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Sports

Boys Lacrosse: Previewing the area's boys lacrosse teams

The boys lacrosse season starts this week. Here is a preview of area teams.

BATAVIA BULLDOGS

Coach: Scott Williams

2017-18 record: 4-12

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS.

Jacob Canada, jr., D

Brian Clark, jr., MF/A

Shaye Fitzpatrick, sr., GK

Ethan Rudd, sr., MF

Outlook: Batavia only returns three senior starters and graduated a pair of attack men who accounted for nearly 60 percent of the team’s offense. Others will need to step up and contribute.

“This will be difficult to replace and we will be counting on contributions from several freshmen this season on the offensive side of the ball,” Bulldogs coach Scott Williams said. “Our main goal of the season is growth from our younger players and an improvement to our win/loss record last season.”

The team’s biggest strength is in goal as senior Shaye Fitzpatrick, who will play women's lacrosse collegiately at Duke, returns after making 214 saves last season and posting a 52 percent save percentage. Junior defender Jacob Canada (28 ground balls), senior midfielder Ethan Rudd (27 ground balls, four assists, three goals) and junior midfielder/attackman Brian Clark (52 ground balls, 10 assists, six goals) also return.

GENEVA VIKINGS

Coach: Tyler Thomas

2017-18 record: 4-14

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS.

Cole Campbell, sr., D/LSM

Jake Costello, jr., D/LSM

Clark Giansanti, so., MF

Jack Konicek, sr., MF

Jameson Shanahan, sr., MF

Outlook: The Vikings will count on their seniors to lead them as they remain young outside of their veteran leaders.

“We have a strong core group of captains and seniors, but the bulk of the team are underclassmen,” Vikings coach Tyler Thomas said. "The underclassmen are young but they are eager to learn, develop and play at the varsity level.”

Seniors Jack Konicek (16 goals, six assists, 55 grounds balls, 54 percent on faceoffs), Cole Campbell (29 ground balls, 22 caused TOs) and James Shanahan (23 goals, 12assists, 52 ground balls), junior Jack Costello (126 ground balls, 67 percent on faceoffs, 21 caused TOs) and sophomore Clark Giansanti (16 goals, five assists, 38 ground balls) lead the returnees.

“The players have set high goals for themselves for this season,” Thomas said. “The players are all excited and want to win and to get better.”

KANELAND KNIGHTS

Coach: Wes Williams

2017-18 record: 5-7

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS.

Chris Danhauer, sr., MF

Tom Eberhart, jr., A

Will Giffney, sr., MF

Carter Hayes, sr., GK

Chaz Shaw, sr., MF

Dominic Valente, sr., D

Outlook: This spring marks the first year where the Knights have seniors who were a part of the program’s beginning four years ago.

Kaneland will turn to the talent and leadership of some of those veterans, including defensemen Dominic Valente and Will Giffney, goalie Carter Hayes and midfielders Chaz Shaw and Chris Danhauer. Junior Tom Eberhardt is also back on the attack.

Lacrosse continues to gain popularity at Kaneland as the program welcomed several new freshmen, including some kids who have never previously played the sport.

MARMION CADETS

Coach: Angelo Carbonara

2017-18 record: 1-16

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS.

Joey Calabria, fr., A

Mickey Clohecy, sr., GK

Zach Ewen, sr., D

Andrew Galle, so., A

Ben Hansen, jr., D

Outlook: The Cadets welcome a new coaching staff that's loaded with college lacrosse experience. Furthermore, five of their seven coaches are alumni so new head coach Angelo Carbonara is hopeful that the bond formed between the coaching staff and players will result in a bright future.

“Tryouts were intense, high energy and collaborative,” Carbonara said. “Our coaching staff was impressed by the team chemistry and excitement the players exerted, even with the new changes implemented in our programs. The Cadets had a tough season last year on both teams, but they were hungry to get after it and make drastic improvements this year.”

The Cadets return a pair of seniors and five juniors and will turn to them to pave the way for their underclassmen.

ST. CHARLES EAST SAINTS

Coach: Nicholas Leonard

2017-18 record: 7-9

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS.

Mitchell Canales, sr., A

Connor Malley, sr., D

Christopher Nimick, sr., A

Outlook: The Saints weren’t awarded in the wins column too often last season, but that hasn’t stopped their players from heading into the season more determined than ever.

“While last season’s record did not reflect the amount of work put in, strong junior and senior leadership on the team already has a notable effect and we expect the team dynamic to only develop further throughout the season,” Saints coach Nicholas Leonard said. “Right now our biggest weakness leading into the season are multiple injuries keeping players from immediately hopping into the action.”

Senior attackmen Mitchell Canales and Christopher Nimick and senior defenseman Connor Malley are a few of the team’s leaders who Leonard acknowledged will work on meshing with the rest of the returnees and some talented freshmen.

“The goal every season is to win hardware and banners,” Leonard said. “This year being the first DuKane Conference lacrosse season, the Saints have our eyes set on winning the conference and making a deep run in the postseason.”

ST. CHARLES NORTH NORTH STARS

Coach: Kyle Pepich

2017-18 record: 10-8

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS.

Sean Lee, sr., A

Evaisson Schramm, sr., LSM

Johnny Williams, sr., D

Outlook: The North Stars saw some success last spring under coach Kyle Pepich, who took over the program after leading South Elgin to the Class B Lacrosse championship in 2017.

“This biggest goal for us as a team is to build on our chemistry,” Pepich said. “If we can play unselfish lacrosse we will be dangerous.”

The team receives a huge boost with Johnny Williams back to anchor the defense. Williams was out last season with a shoulder injury.

Regardless of who Pepich calls on, he expects them to contribute.

“My expectation for the team is to play a high level of lacrosse and be competitive against any of the top teams in the state,” he said. “Every conference game will be a fight this season, but we are excited for the challenge to compete against this level of competition.”

ST. FRANCIS SPARTANS

Coach: Bob Griszanzio

2017-18 record: 12-6

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS.

Cale Baumgartner, jr., MF

Josh Casuga, jr., GK

A.J.Donati, jr., A

Christian Minear, sr., MF

Henry Plamondon, sr., MF

Eric Sauser, sr., D

Outlook:  The Spartans will need to overcome the loss of 183 goals as their top four scorers graduated or transferred.

“What was a dodging-based team will now emphasize ball movement, sharing the ball,” Spartans coach Bob Grisanzio said. “With four defenders and the goalie graduated, the defense has been totally rebuilt. Only time will tell how this new team develops.”

Numbers are also a problem at St. Francis as Grisanzio acknowledged that the Spartans would only have a roster of 14.

ChristianMinear (11 goals) will be the leader at midfield while A.J. Donati (18 goals) is expected to lead the team in scoring. The Spartans will primarily call upon Cale Baumgartner for face-offs while Eric Sauser takes on the huge task of transitioning from a middie to defense to fill the void left in back. Henry Plamondon will join Sauser and likely target their opponents’ top offensive middie while Jose Casuga moves up from JV to the varsity goalie spot.

“The team has taken to its new identity and shown a level of unselfishness that makes me optimistic,” Grisanzio said.

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