May 18th, 2018

Tigers dethrone Rocks, capture state title

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor


Tigers dethrone Rocks, capture state title
St. X lacrosse with the state championship trophy / photo by Megan Stearman

It was a dose of sweet revenge for St. Xavier’s lacrosse team.

After losing to their archrival during the regular season, the host Tigers returned the favor, cruising past Trinity 12-4 in the Kentucky State Lacrosse League Championship game Friday night at Brother Thomas More Stadium.

“We won face-offs, we didn’t throw the ball away, we didn’t commit turnovers, and we didn’t stand and pass the ball around,” St. X head coach Scott Howe said. “Back in that game we had a lot of three, four, five minute possessions. Tonight, we decided we were going to attack right out of the gate, and we did. We like to play fast and we got what we wanted. The guys made the right passes and shots.”

The Tigers (16-6) have won nine of the last 11 state titles and has won 12 state championships overall. The losing Shamrocks (14-5) are second with six – winning four straight from 2004-07 and in 2013 and last year.

“Oh, looking at the scoreboard,” St. Xavier’s Ty Bentley said. “Watching the scoreboard and seeing the clock wind down, that was so exciting. That’s all I wanted the whole year, a state championship. I’m at a loss for words, I couldn’t be happier for this team.”

No other school has won a KSLL title.

“Oh, are you kidding, last year I was ready to throw up all over the place,” Howe said. “Right now? I’m really happy. I’m extremely happy. These guys make me very proud. Very proud. But, that’s a good team over there. These two programs are the best and this is what it’s all about. They play hard; we stung them early, and stung them hard. I think we kind of took the wind out of their sails. I don’t think they were expecting that.”  

Going in, many were expecting a classic as Trinity won the regular season meeting 8-5, and dominated most of the game.

It’s the fourth time the Tigers lost the regular season contest to the Rocks, but came back with the victory in the postseason meeting.

St. X knocked Trinity in the mouth early racing out to a 10-0 halftime lead and led 12-1 at one point in the second-half.

“Well, St. X came out with great energy, and executed very well,” Trinity head coach Pete Schroeder said. “Compliment St. X and give all their kids credit. They were terrific, but we weren’t ourselves, and some of that was us, and some of that was them. Hats off to the Tigers.”

Noah Mackin was named MVP and scored two goals and dished out two assists to help captain St. X to victory.

“Tonight, we played with a lot of heart,” Mackin said. “In the regular season, we did not. We had a lot of dumb passes. Tonight, we played as a team, and we won as a team.”

Will Hubbs had three goals and two assists.

“We just worked the ball today,” Will Hubbs said. “It was unlike anything we have done all-season. Right off the bat we were on fire and after those first few goals, we could not be stopped. We had the momentum go our way and it was unreal to be a part of.”

Bentley finished with three goals.

“We moved the ball very well,” Bentley said. “Late in the season we have been working on that. Plain and simple. We did great from the start. We did excellent from the start. I don’t think anyone had a bad game tonight. Keegan Puffer and Will Hubbs did their part, I did too.”

Patrick Anderson recorded two goals and two assists. Peyton Bray and Keegan Puffer both chipped in a goal and an assist.  

“We moved and shared the ball,” Howe said. “We would slide, move it again, move it again, and move it again. We didn’t take bad shots. My guys are good shooters. When you move the ball quick, nothing moves better than the ball, if you got good ball movement, and good throws, you’re hard to hit. This was the best game we played this season.”

That kept Trinity goalkeeper Jake Sedgwick busy all-night.

Joe Storner stood in the goal for the Tigers in the first half while Connor Higgins manned the net in the second half as the Rocks offense was kept at bay.

“We kept the communication going and we were able to guard our spots,” Storner said. “We studied what they were going to do and we were prepared. We worked hard. Everything was rolling for us. We played our best game of the season. Our defense was very good.”

Jonathan Endicott, Logan Noland, Ben Taylor, and Scott Graehler scored for Trinity.

“We would have liked to throw and catch the ball better,” Schroeder said. “We would have liked to have done a lot better on ground balls. They closed the gap on face-offs. We dominated in face-offs last time and we didn’t do that this time.”

It was the Rocks first in-state loss since losing 7-5 to the Tigers during the 2017 regular season.

“This will be a team I will always remember,” Schroeder said. “They were fun to be with and elevated the program. A lot of them played three years. That’s what I will remember about them.”

As for Howe and his squad, they never want to be satisfied.

“We have a lot of work to do this summer,” Howe said. “We’re going to travel. We’re going to Maryland, Philadelphia; we’ll play some of the best high school teams in the country. We put ourselves up against top flight competition, we had Culver, the No. 1 team in the country with 26 Division I signees, we are pretty tested.” 

 

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