Boys Lacrosse: Loyola edges Lake Forest for first title state since ‘04
Updated: June 2, 2012 10:19PM
Dylan Brennan played four varsity seasons of lacrosse at Loyola and has seen Kevin Steger in goal enough times to know for sure.
“He played the best game ever,” Brennan said of his cousin, a senior and three-year starter. “That’s awesome for him. He was the reason we won. For him to play like that in his final game is awesome.”
Steger staved off Lake Forest’s final charge, and the Ramblers won their first state championship since 2004 with a 6-4 victory at Palatine.
“Unreal,” Steger said. “It hasn’t set in yet. All the hard work. This is such a great payoff.”
Top-seeded Loyola (17-5) never trailed, but Lake Forest (18-6) put pressure on the Ramblers all game.
Ryan Tupper scored midway through the fourth quarter to get the Scouts within one at 5-4, but Connor Person responded a little more than a minute later to return the Ramblers to a two-goal advantage.
Steger then stabbed a shot from Samuel Moran with at the 1:00 mark, and Loyola was able to run out the remaining clock.
“Kevin was huge at the end of the game,” Loyola coach Rob Snyder said. “That was a big difference.”
The victory ended six years of frustration for the Ramblers, who lost to New Trier in the state final every season since 2006. The state championship was the program’s ninth overall and tied Loyola with New Trier for most in state history.
Nobody wanted it more than Dylan Harris.
“Seeing those seconds going off the clock, I don’t even know what I was doing,” he said. “All I wanted was that trophy. This was for the alumni who didn’t have the chance to do this.”
Daniel O’Malley and Person led Loyola with two goals apiece. Brendan Dowdle and Tim O’Connor also scored in the win.
Samuel Moran, Andrew Clifford and Joseph Kurschner all scored for the Scouts, who last won a state title in 1997. Goalie Ethan Ulmer was almost as brillant as Steger in defeat.
“To finally win on the last day of my career, I can’t imagine any better feeling,” Brennan said. “We would be nothing without coach Snyder and our athletic director Pat Mahoney. Getting coach this championship is the best feeling I’ve ever had.”