May 19th, 2012
High Five: St. Xavier Defends LAX Title Again
Tigers beat Trinity 8-7 in OT to win 5th straight championship
Catholic high school rivals St. Xavier and Trinity met in the Kentucky Lacrosse Association Division I boys' state championship game for the third straight season and 7th time in 12 years on Friday night, and the state's two best programs certainly did not disappoint.
After the No. 1 seed Shamrocks led for the majority of the game, including a 6-3 lead following three quarters of action, the Tigers capped a dramatic 8-7 comeback victory when St. X junior Brad Schickel blasted in the game-winning goal with just 7.2 seconds remaining in the first sudden death overtime period.
The Tigers have now won the LAX state title in five straight seasons and are the first team, boys or girls, to ever accomplish the feat in Kentucky.
Despite coming into Friday's showdown with four consecutive championships on its resume, St. Xavier was still considered the underdog against a Trinity team that handled the Tigers during regular season action, but St. X head coach Scott Howe Sr. said his team was much different than the one that lost to the Rocks 17-10 two months ago.
"Nobody gave us a chance in this game. Trinity spanked us really well in the beginning of the season by seven goals, but this is a different team," said Howe. "We're a much different team than when we played them (the last time). The guys really came together, they played as a team, they moved the ball and really bought into a defensive concept, and obviously that worked tonight - we held a high-scoring team to seven goals and were patient enough on offense to get the goals when we needed them."
"We knew we were the underdog and I guess we used it to our advantage," said Schickel. "We came out and knew we had to prove something."
Trailing 6-4 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game on Friday, St. Xavier junior Zayne Smith took over the game. The midfielder skipped in a goal to cut Trinity's lead to 6-5 with 8:44 to go and then scored a second straight goal a minute and a half later to tie the game at 6-6. It was the first time the contest had been all square since a 1-1 score at the 7:03 mark in the opening quarter.
After Shamrocks senior all-state midfielder Brad Lott put Trinity ahead 7-6 with his third goal and 3:08 left in the game, Smith picked up his hat track goal and retied the game at 7-7 with just 42 seconds remaining in regulation. Trinity's Davis Church managed to get off a strong look at the net just before the horn, but the shot went wide and the game went into OT.
During the four-minute sudden death stretch, both teams had substantial possessions and called respective timeouts on two different occasions to set up its offense. St. X held on defense with about 30 seconds to go and the Tigers instantly began allowing the eventual game-winning sequence to take form.
"That was just good, hard defense around the 30-yard line. Andrew Boeckmann picked it up, passed it to Zayne Smith and I just darted straight toward the goal," said St. X hero Schickel. "Zayne looked up, saw me, passed it and I barely caught it. Then I decided just to go high and right corner and made it. It's the greatest feeling."
"This is the best goal I've ever scored."
When asked about what he was thinking as he watched the game's final play unfolding, Howe said he was only nervous about the initial pass up the field.
"I knew Schickel would make the catch, you just have to make the pass. When you're running full speed down the field as fast as you can go and you try to make a 30-yard pass across 40 yards of field to another guy that's running on a diagonal, that's a pretty intricate play," said Howe. "You've got to have some severe hand-eye coordination and some skills, and those two guys are great. They're two of the best attackmen in the state and they showed it right there on that 1-2 combo."
Trinity got goals from four different players (Mitchell Kraus, Sumner Franklin, Will Frey and Lott) in building a 4-1 lead by halftime, but the Tigers came out on a mission in the second half and cut the Rocks' lead to 4-3 on goals by Patrick Muldoon and Schickel with 6:18 to go in the third period.
"Two of (Trinity's) four goals (in the first half) came when we were a man down, so you can't really worry about that. They had six players, we had five...you should score," said Howe. "So we just said, 'Stay patient, we're in good shape.' We had some depth and it was hot, so we were just going to run and keep pushing them and keep pushing them and we'll see who gives in the end."
"Thank goodness it worked."
The Shamrocks did appear to regain control of the game when Kraus and Lott each scored their 2nd goals of the game and put Trinity ahead by three goals heading into the fourth and final quarter of the state championship game. Lott also won 9 face-offs against the Tigers.
St. Xavier received goals from four different players during the championship victory, as Smith (3), Muldoon (2), Schickel (2) and sophomore Will Roshkowski (1) accounted for the Tiger scoring. After the game, however, it was the St. X defense that was the primary topic of conversation.
"We're going to give the MVP to our (entire) defense," said Howe. "You can't pick out one guy. There's too many guys that played great tonight, they played great as a team and my hats are just off to them. They played super hard."
Senior goalie Eric Hoffman, who was the championship MVP for St. X in last year's game, did indeed accept the 2012 MVP trophy on behalf of the entire Tiger defense during the postgame award ceremony.
"We've got a lot of young guys, but this team has just really matured over the course of the season and bought into helping each other and backing each other up," said Howe. "Tonight we were a man down most of the game because of penalties. I think we were a man down half the game. And to be a man down in overtime and turn (Trinity) away with the guns that they've got, that's big time."
The St. Xavier LAX program has now won the state title every year since 2008. Prior to the start of what has now become a five-peat, Trinity won four straight state titles between 2004-2007. Either the Shamrocks or Tigers have been crowned as Div. I state champion in every year that the KLA has been tracking official championship wins since 2001.
Kentucky Lacrosse Association 2012 Division I All-State Team:
- Zayne Smith, Attack (St. Xavier)
- Will Downer, Attack (Ballard)
- Zach Danelly, Attack (Christian Academy)
- Michael Worthington, Midfield (KCD)
- Kevin Sims, Midfield (Trinity)
- Cha'Sed Miller, Midfield (Dunbar)
- Brad Lott, Midfield (Trinity)
- Patrick Muldoon, Midfield (St. Xavier)
- Robert Rhea, Defense (Ballard)
- Nick Schmetzer, Defense (St. Xavier)
- Cole Killion, Defense (Trinity)
- Cooper Fogle, Goalie (Ballard)
- Dillon Vance, Long Stick Midfield (Dunbar)
- Brad Lott, Face Off Specialist (Trinity)