Boys Lacrosse: Loyola edges rival New Trier
Updated: May 1, 2012 8:30PM
This is as big as it gets for Tim O’Connor.
At least, so far.
The Loyola senior and first-year starter scored one goal Tuesday in the team’s 7-5 win over rival and seven-time defending state champion New Trier, but he knows this victory isn’t the biggest prize of the season.
“I was pumped to be out there,” said O’Connor, who played a minor role last season as a junior. “But we have one goal this year, and that’s to win on June 2.”
O’Connor’s goal late in the second quarter off a pass from Dylan Brennan gave the Ramblers (9-1) a 4-3 lead at the half. Max Kraus tied the game early in the third quarter, but the Ramblers responded with three unanswered goals to go into the fourth ahead 7-4.
Still, O’Connor said the lead wasn’t that comfortable.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “Lacrosse is such a quick game, and it could have turned at any time.”
Michael Thomas’ goal midway through the fourth left the Trevians (9-5) down 7-5, but New Trier couldn’t crack Loyola’s defense down the stretch. Ramblers goalie Kevin Steger made a huge save on Rory McGinnis’ shot with 21 seconds to go to secure the win.
“We have a very young team this year, and we have room for growth,” said McGinnis, one of two starters back from last spring, along with Providence-bound goalie Jack Connelly. “We made some bad plays. If we clean those up, we can be a very good team.
“These kinds of games will help us in the long run, help us build as a team.”
The Ramblers beat the Trevians in the regular season a year ago, but New Trier defeated Loyola in the state final for the sixth season in a row.
“This was a big game, but it was not a huge game,” said New Trier coach Tom Herrala, whose club lost for the first time in nine games. “They capitalized on their opportunities, and we missed out on ours. It’s not rocket science.”
Loyola jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Kevin Gleason and Brennan. McGinnis and Brooks Ashmore answered with goals in the final minute of the first quarter to tie the game at 2-all.
Patrick O’Neal then put the Trevians ahead 3-2 two minutes in the second quarter before Connor Person and O’Connor rallied the Ramblers to the halftime lead.
Gleason and Person both scored two goals in the win.
“We will continue to improve,” said Loyola coach Rob Snyder, who’s looking to lead the Ramblers to their first state title since 2004. “We will keep grinding away at practice.”