that hasn’t finished first or second in the state. … Loyola’s strength is its defense, which includes the backline of seniors Kyle Koch, Bryan Giella and Ian Swenson. Koch leads the team in caused turnovers with 28 and Swenson has 20, while sophomore longstick middie Cooper Prawdzik is third with 13. Koch (37), Prawdzik (30) and Swenson (28) are the top non-faceoff players in groundballs. Sophomore Dominic Urukalo has been a standout in goal, too, saving 64 percent of attempted shots. Offensively, the Ramblers have been balanced all season, evidenced by six players with at least 21 goals and four players with at least 11 assists. Sophomore Timothy Hackett leads the team in goals (32) to go with 15 assists. Freshman Kaden Keller has the most points (51) with his 31 goals and team-best 20 assists. Senior Quinn Roddy and junior Andrew Forsyth are tied for third with 35 points, while sophomore Nolan Chow is fifth with 34 points. The lifeblood of the offense is senior Billy Jardeleza, who has won 68 percent of faceoffs. Sophomore Mick Burden (64 percent) and senior Matthew Braun (74 percent) also have been good in the circle.
They said it: “We know everything we have to do. For us, it’s a matter of executing from the first whistle to the last. That is what pushes us to be our best. … We know Lake Forest is a good team with a lot of talent. We know they will be better than the team we beat earlier this season. … The coaches have been stressing to us to not look past the next team, but it’s getting harder the farther we are in the playoffs. But we know we have business to take care of before we start thinking about a state championship.” — Billy Jardeleza, senior
(1) Loyola vs. (4) Glenbrook South at New Trier, 4:30 p.m.
(2) New Trier vs. (3) Hinsdale Central at New Trier, 6 p.m.
Notes: The eight-time defending state champion Ramblers (26-2) are one of the best teams in the country and are the prohibitive favorite to finish first in Illinois once again. They are undefeated against in-state opponents and own convincing wins against New Trier and Hinsdale Central. Their game against Glenbrook South was suspended due to bad weather. But the Titans lost to both the Trevians and Red Devils during the regular season. … Twenty of the 25 players selected to first team all-state are from the four semifinalists. Loyola leads the list with nine followed by New Trier (6), Hinsdale Central (3) and Glenbrook South (2). … Loyola has several players among the statistical leaders in the state. Senior Brennan Dwyer is first in goals (108), assists (60) and draw controls (251). Dwyer has nearly twice as many draw controls as the next player. Senior Madison Kane (pictured above) has 58 goals and 45 assists to rank fifth in points with 103. Senior Colleen Huffman is eighth in points (89) with 56 goals and 33 assists. Defensively, Dwyer’s 49 caused turnovers are first and her 12 interceptions are fifth, while senior Caroline Witkowski is third in interceptions (14) and fifth in caused turnovers (31). Kane has 25 caused turnovers and nine interceptions.
They said it: “Every year the pressure is there to keep the streak going, but one of the things [head coach John] Dwyer emphasizes at the beginning of the year is that this team hasn’t won anything. It’s a new season. We play as if we haven’t won at all. … I think we’ve been pretty dominant in the playoffs, but GBS always plays a scrappy game. We have a rivalry with them, and it’s a dogfight every time we play each other. They won’t go down easily.” — Madison Kane, senior
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola