Boys Lacrosse: Loyola storms past St Rita
Updated: March 24, 2012 7:00PM
St. Rita got a front-row seat for Loyola’s season-opening game in Glenview, and Mustangs coach Jim Juchcinski believes the Ramblers are the team to beat this spring.
Even though New Trier is the seven-time defending state champion, Juchcinski can’t imagine a better club in Illinois this season.
“That’s one of the deepest teams I’ve seen in my 10 years, and they are extremely well-coached” said Juchcinski, whose team evened its record at 1-1. “If they don’t win the state title, I’d be shocked. I mean, New Trier and St. Viator will be there with them, but Loyola is the favorite right now.”
Not many people who witnessed Saturday’s 18-0 victory would disagree. The Ramblers led 10-0 after the first quarter and 14-0 at the half before putting on the brakes.
Kevin Gleason scored all four of his goals in the opening 12 minutes to lead the way. Dylan Brennan added three goals in the win as 13 Ramblers finished with at least one goal.
“We’ve been tearing at each other’s throats for a long time, so it was good to go out and play somebody else,” said Loyola senior John Nigh, who was one of seven to score in the first quarter. “I did expect that [outcome].”
Loyola coach Rob Snyder was thrilled with the start. The coach made the most of his 38-player roster, even running out his fourth line in the first half. At one point, Snyder even played six sophomores together.
“They were fired up, and they should have been,” he said. “If we can maintain the balance like we did (Saturday), that will be awesome.”
Loyola returns most of its starters from last season’s team that was the runner-up to New Trier. The Ramblers have taken second place six seasons in a row, last winning a state championship in 2004.
Nigh knows what is expected of Loyola this season. But no one is putting more pressure on the Ramblers than themselves.
“The tone of this season was set prior to this game,” the four-year varsity veteran said. “We have thought about how we want this season to go since we ended last year. We’ve been chomping at the bit to get back out there.”
Nigh also understands the Ramblers will have to prove themselves on the field.
“We will not overlook any team, and everything will do is for June 2,” said Nigh, already aware of when the state final will be played. “We could win every game until then and lose. We don’t want that to happen.”