St. Charles lacrosse fans and families packed the hillside at East Side Sports Complex last April for the inaugural meeting between St. Charles East and St. Charles North.
They can ditch their lawn chairs this time and even relive the game from their homes. Today’s crosstown classic will be played at East’s Norris Stadium and broadcast on tape delay as the Comcast CN100 Game of the Week.
“We’re really excited. It’s a big night,” St. Charles Lacrosse Club secretary Polly Dickson said. “Both clubs have had a good season so far, so we’re all pretty pumped.”
Naturally, that elation extends to the athletes, coaches and broadcasters. Here’s a glance at a few of their thoughts entering today’s 7:30 p.m. game:
• Both teams credit goaltender play to strong starts. Ricky Wagner (East) and Alec Datoli (North) are set to oppose each other tonight.
LaxPower.org ranks North eighth in its most recent Illinois Class A boys poll. The North Stars ascended to the top spot after a 4-0 start but are 4-3 since, suffering losses to Naperville Central, Libertyville and St. Ignatius by a combined five goals.
“There’s a couple games that brought us down, but we’re picking the momentum back up and we’re hoping to take that with us going into the playoffs,” North coach Sean McCaffrey said. “[Tonight] will definitely be one of those where we’ll want to keep the ball rolling.”
• District 303 spokesman Jim Blaney deviated from his usual diplomacy in assessing one half of the Comcast broadcast team.
“The play-by-play is substandard at best,” he said.
Now, Jim. Don’t sell yourself short.
Yes, Blaney was being self-deprecating about his role alongside partner Mark Krueger. He was plenty confident in the next breath, however, drawing upon experience of calling games for numerous prep sports in Chicagoland since 1994.
Blaney began with various Fox Sports outlets before broadcasting his first football game for CN100 in the fall of 2002. He finds lacrosse fascinating, and jokes that he sees his share while spotting kids playing or practicing on his commutes to and from work.
“I enjoy it. It’s a great game,” Blaney said. “It’s fast, it’s physical and the guys are unbelievably athletic, and you see some unbelievable feats that those guys perform in the field. So I’ve always enjoyed it.”
• The club will recognize approximately 30 seniors between the boys teams and girls co-op shortly after the completion of the JV boys game. The ceremony is expected to start no earlier than 6:45 p.m.
“We’re going to try to kind of keep things moving,” Dickson said.
Grade-schoolers from the Tri-Cities-based River City Lacrosse program are set to play at halftime of the varsity game. Dickson said three winners will be drawn for the 50/50 raffle.
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.