May 21st, 2011
St. X Cements LAX Dynasty With Four-Peat
Gray, Wesley net three each; Hoffman stellar in goal for Tigers
Essentially, this game was won on May 5th. That’s the date that Trinity defeated St. Xavier in the lacrosse regular season by a score of 8-6.
It wasn’t going to happen again. At least not after all of the effort put into preparation and game-planning by the Tigers for this state championship game Friday evening at Trinity’s Marshall Stadium. They put on a show before a packed house of more than 6,000 fans.
St. X turned all of that preparation into a dominant performance to win their fourth consecutive KY High School Lacrosse Association Championship defeating rival Trinity 9-5. And it was not that close.
“We fixed some of the things we didn’t do when we played them in the regular season,” said St. X coach Scott Howe. “In that game, we didn’t run our offense, we got a little too tight, we didn’t space ourselves out and we were too impatient. We exploded there tonight. We got the shots we wanted to get and we did a better job of putting them in the goal.”
That May 5th loss was a consistent theme throughout the St. X team. They studied the game film, they learned from their mistakes, they came in with a plan and they executed it. With precision.
“We just had to slow down what we were doing,” said coach Howe. “We went too fast the last game. We didn’t get the proper clear-outs and we didn’t get their defensemen where we wanted them to be before we’d attack the goal. Tonight, as soon as we knew what they were doing, it left us the result at the end of the play. The kids executed beautifully out of the gate. They really did.”
Fueled by that loss just 15 days ago, it sounds like the mad scientist Howe went to work in the lab and came out with the magic elixir. Senior defenseman Chase Heuke felt good about that preparation, “We watched the film of that first game and all of those goals we gave up. We knew what we did wrong and we fixed that right away.”
The defense was focused on taking away the right side and the right hands of the Trinity offense. They did. It worked.
A Shamrock offense that scored 17 goals in their semifinal win over KCD was stifled early in the game and rendered pretty much helpless throughout. They looked confused, lethargic and off balance. Credit that Tigers defense.
“Defensively we just challenged the boys and told them that they aren’t going to beat us with their right hand,” Howe demanded. “They were going to have to beat us with their left hand. We forced everybody to their left and it worked out pretty good for us.”
ST. X junior Seth Gray started the scoring just :49 into the match. The Tigers took advantage of a blocked shot that ricocheted towards midfield, was scooped up on the run by sophomore Zayne Smith who flicked a quick pass to Gray for the score.
Less than a minute later, it was Gray’s turn to assist Smith for a goal and with just 1:42 gone in the game, St. X enjoyed a 2-0 lead before Trinity could gather themselves.
Gray scored three goals on the night as did teammate Reid Wesley. Wesely, a senior, notched his first of the match with 4:04 remaining in the first period and had the Shamrocks reeling on defense.
“They played good team defense and they played good team offense,” said Trinity coach Pete Schroeder. “They beat us on both ends of the field to start the game. They were much sharper than they were in the regular season game.”
Trinity gathered themselves and seemed to control the run of play early in the second period. Senior Matt Herner scored his first of four goals at 10:18. And when St. X defenseman Connor Glick was called for a penalty and was sent to the box for one minute, it seemed like the Rocks were going to get back in the game.
But the Tigers defense stiffened and silenced the potent Trinity attack on that power play. From that point on, the momentum for the rest of the half tilted towards the St. X offensive end.
The unsung hero on the night and the guy who helped tilt that field was St. X goalie and championship game MVP Eric Hoffman. His 11 saves and several steals of passes around the crease were critical to the Tigers success. The junior net-minder enjoyed a few stellar saves and kept Trinity from creeping back into the game.
“We knew coming in that the last game we gave up eight easy goals that shouldn’t have happened. Tonight, we were watching the backside every single pass. We weren’t ‘ball watching’. It feels amazing to win again and we’re going to go for it next year.”
Senior Hayden Holbrook and junior Andrew Boeckman scored at 5:20 and 4:11 of the second period, and then Wesley added his second of the game at 3:22. Just like that it was 6-1 heading into halftime and the Tigers seniors could see their fourth championship was well within reach.
“The team worked great passing the ball around and finding open guys,” said Wesley. “I thought I was going to be the crease guy and getting other guys open shots, but it worked out that I got a few. My teammates were awesome.”
A step ahead of their opponents all night, the Tigers controlled the pace of play. Wesley spelled out what they wanted to do offensively in three simple concepts, “Speed, ball movement and ball possession.”
Coach Schroeder has seen that type of effort before. From his Shamrock teams that enjoyed a four-peat, winning the state championship from 2004-2007. “We were here four years ago going for the four-peat and I know how hungry those St. X kids are and they sure played like it. They were terrific. They deserve the credit.”
For a full photo gallery from Friday's state championship, visit www.facebook.com/louisvillecatholicsports
2011 All-State Lacrosse Team
- Seth Gray, St. Xavier
- Eric Edelen, Trinity
- Rodes Robinson, Collegiate
- Reid Wesley, St. Xavier
- Patrick Rhea, Collegiate
- Ryan Scinta, KCD
- Austin Fackler, Trinity
- Christian Poppe, Trinity
- Bobby Schmitt, St. Xavier
- Eric Hoffman, St. Xavier
- Brad Lott, Trinity
Long Stick Midfield
- Harris Levine, Collegiate
Kentucky Coach of the Year
- Pete Schroeder, Trinity