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Lacrosse travels to Memphis, Tenn. for first tournament of the year

Rather than spending time on a beach in Florida, an immersion trip in Asia, or a band trip to Italy, the St. Louis U. High Lacrosse team (2-2) took their fleet of vans and trekked down Highway 55 to Memphis, Tenn. to face off against their toughest competition of the season yet: Briercrest (5-1) and Memphis University School (7-2). SLUH was coming into the weekend with optimism to shock the St. Louis lacrosse world by beating MUS for the first time in program history. Unfortunately, the Memphis teams proved too much for the Jr. Bills to handle as Briercrest beat the Laxbills 9-3 while a second half rout gave MUS a 14-2 win. 

Prior to those games, SLUH blew out Kirkwood (1-4) by eleven goals and got a 15-4 victory. The Jr. Bills took their momentum from their season opener against Priory and propelled it to a win against Kirkwood. Last season SLUH narrowly defeated the Pioneers at home; however, from the start it was clear that this time around SLUH was the better team. Junior attackmen Josh Bertram started the scoring off, with an assist from junior Will Feise. Bertram had three goals on the day and recorded the first hat trick of his Varsity career. 

Bertram stayed active in the first as he assisted a goal from senior captain Danny Carse. Carse had a career-high five goals on the night, and SLUH ended the first quarter up 2-0. 

  “The offense knew Kirkwood shifted into a zone which left only one defender on the crease and we found successful opportunities to score,” said Carse. 

Kirkwood stayed competitive throughout the first half. They scored two goals, both on fast breaks, but SLUH’s offense was just outpacing them. The Jr. Bills scored four, two coming from senior Danny Campbell, one from junior Tim Browdy, and one from Carse. SLUH went into the break up 6-2. 

The game got out of hand for Kirkwood in the third after two goals from Carse, one from Bertram, and another from Feise. The game concluded 15-4 after goals from Campbell, Bertram, Feise, and junior Jackson ‘Jdizzy’ Dauska. Truly, a statement win for SLUH. Last season, the Jr. Bills kept teams like Kirkwood within striking distance and rarely dominated like this. However, the Memphis teams proved to give SLUH more of a challenge.

  “Playing better competition early in the season is a great opportunity to catch our flaws early so we can fix and build on them in the coming weeks,” said Campbell. “We build a false consensus on how good we are when we beat up the Priorys of the world.”

The Jr. Bills arrived in Memphis just a few hours before their battle against Briercrest. From the opening faceoff, it was clear SLUH was struggling to get anything going offensively, and every possession was going to be gear-grinding. 

SLUH’s defense kept them in it in the first half. Briercrest was by far the best offensive team the Jr. Bills had faced up to that point, and the defense, led by junior Marco Sansone, stepped up to the challenge. They kept Briercrest to only one first quarter goal and only four in the first half. Normally, only giving up four goals to a team like Briercrest would be a good thing; however, SLUH’s offense was shut out, with not much good to build on. Furthermore, senior FOGO Michael Robinson didn’t win a single faceoff. Even with offensive struggles, the Jr. Bills still held on hope as four goals is nowhere near an insurmountable lead. 

“To his credit their faceoff kid was really talented,” said Robinson. “But that's no excuse for that kind of performance. I just have to keep confidence and focus on improving incrementally.”

Yet, SLUH never got back in it as they continued to struggle on faceoffs, and Briercrest scored two quick goals to start the half. They did not look back. The game ended 9-3 with fourth quarter goals coming from Campbell, Carse, and junior Sean Boyd. The biggest point of emphasis going into the next game vs. MUS was finding more success on offense. Unfortunately, that never transpired. 

“They were sticking to our hands,” said Bertram. “We couldn’t get any passes off.”

The SLUH vs. MUS rivalry goes back nearly twenty years, yet SLUH has never gotten a victory. But in the first 22 minutes of the game, the energy was there to take down Goliath. SLUH found themselves only down one, for the most part due to the fortitude of the U. High defense. Yet, the offense still hadn’t scored and it was only a matter of time before MUS started picking it up. In the last 90 seconds of the half, MUS quadrupled their score, making it 4-0 as the energy on the Jr. Bills sideline depleted. 

The SLUH defense got tired and MUS extended their lead to nine before Campbell was able to get the Jr. Bills on the board with a rip bottom left. Unfortunately, MUS responded straight away, negating the Campbell goal immediately. They added fuel to the flame by scoring four more for a 14-1 lead. The game ended on a positive note with a goal from senior Walter Hurley, but SLUH left Memphis empty-handed in the wins department. 

SLUH is not done with Memphis yet. This weekend, the Jr. Bills play two other schools from Memphis, this time on Oakland Ave. First, SLUH will face off against Houston (Tenn.) Saturday at 3:00, then Christian Brothers High School (Tenn.) Sunday at 1:00. The goal of making a statement is still there and still possible. 

“CBHS beat Briercrest so it will be a good test to see how much better we’ve gotten this week and how we are gonna rebound from last week's losses,” said Campbell.








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