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!
On a wet Wednesday afternoon, the Tiger lacrosse teams took on Louisville Collegiate in their last regular season games of the year. After days of continuous rain, the game was rescheduled to be played at Brother Thomas More Stadium, which proved to be a benefit for the Tigers. JV was locked into a close game through the first quarter. At the beginning of the second period, the team found themselves down by a couple of goals. Sophomore John Mueller helped change things around. Mueller, along with Griffin Jung (2 goals) and Joey Mackin (1 goal and 4 assists), helped guide the Tigers back into the game, which was tied at halftime. Once the third quarter started, the Tigers started firing on all cylinders, scoring goal after goal. When time ran out, JV claimed their last win of the season by a score of 13-8.
The Varsity game started with clear skies as a big and rowdy crowd cheered both sides on. The Tigers jumped out to their usual early lead, scoring 4 straight goals before allowing a Collegiate goal. St. X never allowed Collegiate to make a come back, as they controlled the pace the entire game. Even with Collegiate’s goalie’s great performance, the Tigers were able to follow their shots with more opportunities, eventually building up a sizable lead. Even as the Titans scored a quick couple of goals, the Tigers were able to counter. By the end of the third quarter, the Tigers had taken a 10-3 lead over the Titans. Through the fourth quarter, the St. X defense only allowed one more goal. In the end, the Tigers were too much for the Titans and claimed a 14-4 victory to close out the regular season. Nick King led the Tigers through Wednesday’s game as he swam through the Collegiate defense, picking up five incredible goals. Coleman Webb showed that he has a diverse skill set, as he controlled face offs and scored 3 goals.
The Tigers played a perfectly executed game against Collegiate, showing how much they have grown as a team throughout the season. Heading into the state playoffs, the Tigers look to be the favorite as they try to capture the State Championship trophy that slightly eluded them last year.