The Lyons Township girls and boys lacrosse teams finished their seasons in similar fashion.
Both teams reached the quarterfinals of their respective state tournaments before losing to top-seeded Loyola Academy, which went on to capture the state title.
For the LT girls (17-8), it was the first time the Lions reached the final eight. They also finished the season a program-best No. 7 in the final rankings by LaxPower.com.
The LT boys (16-5) finished No. 5 in the final boys rankings under first-year varsity head coach Bill Kalbfleisch.
Lyons Township girls lacrosse
LT girls lacrosse players have so many fans that even away games can seem like home ones.
That’s especially how the No. 8-seeded Lions felt after their biggest victory in Illinois High School Women’s Lacrosse Association state tournament history May 21.
With their 17-11 victory over No. 9-seed Neuqua Valley at Montini Catholic, the Lions received their first sectional plaque ever by reaching the state quarterfinals. LT lost in the final 16 the previous two seasons.
“They were all pumped about (the victory), but after that they were all going crazy, the parents, too,” LT coach Jim Moy said.
“We always have a good fan base coming to away games. Sometimes we have more fans than the home team. After the game, it was twilight, a really warm night, and all of the players and parents hung out and wouldn’t get on the bus. It was like (the game) was at home, all hanging out and taking pictures. It was just a nice thing to see.”
The Lions lost 19-1 in the quarterfinals to No. 1-seeded Loyola (22-3), which captured its fourth straight state championship by beating New Trier 11-7 in the final June 1 at Northwestern University. LT had won seven in a row before the defeat.
LT senior midfielder Caitlin Campion was named to the second-team all-state team and was named the Lions’ varsity Most Valuable Player. Campion was third-team all-state in 2011 and has been an All-West Suburban Conference selection as a junior and senior. This year’s all-conference team has not been released.
Campion was the Lions’ top offensive player with a team-best 78 goals and 15 assists for a team-high 93 points and also led LT in ground balls controlled (83), caused turnovers (28) and draw controls (74).
Campion ranked No. 2 state-wide in ground balls controlled and among the top 10 in goals, points, caused turnovers and draw controls. She will play next season at the University of Southern California.
“She’s really looking forward to that. She’s got tremendous speed and quick hands and quick feet and also plays very good defense,” Moy said.
Senior midfielder/defender Anna Doten was named the team MVP. Doten, who often handled draws, was second on LT in draw controls (57) with 13 goals and 37 ground balls controlled and received praised by Moy for her defensive work.
Other full-time starting seniors were attackers Stephanie King (52 goals, 13 assists, 16 ground balls and draws) and Lauren Barrett (44 goals, 25 assists, 25 ground balls), midfielder Linnea Ridlen (4 goals, 33 ground balls, 15 draws, 13 turnovers) and Sarah Pipal (goal, 10 draws, 5 turnovers), who received the team’s Defender of the Year award.
Other top players for LT included junior midfielder Cecilia Luxem (36 goals, 10 assists, 42 ground balls, 28 draws, 17 turnovers), sophomore midfielders Caroline Tritt (31 goals, 42 assists, 24 draws) and Elizabeth Grisko (30 goals, 7 assists, 50 ground balls, 23 draws, 13 turnovers), and freshman midfielder Sarah Aldrich (13 goals, 4 assists, 17 draws, 15 ground balls).
Senior Taylor Sopron saw the most time in a three-goalie rotation with juniors Jorie Pristo and Gabby Yore.
Sopron had a team-best 10.09 goals-against average with 96 saves in 560 minutes. She started the Neuqua Valley game and had 12 saves, even after breaking her finger during practice.
“We taped it up, and actually it was the best game of the year for her,” Moy said.
The Lions tied for second in the West Suburban Conference with a 3-2 record behind Hinsdale Central, which finished third at state. They opened the playoffs by beating O’Fallon 17-6 May 17 at Bennett Field.
LT only was ranked behind Loyola, New Trier, Hinsdale Central, Lake Forest, Glenbrook South and Montini. Lake Forest was fourth in state, and Glenbrook South and Montini also reached the quarterfinals.
Lyons Township boys lacrosse
The Lyons Township boys lacrosse team reached the quarterfinals of the Illinois High School Lacrosse Association’s state championship before losing to eventual state champion Loyola Academy 8-3 May 29 in Wilmette.
The Lions were seeded No. 8 in the 30-team A-division field. Top-seeded Loyola (17-5) went on to win the state title by beating No. 2 Lake Forest 6-4 June 2 at Palatine High School. The past six years, the Ramblers had lost to New Trier in the final.
LT opened playoff action by beating No. 25 St. Charles East 17-4 May 22 and No. 24 Stevenson 13-6 May 24.
LT senior midfielder Will Konstant was among 11 players from Illinois named an All-American by US Lacrosse. Konstant also was named to the first team of the IHSLA All-State Team, and senior defender Jack Albertini was named to the second team.
The Lions won the West Suburban Conference with a 7-1 record, only losing to Hinsdale Central 8-7 in overtime May 12 after beating the Red Devils 8-0 April 19.
Albertini and Konstant were joined on the first team of the All-WSC Team by senior long-stick midfielder Alex Fisher, senior goalie Ricky Razo and junior attack Luke Gallagher. Senior defender Connor Belawich and senior midfielder Scott Doten were on the second team, and senior attackers John Evans and Jeff Richert, senior midfielder John Salerno and junior midfielder Pat Kelley received honorable mention.
Four-year varsity players Konstant and Razo entered the season as the Lions' lone returning starters.
LT ended the season ranked behind only Loyola, Wheaton Warrenville South, Waubonsie Valley and Lake Forest. Wheaton South and Waubonsie Valley reached the state semifinals.