Forest Hills Eastern stands no chance to the boys varsity lacrosse team


The team forms a huddle after a great win.

The boys varsity lacrosse team defeated Forest Hills Eastern this past Wednesday, May 31, in the regional championship. Securing the win, the Rangers came out with the final score of 8-2. Despite such a low-scoring game, the performance itself was a great one for the boys.

The fantastic performance did start slightly delayed, though. 

“The game started out a little frantic, scrambling around and back-and-forth turnovers from both us and Eastern,” said coach Andy Shira. “Our clearing wasn’t great. We tried hitting the home run instead of the easy play. Offensively we had several good looks that we just didn’t capitalize on.”

The first quarter was a slight struggle for the guys; they did not come out how they wanted to. There was quite a bit of adversity, but that did not impede the boys from returning to their feet.

“The second quarter was better,” Shira said. “We started finishing, and the defense was playing lights out. Our back end caused a lot of turnovers.”

With the energy converting into focus and concentration, the team was able to hone in on the defense and pick it apart, presenting some good opportunities for the boys to gang up on Eastern’s offense—then the lead finally showed itself. 

“We felt like because Eastern’s defense sits back on the film, their offense probably hasn’t seen a lot of pressure in practice, and it showed when we got on hands. The halftime score was 5-1 but felt like it could’ve been 12-1 had we finished some of those early looks and cleared better,” Shira explained.

As the digits 5 and 1 were displayed on the scoreboard, the team knew that if they could keep playing as they were, they would become victorious. The locker room talk consisted of encouragement and praise.

“Coach told us that we could not start out the third quarter the same way we started out the first. He told us we were doing a good job and to keep up our intensity; his positivity helped the team keep pushing,” said freshman defenseman Joey VanderVeen. 

The boys did exactly what Joey said: push. They worked hard and tried to exhaust the opposition—Eastern became no match for our boys, and they knew this. Despite small struggles, the second half as a whole was amazing; the boys showed what they were capable of. 

“The second half was good,” Shira stated. “The flow got slowed down a little bit by some penalties and us just possessing the ball longer to tire their defense out. I felt like they would’ve come out of their zone at some point to try to get the ball back to their offense, but they never did. Our kids did a great job of letting the ball do the work.”

The boys sure did a great job when it came down to it, and the stats reflected that. 

All with two goals each, senior captain and attackman Jonah McConnell and senior midfielders Jake Koning and Magnus Salmon dominated on the field; Magnus had an assist as well. Another senior captain and attackman, Graham Bennett, secured one goal for the boys. Reese Le, another senior midfielder, added another goal to the batch. As for assists, senior midfielder Jack Benner had one; junior midfielder Mickey Mehney did the same. Junior captain and midfielder Nolan Hartl secured another assist. On the X, junior face-off specialist Luke Wedder won 10 out of 13 face-offs; he also had an assist. As for in the cage, senior goalie Crandall Quinn had nine saves. 

As for the plays and players that produced these points and assists, Shira had a few favorites and some words of wisdom. 

“Jake Koning and Jonah McConnell were highlight players on offense for us. Jake had one of the most physical goals we’ve scored all year. Defensively, Sam Sneider scooped up a ton of GBs. All three defensemen, Brady Drueke, Luke VanGorp, and Quinlen Sutherland, played really well and physically. Quinlen had a perfect slide that ended in a big hit. It’s playoff lacrosse and big-boy lacrosse at this stage of the season. If you’re not ready to take the body, we’ll find someone who will,” Shira expressed. 

This game overall was a solid performance for the team. This momentum will hopefully carry over to their next competition, which will take place this upcoming Saturday, June 3. The Rangers will be packing their bags and traveling to East Lansing High School, where they will go head-to-head with Haslett High School at 2:00 p.m. State quarter-finals; here they come! Good luck, gentlemen!