May 16th, 2012
Trinity Wins Big, Advances To LAX Finals
Top seed Shamrocks beat Collegiate 15-0 in semis
When Trinity High School won four straight Kentucky Lacrosse Association Division-I state championships between 2004-2007, the Shamrocks had its bid for a five-peat halted when rival St. Xavier beat Lexington Catholic in the 2008 final.
Since that time, St. X has ruled atop the local LAX mountain and ripped off four consecutive state titles of its own dating back to last season.
Following the Rocks' commanding 15-0 win over Louisville Collegiate on Wednesday, the Catholic school adversaries Trinity and St. Xavier will once again meet in the finals with the ultimate prize on the line during the state finals on Friday night.
It's the third straight year for an all-Louisville Catholic matchup in the Div. I championship game.
Following a 35-minute lightning delay on Wednesday, Trinity played its way back into the finals by defeating an overmatched Titans team at Marshall Stadium. The Rocks, which are the overall No. 1 seed in the state tournament, got a team-high four goals from junior Austin Zehnder and two goals each from Davis Church, Mitchell Kraus and Sumner Franklin in the victory.
Senior Brad Lott had the most balanced performance, as the University of Michigan signee won 14 of 15 face-off chances, scored three goals and notched two assists. Lott's 20-foot blast less than two minutes into the game put the Rocks up 1-0 in a hurry and set the tone during the blowout win for Trinity.
"He works extremely hard. That's not to say that other kids don't, but I see how hard he works. And to see him have success like that and be that dominant is great," said Trinity head coach Pete Schroeder of Lott. "He is a huge player for us. He can really flip the script and change the game."
The Shamrocks did manage to build a 5-0 lead by halftime, but missed out on several opportunities to extend its advantage due largely in part to the play of Collegiate goalie Jason Stites.
"Their goalie stepped up, played terrific and kept them in the game big time, but we just tried to stay on plan and we did a lot of good things," said Schroeder. "When you win 15-0, you do a lot of good things and I was pleased all the way around."
Trinity scored five goals during an eight-minute period during the third period, which was sparked by the first of Kraus' two goals that ricocheted off a Collegiate player and into the goal for a 6-0 Shamrock lead with 9:47 to go in the 3rd.
Zehnder scored two of his four goals in the final period. His 4th score put the Rocks up 13-0 and forced the running clock rule into effect with 8:46 remaining in the semifinal contest. Seven different Trinity players scored at least one goal in the game, including single points from Kevin Sims and Jackson Lienhart.
"We want everyone to play hard without the ball on offense," said Schroeder. "It's important with one ball and six players that five guys have got to play without the ball at once. They're talented and unselfish kids, and they're a pleasure to coach."
Trinity goalie Cody Tranbarger 11 stops and finished the wire-to-wire shutout in the net for the Rocks. His counterpart, the aforementioned Stites, had 17 stops and came up with several saves of point-blank shots on goal, but the Shamrock attack was just too aggressive to handle.
With the win over the No. 5 seed Titans, top-seeded Trinity will have a chance to keep St. Xavier from winning a 5th straight state title. The Rocks lost to the Tigers by a score of 9-5 in last year's championship, but Trinity bested its rival 17-10 earlier this year in regular season play.
"We feel like if we keep our poise and stick handle for 48 minutes, and shoot the ball reasonably well, we're going to be right where we want to be," said Schroeder said of his team's matchup with St. X in the title game on Friday. "But we have to win that 48 minutes. That's what it comes down to."
But who will have more pressure on them: St. X going for state championship No. 5 in a row or Trinity getting the title monkey off its back?
"That's a good question. There's probably pressure going both ways in terms of who has more," said Schroeder. "There's a lot of history there and there will be plenty of pressure on both sides, but no matter what it will be a fun game to coach and play in, so it's going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait."
Catholic rivals Trinity and St. Xavier will decide the KLA Division I on Friday at 8pm at Trinity High School's Marshall Stadium. Tournament No. 2 seed St. X came from behind to defeat No. 3 Ballard 9-5 in the other semifinal game on Wednesday.