The Junior Jays entered the Clash at the Cook with a lot of questions to answer. Will there be a State Championship hang over? How will the team respond to losing the seniors of last year? Can Prep’s high-power offense keep pace with the 196 goals we scored last year? Will the five returning starters be able to mesh with the JV White players and new freshmen?
Lots of questions to answer and I think the Clash at the Cook gave us a good look at the team.
Our record for the Clash at the Cook was 2-1-2 and we made the championship game. We finished the Bracket Play as 0-0-2 and placed 3rd in our bracket. Considering that the two teams we tied in our bracket played an under-manned Sarpy County Team, I think we did very well. We rallied from two goals down in both of our bracket games to pull a tie with both Burke and Lincoln.
In moving to the knock-out games, we played a Westside team at was 2-0 through their bracket play. Westside was without their best attackman, but I think our seniors who place close defense would have shut him down and I am sure that we will prevail again during the regular season. I realize that I may have been the reason that we tied both of our earlier games as I had stated “we only needed to win the 3rd game on Saturday to advance”. Perhaps the team took me a bit too literally?
Our second game in the knock out stage was on Sunday and was a rematch against Burke. Burke has a very good face off group and they gave us fits for both games. Looking at both games against Burke, we won 3 of the 18 face-offs. OUCH! Major point of emphasis over the rest of the season. We won the rematch 5-3 and moved on to the Championship.
The championship was against the overall number 1 team for the tournament, Elkhorn South. While we lost 3-7, the game had some ebbs and flows that was exciting to watch and coach. Overall the championship did not go our way, but I am extremely pleased with the team and the way we competed.
Overall, I am very happy with the way the team played at the Clash. We played tough and gritty all weekend and found a way to get to the championship.
Coach Ken Stoll replied that in spite of the lack of full field practice the kids were moving well. “I’m excited to see what we can do with this group of youngsters. I see real promise with some seeds planted for the future.”
Coach Dan and Coach Al replied “ This year is about belief. Belief is where it all starts. Belief in your ability, your teammates and great outcomes. It all starts with belief”. Coach Al has provided the team with the motto for this year’s team.
This team will be exciting and you will see a youth movement at times when we dip into the bench. We have nine seniors and nine juniors out of 58 players; you will see a few of the underclassmen stepping into the game.
This weekend was a real test for us. We have just finished a 29-1 run for the last two years and graduated a lot of starters. In spite of the limited practice time and the challenge of several starters being unavailable, the team hung in there. It didn’t end the way we would have liked, but we made it to the finals. We gained valuable information that will be used to continue to prepare for our season opener in two weeks. I speak for the entire coaching staff when I say that I am proud of the way Prep Lacrosse competed for the tournament and look forward to see how far we will rise for the 2019 season.