Tuesday, April 20, 2010

La Salle lax is off to the races; Cadets top Troy High

La Salle Institute's lacrosse team opened its 2010 Big 10 Conference schedule with an 11-4 victory over Collar City rival Troy High Tuesday afternoon. For the full story, check out Wednesday's edition of The Record.

Troy High's Nic Capano (20) eludes La Salle defender Frank Seitz during Tuesday's Big 10 Conference game on Edward C. Picken Field at Troy High School. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

La Salle raced to an early lead, scoring two quick goals to open the first quarter and piling on a flurry of goals to close the first. The Cadets scored three times in the final two minutes of the period, giving them the head start they would use to post the 11-4 victory over the Flying Horses.

Brett Bernardo, a junior midfielder, scored three goals and Shawn Quinn, a senior netminder, made 13 saves in goal. The Record asked those two players about the game afterward:

La Salle's Mike Koberger follows through on a shot on net during Tuesday's Big 10 Conference game against Troy High.

The Troy vs. La Salle rivalry certainly extends to the lacrosse field as well, even if Troy High has yet to provide their southside counterparts with a truly competitive game yet.

As head coach Brian Benner continues to gradually improve the Troy High program, the Cadets know that one of these days they could be caught by surprise. And that's exactly why La Salle head coach John Coleman prepared his players for this one like it was a sectional contest.

"Coach Benner has done an outstanding job in the last three years," Coleman said. "We’ve come from where it was hard to get our kids up. Now, I told them all week, ‘This is going to be tough. Troy has come a long way and they’ve worked really hard."

Troy High's Kyle Czarnick attempts to run around La Salle's Sean Ryan during Tuesday's game.

"We worked hard and we knew we had to come out fired up right away," said Bernardo. "That helped a lot. I think what helped us the most was that we had our heads in the game. We were into it, ready to go and we weren’t goofing around. We were ready to go."

Bernardo did not pick up the game until he was a freshman at La Salle, but he's quickly developed into a natural in the midfield. He's also a huge component of La Salle's offensive strategy.

"We just try to pick up on a mismatch and we go with that, whatever we can see on the sideline," said Coleman. "We try to pick out a mismatch between whoever is guarding Brett and let him highlight his skills."

Quinn, a senior, was also a late bloomer of sorts. He starting playing as a sophomore.

La Salle's Austin Berhmann (1) is congratulated by Pat Hussey (9) after Behrmann scored a first quarter goal in Tuesday's victory over Troy.

Take away La Salle's two quick goal-scoring spurts and the Flying Horses would have been right in the thick of things. Still, Benner had to be pleased with the whole picture and especially with how his team played in the second and fourth quarters.

"Goal-wise, we reached most of our goals today," Benner said. "To think about it, four years ago, this game would have been 25-2. We probably split that in half."

Troy's Aaron Fernett jumps on top of La Salle's Jake Nelson in pursuit of a loose ball during Tuesday's game at Troy High.

Keep your eye on La Salle in the Big 10 this season. They may not have one big superstar player and they may not master any one particular facet of the game, but the players are willing to sacrifice their personal goals for the sake of the team's.

"Every day, I ask the kids, ‘What can you do to make the team better?" Coleman said. "I’m not worried about you individually, but what can you do to make us better?"

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