Wednesday night (TOMORROW), Saint Xavier Lacrosse will play its most important game of the season, and this year it’s coming a little earlier than expected. The Tigers will face arch rival Trinity in the state semifinal matchup. For the past 10 years, it seems as though every year it has come down to the two teams in the championship, which is interesting due to the fact that the playoff seeding is completely random. This year, however, the Tigers will need to show out in the semis against the Rocks if they want the chance to play for the State Championship. It’s the most exciting part of the season – win or go home – and the Tigers are ready to win.
Of course the two rivals battled it out in a fun regular season matchup. The Tigers went in the favorite and left the same way, yet the game was nothing short of a challenge. The two teams traded goals the entire game up until the final moments, when a short run put Trinity up by two goals. The Tigers managed to get two goals in the final 45 seconds to push the game to sudden death overtime, where St. X would eventually win on a Leland Gray goal at the buzzer.
This time around, though, there will many changes in the flow of the game. Both teams have had their fair share of bumps and bruises since the regular season game, causing each team change up its system. Fortunately for the Tigers, the only difference should be on defense, where sophomore Paul Porter will be playing in place of senior Owen Peters, who suffered a foot injury just before the Virginia spring break trip.
Trinity has really been hit hard. Senior long-stick midfielder Jeremiah Hemme was hurt for the remainder of the season after breaking his wrist during the previous St. X vs. Trinity matchup. Hemme was a D-1 recruit who was an enforcer on defense while also being a scoring threat, putting two goals past Max Cartor during the regular season match. Senior attackman Austin Graehler will also miss the rest of the season with a broken foot. Graehler scored five goals in the previous game against St. X.
St. X has been the dominant force in the past seven years, and this year should be no different. Porter has stepped in for Owen Peters and played well. He was able to get experience in the trip up to Virginia, and has really become a force on defense. The duo of Coleman Webb and Alex Cherry in the faceoff circle has been straight up dirty. We’re talking about a reigning All-American (Webb) and another senior who’s played just as well or even better at some points in the season.
The biggest thing for me is the injuries on Trinity’s end. The Rocks mustered 9 goals against St. X in what was just about the best game they could have played…and 7 of those 9 goals came from the two players who won’t be in uniform tomorrow. I just don’t see Trinity being able to put two people out there that are as effective as Hemme and Graehler. They already relied on two players to carry the bulk of the team, and now with the two players out, they have no one to turn to.
I’ve been watching every game this season, I’ve played the game for years and I’ve also had inside talks with players. My prediction is St. X wins 12-4. I can’t guarantee that score, but I can tell you that this game will be very different from the one we saw in Marshall Stadium during the regular season. One thing we can’t overlook, Tiger Nation, is that the crowd will play a part in this game; it always has, and it always will. So get out to Br. Thomas More Page Stadium and get rowdy.
Go Tigers! We Are!