Lacrosse falls to Palisades due to loss of starters, remains confident

By Charlton Azuoma and Micah Sperling

Shorthanded due to injuries, the varsity lacrosse team lost to Palisades 11-5 on March 9 and faces the prospect of playing at archrival Loyola on Saturday down three starters.

Both the offensive and defensive units were affected by the injuries as attackmen Ross O’Shea ’14 and Evan Meister ’12 are out with a hip and hamstring injury, respectively, while starting defenseman Jake Feiler ’13 was out with a concussion.

Meister and O’Shea lead the team in scoring with 18 and 12 points, respectively, while Feiler usually covers the best offensive threat on oppposing teams. Feiler is expected to be back when the team resumes league play on Saturday at Loyola, but O’Shea is not and Meister is questionable.

The team is 3-2 overall and 1-0 in league. The Wolverines pulled out one-goal wins against non-league opponents Oak Park and Westlake, winning both games 8-7. Against Westlake, goalie and co-captain Matt Mantel ’12 made 16 saves.

“I try to be a leader as much as possible and lead our defense,” Mantel said. “We have a lot of young guys so I try to lead them so they can grow as lacrosse players.”

The team lost 11-3 at St. Margarets on March 2, but opened league play with an 18-13 win at Crespi on March 6.

Under first-year Head Coach Jay Pfeifer, the team is beginning to get used to a new free style of play on offense that encorporates contributions from a variety of players.

“It’s a style of play that works better for our team,” midfielder and co-captain Connor Pasich ’12 said. “It lets a lot more guys step up. Instead of having one really good starting line, we can have three good lines that we can interchange at any time.”

While the senior captains have been a major part of the team this year, there are some underclassmen with a hand in the team’s wins as well. Eli Caplan ’14, Roman Holthouse ’15 and Oliver Levitt ’15 have all added goals this year playing in their first varsity season.

“We’re not a one-man team,” midfielder Jack Temko ’14 said. “Our captains lead us well, and it’s not just a three man team. Our coaching is very oriented on if you’re playing well in practice, you’ll be in the game. It’s not based on age at all.”

Despite the injuries, the team is still confident that it can win its second straight Mission League title.

“It’s tough in the beginning of the year with a new coach and a lot of new players,” Pasich said. “[But] I think we’re looking really good.”