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One Last Ride for Tiger Lacrosse

For one last time, Tommy Kushner (left)and Davis Kannapell will do their thing. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

For one last time, Tommy Kushner (left) and Davis Kannapell will do their thing. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Wednesday night the Tiger Lacrosse Team took on rival Trinity in the State Semifinals in the hopes of continuing its successful season. The Tigers showed pure dominance on the field and ultimately ousted the Rocks by a final score of 10-2.  St. X now heads on to the State Championship, a place the Tigers are very fond of and accustomed to. The opponent will be the Bearcats of Kentucky Country Day, a team the Tigers haven’t faced in years. Here’s what we learned from the semifinal game and what we should expect to see in the title game tonight.

Goals will come in heavy spurts. The Tiger offense has really been clicking the past few games, though it’s not the constant onslaught of goals one would expect. The offense likes to go on runs, catching the opponent while they aren’t paying attention. As seen in the semifinal matchup, the Tigers only led Trinity by three (4-1) at half, and soon the lead was diminished to two goals in the third quarter. The St. X offense responded with a 6-0 run to give themselves a commanding lead. This spurt of goals came just in time and ultimately led them to victory.

The Tigers’ injuries have been covered up perfectly. During the season, St. X has experienced multiple injuries, ranging from senior attackman Jack Muldoon’s torn ACL in the first game of the season to senior defenseman Owen Peters’ hurt foot. Fortunately, the team hasn’t missed a beat. In Wednesday night’s game against Trinity, we saw the exiting emergence of sophomore defender Paul Porter, who has been filling in for Peters since his injury. Not only did Porter do his job, he excelled beyond expectations. In my opinion, Porter put up the strongest defensive performance of the night, which is a tough task being paired with multi-year starter Caleb Grimes and senior Davis Kannapell. On the midfielder end, we’ve seen figures such as seniors Tanner Black and Jack Werner emerge to run the ball up and down the field. These two have played outstanding lacrosse recently and will be huge in the championship.

Scott Howe has done it again. Every year the lacrosse team is new at the beginning, yet Coach Howe always manages to bring it together as a unit by the end. The team we saw Wednesday night was of the highest caliber, and the style was classic Coach Howe. There was not a single St. X player that dominated the Trinity game. Scoring came from a myriad of players, from the attack to the first two lines of midfielders. Everyone was getting touches, making it impossible for the opponent defense to shut down one specific player. This quality is the reason why everyone dreads playing St. X. It would not surprise me if upwards of 6 different players scored in the championship game. That’s just how versatile this team is.

The Tigers take on KCD at Br. Thomas More Page Stadium at 7:00 tonight. After tossing out a solid prediction for the last game, I couldn’t resist making another for the championship. My prediction is Tigers win 14-2. Again, Tiger Nation, it’s your turn. You did an outstanding job Wednesday night. Follow it up, and we will undoubtedly hear screams, shouts and cheers of “BACK TO BACK.”

Go Tigers! We Are!

St. X vs. Trinity Preview: State Semifinals

After an up and down season, look for Coleman Webb to have a statement game against Trinity. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

After an up and down season, look for Coleman Webb to have a statement game against Trinity. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

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!

Tiger Lacrosse Rolls Over Manual

Caleb Grimes helped St. X allow only a single goal on defense. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Caleb Grimes helped St. X allow only a single goal on defense. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

The Tiger Lacrosse team defeated Manual 24-1 Wednesday night. And no, that’s not a misprint. In fact, it’s almost what we expected after last year’s national record-setting 33-2 victory over the Crimsons. The Tigers came, they conquered, and took care of business on their way to another win, making them 2-0 on the season.

After the first game, it was obvious the St. X team had a surplus of talent, and in their scrimmage against Upper Arlington last weekend, huge progress was shown. The Tigers dominated Manual, allowing the ball to get on their defensive end of the field only two times in the entire first half. Attackman Collin Roppel continued his magic around the net, getting a hat trick less than five minutes into the game, and the goals kept coming. Leland Gray added 3 more and the middies relentlessly shot on the Manual goalie. The offense flowed fruitfully in the first half stemming from dominant wins at the face off circle. By the time the first half came to a close, St. X led 18-0 over the Rams.

“The first half of play had some of the best ball movement I’ve seen in a while,” remarked senior attackman Will Edwards, who scored 2 goals of his own as well as dishing out 4 assists.

The defense didn’t get many touches in this game, yet they were ready whenever they were needed. Once again the powerful forces of Davis Kannapell, Owen Peters, Caleb Grimes, and Max Cartor held down the fort, squandering any glimpses of a Crimson offensive opportunity.

“The game was definitely a little slow on our defensive end,” Cartor explained. “But it was still fun, and we responded when we needed to.”

St. X eventually allowed a goal late in the third quarter to the Rams, but they responded with more goals. Sophomore Joey Mackin made great use of his playing time, netting a couple goals and junior J.C. Storner racked up two assists in the late moments of the game.

The final score was 24-1, with St. X winning their second regular season game.

Next up for the Tigers is another road trip this weekend, where they face Zionsville in Indiana. Gametime is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.