The Junior Jay Varsity won the NELAX State Championship 11-10 on Sunday evening June 3rd at Heedum Field in Fremont, NE. The win gave the Junior Jays their 5th state title.
The Prep scorers were led by Mark Mausbach (7 goals and 2 assists), Jack Mausbach (2 goals), Paul Gordon (1 goal) and Leo Dunlap (1 goal). The Junior Jay Defense was led by Leo Dunlap (6 ground balls), Matt Buckley (3 ground balls), David Spitzenberger (3 ground balls), Josh Milota (2 ground balls). Tom Barrett, Mac Nelson, Cameron Kozol, and Alex Kontz each added a ground ball. Jack Abt added 8 saves on the way to the complete game victory.
What a game! To be down 5 goals in the second quarter and then rally to win 11-10 is an incredible feat for the team. As I think about that game, I am still amazed at the composure of this team. I plan on using Jack Mausbach’s halftime speech for the next several years of any game that is not going our way. When Jack calmly stated, “This is a fun game, no one has challenged us all year”, I could see that all of the players took that to heart. We then went out to score six goals to WDM’s two goals for the win.
Coach Ken Stoll added “I was able to share with the guys that there was a lot of game left. No need to panic. Let’s keep a steady pressure on WDM.” Stoll also shared “The offense responded well to a couple of changes when RJ was locked off. I am proud of the flexibility and grit they demonstrated as a team.”
Coach Al (Aldo) Grosskurth stated “I was really proud of the way the team responded to adversity in this game. I believe the true measure of a man’s character is how they respond in tough situations and boy did those players deliver tonight.” Aldo also remarked “We knew it was a tough one and we’re in for the fight of our life, but the team responded well. The coaching staff and players managed the clock and personnel rotations well throughout the rest of the game to keep pushing up the pressure to the end.
Coach Dan Kennedy, SJ also had a pair of great quotes. “A couple of guys were burned once, some twice, but they never gave up. Proud of the effort out there as well as the sportsmanship demonstrated. Paul Gordon showed that by helping a WDM player with a leg cramp late in the game while we were still down.” Coach K also added “Coach Al and I had a chance to pray with the team for the young WDM player that was hurt on the field. It really helped to bring things into perspective. Remember what comes first in the big scheme of things.”
There are plenty of story lines in the game to talk about. Mark’s seven goals, David’s domination of the face offs, Jack Abt’s solid goal tending, RJ’s taking on double and triple teams all night, Leo leading ours and breaking WDM fast breaks, defense locking down for the second half and offense exploding in the second half.
I am very proud of the team. They worked extremely hard this season to accomplish their goal of winning state. All of the fun winning a state title started with the morning conditioning in January. When you look at the game tape of the 4th quarter, you can see the Junior Jays looked fresher than the WDM players.
I consider myself blessed to be a part of Creighton Prep Lacrosse. I would like to thank the parents for allowing their sons to play lacrosse for me. It has been an honor to have shared a lacrosse field with the graduated seniors. I have had the privilege of coaching some of them since they were U-11 OLC players. It will be strange to not be coaching them next year, but please know you are always welcome to my sideline. I am sure that you will go on to great things and know that I am always rooting for you.
To the players coming back next year, a high bar has been set. The last two years our varsity record was 29-1 with the first state title in eight years. I am ready to defend that title. Who is with me?