Plateau lacrosse rivals Skyline, Eastlake duke it out in snow

March 20, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

US Lacrosse Sophomore Michael Cowin, Skyline High School’s attack-man (left), and Eastlake High School’s defender Ty Reifeis, a sophomore, do their best to ignore the snow and play on during the March 13 lacrosse game between the two school’s prep teams. By Charles Mauzy

Braving the snow and wind the Skyline and Eastlake high school lacrosse prep teams faced off March 13 for a friendly plateau rivalry match that ended with Eastlake on top, 8-7.

“On the plateau, lacrosse is very competitive,” Eastlake head coach Chris Panos said. “In the past, Eastlake has got no respect. But part of my job is instilling confidence in those kids that they could play at that level.”

Just like the weather, which refused to relent, the two teams went net-for-net through most of the game. Skyline took the first quarter by outscoring Eastlake, 3-2, but the lead didn’t last long. By halftime the game was tied 5-5. After the third quarter saw Eastlake advance by one goal the two teams matched each other’s two goals each bringing the final score to 8-7.

“We took some penalties that they capitalized on,” Skyline head coach Adam Kurtenbach said.

Like in hockey, lacrosse players must wait out their penalty, which can run as long as three minutes, while the team plays on without them. Because of penalties, Eastlake was in the favorable man-up position six times, during which it scored three goals. Skyline had five man-up opportunities but did not score on any of them.

“The good news is that the rivalry is only going to get better as both teams grow,” Kurtenbach said. “We knew we were going into a battle … you lick your wounds and move on to the next one.”

Skyline is looking forward to facing Eastlake on the field again when the team has more of its lead scorers. Four of Skyline’s five strong attack players have returned this year, but because of various reasons only one of them was able to play in the March 13 “snow bowl,” as Kurtenbach called it.

“The weather made it interesting because the footing was really sloppy,” said Panos, explaining that the snow made it tough for the players who had a hard time getting a grip on the slippery ground. “Both teams did the best they could. The game could have gone any way. We just made a couple more key plays where it counted.”

It proved to be a good night for Eastlake midfielder Austin Caldwell, who netted a hat trick and three ground balls. Josiah Fonte helped Eastlake with two goals and four groundballs; Danny Keogh scored one goal and two ground balls, while Cooer Rosenthal made one goal and five ground balls. Goalie Avery Karkins made nine saves. Defender Chris Wright also helped Eastlake out a lot, said coach Panos, by shutting down Skyline’s top scorer, Jack Pruitt, who was unable to score or assist all night.

“Jack is going to get targeted all year long. Other guys got to step up,” Kurtenbach said. “It was difficult. We had a lot of guys who are not used to carrying that level of responsibility.”

Skyline players did rise to the offensive challenge. Cameron Saffle scored two goals, two assists and five groundballs for the Skyline team. Teammates Ryan Benze and Tristan Miller netted two goals and one groundball each. Goalie Kyle Kuberski stayed on top of his game and made 10 saves.

Not everyone had a good night. With less than two minutes to go in the season opener Brian Quick, one of Eastlake’s team captains and strongest players, went for a goal in the sloppy weather, fell and broke his collar bone. Panos said Quick’s injury will keep him off the field for the whole season.

“We are definitely going to miss him,” Panos said. “He is one of our inspirational leaders.”

Quick, who was able to score one goal, one assist and four groundballs before being injured, plans to still contribute to the Eastlake team by helping out off the field, particularly with scouting other teams and preparing videos.

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