Jonah McConnell shows the growth of the boys varsity lacrosse team after playing Detroit Catholic Central


Gabby Thompson

The boys fight for the ball on defense.

This past Friday, May 19, the boys varsity lacrosse team played its last regular season game against the Detroit Catholic Central Shamrocks; it was senior night as well. The game began at 5:00 p.m., and throughout the entirety of the competition, the teams were neck-and-neck with one another. Despite much trouble from previous games, the boys fell short by only one point. The final score came down to 7-8.

The boys knew they would need to step it up in preparation for such a game. DCC is a highly skilled team, so it was apparent that the Rangers would need to bring their all. The coaches and the players worked together to produce a better mindset and environment for the team. 

“We had a long layoff since our last game last Saturday against Hartland,” said coach Andy Shira. “That was a wake-up call that maybe we had been going through the motions a little bit and didn’t have as much accountability as we should have. The guys went hard all week in practice and turned up the physicality banging bodies around. The coaches also had a meeting with the seniors after practice Tuesday as far as what needs to change and what we really want out of this season as we gear up for playoffs.”

All that progress transferred to this game; the boys entered with an energy the team had never had before. They were united and ecstatic to play. Generally, this energy would die down after any adversity or mess-ups, but this game was different. The energy was solid and kept up for the majority of the competition. Shira shared his thoughts about this.

“Every man on the roster has a role. Whether you’re on the field or on the sideline, every player has a role. The 10 players on the field feed off the sideline, and the sideline feeds off the players on the field. We have to be amped up for every game, every play the rest of the way. From here on out, it’s one loss, and we’re done.”

With such sound energy and a good mood among the boys, the statistics were much better than in the previous game. In the cage, senior captain and goalie Crandall Quinn had 14 saves. Another senior captain, Jonah McConnell, had three goals on attack. Senior midfielder Magnus Salmon secured one goal himself. Graham Bennett, senior captain and attackman, added two goals to the total. Another senior, midfielder Jake Koning, had an assist. For a change, on the “X,” junior captain and midfielder Nolan Hartl took the face-off twice; he won one. He also scored one goal.

Along with the score, Shira was impressed with many plays and people.

“Crandall played very well. DCC has a potent offense that plays together and moves really well. They also have probably the best player in Michigan, Jack Cyrek. Crandall made 14 saves and only allowed eight goals. Brady Drueke and Sam Sneider had good games on the defensive end of the field, also. Brady is playing really physically with his body and relying on stick checks less, which is great. Sam has been the backbone of our defense for years and does so much for our team getting a ton of ground balls. Jonah McConnell had a hat trick and really gave us some important goals when we were down by one or two a couple of times. He had a big goal for us right before the half, too, which was a big momentum shift for us.”

Overall, the boys brought their A-game. It was a significant change from the previous competition. The ball was moving better, the boys were communicating more, and so many other aspects of the game were fixed or improved. 

“Our defense really worked on sliding at appropriate times and recovering at full speed throughout the week,” said Shira. “I thought they did a much better job Friday night, but we still have some things to work on. Our face-off play needs to improve. We’ve lost two close games to Brother Rice and DCC, and I think one of the common themes in those games is we’ve really struggled to win face-offs. It’s not just one guy out there. All three players need to be involved. The two on the wings need to get in and win races to ground balls when we have chances.”

There is still much work to be done, but the boys should be proud of how they got everything under control and produced a much better performance than the previous one. This game showed the Rangers that they are just as good as these other teams; the boys just need to hit the ground running in future games. Advancing, there is much to focus on.

“We’re in playoffs now,” said Shira, “so we have to be mentally prepared each and every day, whether it’s a practice or a game. We need to take watch as much film as we can and understand what our opponents are going to try to do against us and what we want to do against them.”

The boys will face Forest Hills Northern again for playoffs on Wednesday, May 24. The face-off will take place at 5:00 p.m. in the Husky Stadium.