The St. Louis U. High lacrosse team took their sticks and helmets to De Smet on April 9 to defend their proud title of Marco Cup Champions.
The Jr. Bills won the Cup last year with a close game of 9-8. However, a senior heavy De Smet team led by Gavin Bombstead had its way against the Bills despite heroics from senior Ted Leritz scoring a hat trick and additional goals from junior Walter Hurley and junior Danny Carse. After a hard fought battle, The final score was 10-5, De Smet.
After the unfortunate loss in the Marco Cup, the Jr. Bills kept their heads up, determined to beat fellow MCC school Vianney on their home turf. Junior Danny Campbell drew first blood with a snipe from the crease to give SLUH the lead. Campbell would not stop his streak there, scoring three more goals throughout the game. Joining Campbell in adding to the tally were sophomore Josh Bertram, junior Walter Hurley, and seniors TJ Gunta, PJ Haefer, and Teddy Leritz. SLUH controlled the lead throughout the game until a streak of Vianney goals tied the game and sent it to overtime.
Overtime is way too familiar for these seniors, as they lost a heartbreaker in sudden death overtime in the semifinals of the playoffs last year versus CBC. Captain Leritz made sure this would not happen again. He dodged past his man and slashed across the pine and scored the game winning goal. The Jr. Bills were ecstatic about taking home the 14-13 win.
With the hope of igniting a win streak, SLUH ventured across town to play fellow MCC rival Chaminade. SLUH knew they had one of their toughest challenges all season on their hands as the Chaminade lacrosse team was red hot, winning six straight and placing second in GSV’s area lacrosse ranking.
The Jr. Bills needed to start hot to stay competitive in this game, putting a lot of pressure on the faceoff, so they turned to juniors Louis Kertz and Michael Robinson, a former member of the Chaminade lacrosse program, to hopefully gain them early momentum. Unfortunately, Chaminade started TCU club lacrosse commit Joe Cavanaugh, who was the one with the hot start leading to an early goal for Chaminade. The Red Devils had control for much of the first quarter, dominating the time of possession, and were able to add on to their lead, scoring three more goals despite some clutch saves from junior goalie Ian Erker.
Even with momentum building for Chaminade, this SLUH team has been in similar situations before and knows that one goal is all it would take to build some energy and change the tide of the game. After lockdown possession on the defensive end, SLUH executed a textbook clear and fed the ball to the offense and into the hands of senior Michael Tramelli, who sniped one top left to get the Jr. Bills on the board.
A lot of back and forth followed with good defense and saves from both sides until Chaminade put two more in the back of the net followed by a rip from Campbell, leaving the score at 6-2 going into half.
A powerful halftime speech by head coach Andrew Toussaint had the boys riled up, and a clear energy shift occurred on the SLUH sideline. The Bills started the third quarter hot. Starting with Kertz winning a few faceoffs in a row and getting the ball in the hands of the attack who were able to get shots on goal.
First, Leritz finessed his way through the Chaminade defenders. The defense began to feed off this energy, being ferocious in the beginning minutes of the third quarter including a yard sale from sophomore LSM Marco Sansone and intense checks from senior captain Cullen Swiecicki. The ball started to find star Campbell more as he quickly put two more goals on the board to give him a hat trick on the day, first executing a textbook split dodge, easily running by the defender. Campbell then bodied the lone defender remaining in his path, lowering his shoulder to push him aside to score. The gap closed to just one goal.
As the game went on, weather became more and more a factor as gusts of windy rain created a slippery ball and caused passes to sail too far. Chaminade took advantage of a few costly turnovers from the Bills to extend the lead, scoring three straight goals. Tramelli stopped this run scoring a second goal slicing through the defense of the Red Devils. Even with a solid quarter on all three levels, the Jr. Bills still found themselves down three going into the fourth quarter.
Despite this momentum, however, things began to fall apart in the fourth quarter. A lot of the positives that SLUH came out with at halftime were countered by Chaminade and things were not as easy as before. Chaminade scored five straight, including goal number four for both Sullivan and Schlattman. The writing was on the wall in the second half of the fourth quarter but the Jr. Bills did not quit. Centre College commit Nick Witcher scored the final goal of the game to make the final score 14-7, and gave SLUH something to build on for their next game tomorrow, against rival CBC, who eliminated SLUH from the playoffs last year.
“I know all of us have been looking towards this game since May of last year,” said junior Danny Carse.
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