May 18th, 2011
Trinity Breezes To State Championship Game
Herner, Sims notch four goals each in semifinal win.
The weather may have been cold, overcast and dreary, but the Trinity Shamrocks were plenty hot Wednesday evening as they soundly defeated Kentucky Country Day in the lacrosse state semifinals 17-1.
The Rocks will now meet St. Xavier in the title tilt Friday evening at 8pm at Marshall Stadium.
Senior Matt Herner and sophomore Kevin Sims scored four goals apiece to lead the Rocks offense. Herner also registered an assist. Senior Eric Edelen recorded three goals to go with one assist on the evening. Senior Alex Karman and sophomore Austin Zehnder scored two goals each with Zehnder pitching in three assists on the evening.
The Trinity offense registered just three goals in the opening period, but that was the warm-up act. They worked their way around the KCD zone defense with patience and accurate passing, spreading the KCD defenders away from the goal. Eventually, the Rocks found the creases in the zone and were efficient in finishing off plays in front of the goal.
"They brought out a zone, which is really different from what we're used to facing," said midfielder Herner. "We just picked our spots and took advantage of our opportunities. We opened up our offense a bit and started skipping passes. We got off a lot of good shots and put them in the net."
The Rocks peppered KCD goalie Alec Moore with shot after shot, and while he was able to stop seven of them, the offensive barrage was too much to handle for a goalie. Trinity just moved the ball to well and were able to find open spots for easy, uncontested shots. In basketball, they call those layups.
Key to those scoring opportunities was Trinity's ability to win face-off draws and control possession. Junior midfielder Brad Lott had a 70% success rate on his face-offs as the Rocks won 17 of the 22 draws.
As evidenced by the score, Trinity had a decided edge in time of possession and took advantage of the holes in the KCD zone defense. Early in the match, it was the veteran Karman who put the Rocks on the board with a score just over one minute into the match on a sweet delivery from Zehnder. Herner followed at 5:42 and 4:55 with back-to-back goals to end the first period scoring.
With such big early lead, the Rocks offensive players had to stay disciplined to make their offense work.
"The temptation was there (to make one-on-one moves), but overall we played as a team," said Herner. "This was probably our best ball we've played so we're really looking forward to the state final."
Trinity coach Pete Schroeder, recently selected by US Lacrosse as one of the top coaches in the country, was pleased to see his team play well at both ends of the field. "Our defense knew who their studs were and we played a solid system against them," said Schroeder. "I'm proud of those guys. That was a great effort in the playoffs against a strong team."
Some of the benefits from the game included facing that zone defense that Herner talkled about. Schroeder's offense was well prepared for it. "We got to see a zone defense today," he said, "and we found out that we can play well against it. We were really pleased with what we saw from our offense."
Up 8-1 at halftime, the game turned into the Kevin Sims show in the third period. Sims scored at 11:27, 5:51, 5:39 and at 3:53. The first three were unassisted goals, and the last one came from a pretty feed by Karman. That put the Rocks up 12-1.
"Simsy is an explosive athlete," beamed Schroeder, "and he's emerging as a lacrosse player. He's just growing up before our eyes."
After a score from Edelen at the 3:36 point in the third, the clock was put into "rolling" mode--no stopping it except for injury--as Trinity cruised to the win.
Herner is looking forward to Friday night's final against rival St. X. "This is basically the same outcome as last year, with us meeting St. X for the state title," he said. "We beat St. X in the regular season last year, but lost the state championship. We beat them again this year so we really have to capitalize in the state final."
What will it take to win? "Teamwork. Nobody can get selfish," Herner stated. "If we play like we did tonight, we'll do fine."
Coach Schroeder understands the nature of the rivalry and knows that it will be a tough match. "St. X will be well prepared for Sims and the rest of the offense," he said. "We have a couple wrinkles we're going to put in and we're anticipating a few things from them. It's just a chance to seize the moment. This is a whole new team and this is their shot. They've got a ton to play for so it's not really so much about last year as it about this year and about this team."