Fight to the finish: Boys lacrosse gives it their all against Stevenson Patriots

Sophomore Jacob Tayfel (17) rushes down the field past two Patriots in a scramble for the ball. Both Jacob and his brother Logan (38), a freshman, are players for the varsity team.

On Wednesday, May 3, 2023, the varsity boys lacrosse team faced off against their Lincolnshire rivals, the Stevenson Patriots, in one of the most thrilling games of the year. While the senior night game ended in a loss for the Wildcats, the final 9-10 score and energizing second half comeback marked a fitting tribute to the team’s seniors and their overall success as a whole.
The Patriots, from the get-go, established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Despite great play from both sides, the visiting team’s prowess with shooting gained them a commanding lead, with goals from such players as freshman Zaine Clemons (5). Once Libertyville junior Luca DiCarlo (12) scored the first goal for the home team, however, things quickly went downhill for Stevenson.
By the time the second half came around, the Wildcats stormed their field with a determination to turn things around.
“I liked how the boys came together in the locker room,” said senior Jacob Dinklenburg (44), a team captain. “I think we put it together pretty well at the end there.”
Junior Charlie Watson (00) spent much of the game playing in his usual position as goalie. Despite a commanding Patriot lead going into the third quarter, Watson allowed few scoring opportunities for Stevenson in the entire second half. The team went wild as Watson blocked a shot with his helmet, before he quickly leapt back into the fray to keep fighting.
The fourth quarter was entirely scoreless for the opposing team, as the number of goals scored by the Wildcats continued to grow.
The Wildcats had nine goals over the course of the game, of which three were scored by DiCarlo. Other goals included one by junior Kyle Carollo (4), one by senior Danny Shinnick (13), one by junior Tommy Gonnella (15), one by senior Will Nave (2) and one by junior Luke Kazian (5).
Shinnick described his goal as “pretty electric. It hyped the team up, started a little comeback.”
Junior Jake Gimbert (7) had the ninth and final goal of the game, which put the Wildcats within one point of closing the gap completely. Gimbert, a midfielder, said that he was “glad with the effort we made in the second half, really changing our mentality. I’m happy with how we played.”
Another junior on the field was Oliver Braun (6).
“We had our halftime talk, came out here, loudest we’ve ever been all season,” said Braun. “That was awesome. I really loved the energy that we brought out there. And it’s an unfortunate loss, but we definitely got more coming for the future.”
Senior Caleb Christensen (25), who is also on the wrestling team, said that “everyone was getting excited, but that was fun to see.”
By the time the game began to come to a close, with less than a minute left on the clock, sophomore Tommy Watson (21) stole the ball from a Stevenson player and pushed for the goal. Although the clock was not on the home team’s side, their last push towards the finish signified their resolve. The aggressive play shown by players such as Kazian, Tommy Watson and junior Mason Marabella (11) cemented their strong bond as a team.
With their strong play and the momentum in favor of the Wildcats, one can only wonder what might have happened with an extra minute on the clock.
“Don’t give up on small things,” said Nave, “because those are the most important.”
The team’s next game is Friday, May 5, an away game against the Wheaton North Falcons.