Among the Loyola fans at Hinsdale Central for Saturday’s state final was Billy Jardeleza.
A 2017 graduate and former faceoff specialist, Jardeleza was at the game to root on the Ramblers against New Trier. A freshman lacrosse player at St. Joseph University, Jardeleza had to be proud of the way his protégé Mick Burden played in Loyola’s 7-2 win that delivered the Ramblers the state title.
“I don’t think I would be half of the player I am if it wasn’t for Billy,” said Burden, a junior who wore Jardeleza’s No. 20 jersey this season. “He made me a better. I learned so much from him last year, and I was confident going into the season because of what he taught me. He was such a great player and leader.”
All-state selections Quinn Cashion, Andrew Forsyth and Luca Lazzaretto are three of 10 seniors who leave the Loyola lacrosse program on top. They all agree it’s important to them to make sure the returning players continue to have success.
“We take pride in that,” Cashion said. “I have no doubt in my mind Loyola will be in the same position next year.”
A longstick middie, Cashion credited Kyle Koch, a 2017 graduate and Marquette freshman lacrosse player, for developing him into a major contributor and state champion as a senior. Cashion said he’s confident the younger defensemen — such as junior Brendan Hering, junior Ryan Hering, junior Johnny Hill, junior Cooper Prawdzik, junior Will Starshak and sophomore Spencer Hensley — will be ready to step up next season.
“Those are some amazing and talented players who are capable of doing great things,” Cashion said.
Junior goalkeeper and all-state selection Dom Urukalo was one of the stars in Saturday’s state final by making 14 saves. According to Cashion, Urukalo can thank 2016 graduate Kevin Corbett for his mentorship.
“Dom has been a rock for us, and Kevin helped him, much like I learned a lot from Kyle,” Cashion said. “That’s what is great about our program. The seniors are willing to help out the younger players.”
Burden said Jardeleza never once seemed concerned about a younger player replacing him in the starting lineup.
“No selfishness at all,” Burden said. “It was a healthy competition. I knew he was the guy. I did my best to make him better, and he did his best to train me.”
Offensively, Loyola graduates its two top goal-scorers in senior Quinn Callahan and Forsyth, both of whom finished with 47, but the Ramblers return the next seven. Junior Nolan Chow (37), junior Timothy Hackett (30), junior Najee Taylor (29), sophomore Branden Tait (29), junior Mike Feuer (26), junior Connor Koch (24) and sophomore Kaden Keller (15) all will be back.
Additionally, this season’s top five players in assists — Taylor (25), Hackett (22), Keller (21), Koch (20), Chow (19) — all return. Both Hackett and Taylor were named to the all-state team.
“We won the state title, and we still have a lot of guys coming back, especially on attack,” Forsyth said. “I trust they will do a good job. I’m not too worried about our team next year.”
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola