It was a relatively calm, sunny evening when the Red Devils of Hinsdale Central traveled to Oak Park to play long time rivals, Oak Park River Forest (OPRF). Although the Huskies of OPRF had a paltry 2-9 record, the visiting HC JV team knew better than to take the team lightly and came out aggressive.
Charlie Kapp, scored the game’s first goal three minutes into the game, with an aggressive, unassisted goal storming in from the right side. Kapp has been a potent addition to the JV team. As a seasoned hockey player, his skills translate well to the lacrosse turf as he’s been an impact player with numerous assists, steals, ground balls and other often unnoticed plays in the trench.
Although the final score was close, the Red Devils seemed in control for the entire game, keeping the lead throughout all four periods. They have a tendency to make games close at one point or another when they temporarily loose focus or intensity.
When you control the ball, you control the game, and face-off specialist Ryan Loughlin has been an exciting, consistent leader, winning possession disproportionately in every game this year. In the OPRF game he gave the offense the opportunity to score, winning 16 out of 18 face-offs. This stat alone should ensure a strong showing by the offense if they take proper advantage of Loughlin’s possession earning efforts.
Drew Azinger knows how to turn possessions into points and led the scoring with four goals, three of them unassisted. Az’s array of shots are exciting as he hits from all angles, moves well to get open, and fires his shots off with Aroldis Chapman-like speed. Keaton Donahue and Nate Sutton both had two goals to round out the scoring as consistently reliable back-of-the-net finders.
The defense held OPRF to only the five goals, but were on their game all night. Jacob Schaik continues to frustrate opponents with his hard to believe stops, when the shooter feels as though he has alluded the defense and has a wide open shot, only to be ‘Jamoed’.
The JV Red Devils play again Friday night against the Mustangs of St. Rita at Hinsdale Central’s Tower Field, the first face-off at 5:15 p.m.
May 2, Hinsdale Tower Field.
It was a rough night for the HC JV team as contrary to the game at Neuqua Valley three days before, playing their best overall game of the year to beat the undefeated Wildcats, the Griffins of Lincoln Way East proved to be much more formidable. The LWE Griffins jumped off the bus aggressively, hit the field with exceptional energy and appeared to outplay the JV squad all game.
With yet another celebrity appearance at a Red Devils home game, Steve Martin, dressed incognito in the stands was overheard saying, ‘John Candy and I didn’t make that many errors in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and we were trying too!’ After the game Coach Lambert was quick to validate the celebrities novice review of the game, saying ‘our guys have to improve their consistency, realize possession is the game and it seems like Lincoln Way wanted the ground balls more than us, weren’t afraid to get dirty scrambling for possessions, and never stopped applying pressure.’
Lincoln way caught the Red Devils flat footed early in the game, scoring three quick goals in early minutes, leading 3-0 at the end of the first period. In fairness to the JV Devils, they are rarely out of a game, and started the second period with a recently developed play pairing Kapp to Keaton, or K to K, on assists and scores over the last few games. In this case Charlie Kapp, playing attack made two slick passes to Keaton Donahue for close in goals early in the 2nd period, sandwiched around another LWC goal making the score 4-2, with two minutes left in the half.
A consistent bright spot for the home JV remains the face-off dominance of Ryan Loughlin, who was 15 out of 19 in this valiant effort. After another Griffin goal, Ryan nimbly won the ensuing face off, dodged through the defense and dished off an agile assist to Donahue, for his third goal of the first half, making the score 5-3 before the teams regrouped for the second half.
The story of this game wouldn’t be complete without referencing what appeared to be over-zealous coaching and play from the Griffins on the field and sidelines, causing several penalties for both teams in a scrappy, brass knuckles fought game. The score at times seemed closer than the actual game, given the unyielding pressure of the visitors, eerily all dressed in black, as if to define their personna as the villians.
The second half started much like the first, hard hitting and the Red Devils loosing the war of turnovers, groundballs, and mental mistakes. As in many games, if they played better ball control, they could have handily won the game, as Jamo remained tough at net, blocking big shots and defensive pole Matt D’Aprile again proving he’s typically the strongest and most prevalent hitter on the field. D’Aprile seemed all too lonely on ‘D’ as our big men allowed their swifter oppontents to get inside them for easy goals, even Jake couldn’t stop alone. A wise coach once said, ‘a good goalie can win a game, but no goalie ever loses a game, as it’s the defense around him that allows uncontested shots on goal.’
The always competitive JV made a serious game of it in the fourth period, as Drew Azinger heated up scorching a low shot to make the score 5-4 with nine minutes left in the game. Loughlin then again won the face off and charged the goal and just as the defense collapsed on him, he unselfishly assisted Keats by the net for Donahue’s fourth goal of the game. With the game tied at 5-5, the air was tense with anticipation of a comeback win for the home team.
Unfortunately, four more Lincoln Way goals, surrounding a long, left side goal laced by Azinger who was valiantly trying to keep HC in the game, told the final story of the loss. Although the HC fans, and Martin, were frustrated by some of the sportsman shortcomings of the visitors and their coaches, the opportunity to dig down and win fell short, indicating the trajectory of consistency needs improvment.
Look for updates on the OPRF and Fenwick JV victories soon. There’s a game tonight at 5:30 p.m. way out at Barrington High School so give yourself an hour or so.
It was Hinsdale Central Lacrosse ‘surround sound’ Saturday morning in Naperville as both the Boy’s Varsity and Junior Varsity engaged their respective Neuqua Valley opponents simultaneously on fields just a few miles apart. The Red Devil teams synchronistically clicked and beat the highly rated counterparts by the identical
score of 9-5.
The HC Boy’s lacrosse program made a strong statement as the Varsity beat the fifth ranked team in the state in the midst of a twelve game winning streak and the JV beat an undefeated Neuqua Valley JV team. Coaches of the JV squad saw how tough and talented their team is when playing aggressively for the entire game. Coach Matt Lambert was pleased with balanced play stating, “Lacrosse is a possession game, it’s about who wants ground balls more, who avoids turnovers, passes wisely and crisply, and who wins face-offs. On this day, we had it all and put forth one of our finest complete games, demonstrating we can beat anyone when we put it all together.”
It started with a swarming, aggressive defense of long poles and middies out hustling their opponents, winning the ground ball war fiercely, and shutting down a talented, routinely high scoring Wildcat offense. The defense created turnovers and offense with big hits again from Matt D’Aprile, and strong play and clearing by Grant Niestrom. The stingy D held Neuqua Valley to only two goals through the first three periods clearly dampening their morale.
Once again the offensive strikers played unselfishly--consistently finding the open man. Drew Azinger playing more recently from the middie position to avoid double teams, open up the field, and create action is leading the team in assists over the last few games, while remaining a prolific scorer. Drew drilled the back of the net for the first goal of the game, setting the stage for the day and had his second goal, unassisted to start the third quarter. Niestrom demonstrated his full field skills, taking the ball from goal to goal with a sweet dish off assist to attackman Keaton Donahue for the second Red Devil score.
Weston Ball and Joe Paulson have added important offensive punch throughout the middle of the season with Ball scoring a stinging goal in the first and Paulson adding two timely goals, one in the second, and a needed insurance goal in the fourth period. Donahue lead the JV scoring with three spread out goals, two resulting from Azinger dishes, providing a reliable ‘man in the middle’ for the poised passers.
Again, the talented Red Devil middies were critical to the win, sacrificing their bodies and often arms to the stinging aluminum sticks wielded by thrashing opponents. Nothing like hard, cold steel poles banging on their young arms on a thirty degree, windy, rainy morning like Saturday. Kudos to Jack McCarty, Charlie Kapp, Ben Simon, Jack McCarter, Nate Sutton and Matthew Rodgers for winning the battle in the middle of the field against the previously unbeaten Wildcats. Their scrappy play was the difference in the game.
Include freshman goalie Jamo Schaik when listing the warriors in the trenches. The fearless goalie came up with several huge stops including an aggressive baseball-like slide to narrowly stop a shot with his foot. Despite one of the best showings this year, the cardiac Devils made it interesting in the second half, allowing two goals to make the game 6-4 with over eight minutes remaining in the fourth period, as Neuqua uncharacteristically won three face-offs in a row.
Perhaps the most pivotal play of the game came with just over four minutes left in the game, Neuqua won the face-off and stormed the HC goal setting up their primary scorer. The Wildcat attackman looked ominous as he bolted within a few feet of ‘The Shake’ who proceeded to stuff him like ‘The Shaq’ reversing the opponents late surge. The Devils high off the defensive stand never looked back scoring right away and keeping the lead until the final buzzer.
If possession is the name of the game, once again freshman face-off ace Ryan Loughlin is pivotal as he continues to frustrate adversaries in every game. Despite the temporary reversal of fate during the third period, Ryan summoned up his quick hands, under pressure, to win the most crucial possessions in the final quarter. Overall he was 10 out of 15 in the contests, still a dominating advantage for the winners.
The Red Devils play the next game at home (Tower Field) Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. against Lincoln Way East.