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Druley: Geneva lacrosse closing gap on rival

Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011 by Chris McConnell
By KEVIN DRULEY - kdruley@kcchronicle.com Comments (No comments posted) | Add Comments PHOTO: Geneva's Dennis Leonardo (16) attempts to move past the St. Charles defense during Thursday's game. (Photo by Jeff Krage For the Kane County Chronicle) Buy Kane County Chronicle Photos STORY: GENEVA A Geneva reserve snuck over to the hand-operated scoreboard at the Center Street fields late in Thursdays game and tried for something tricky. Add a 1 in front of our score, a teammate said. So he did. Someone quickly came over to fix the board so that truth along with the St. Charles lacrosse team prevailed. From where the Vikings stood, though, a real-life 11-4 loss had some of the elements of a conjured 14-11 win. Geneva stayed disciplined on defense and allowed just three even-strength goals against the traditional power to the north. For a program still transitioning in its seventh year, thats improvement. Thats who we kind of often compare ourselves to, St. Charles. Thats where we want to be, Vikings sophomore goaltender Steven Laduzinsky said. Theyre one of the best teams in the state, and were very proud of how we played today. St. Charles coach Andy Thompson lauded Geneva, too, and you got the sense it was more than the classic opposing coach diplomacy. Theres quite a bit of overlap between these programs. Then-Geneva senior Sean McCaffrey and player parent Tammy Marcozzi started the Geneva team in November 2004. Thompson coached against McCaffrey months later, joined forces to help him train for a spot on the St. Leo (Fla.) team after that, then completed the conversion when he added McCaffrey to his staff as an assistant. McCaffrey visited and joked with a number of Vikings after Thursdays game, and many of the same players flagged Thompson down as he walked to his car. Thompson will coach several Geneva players during the summer club season for Naperville-based New Wave Lacrosse. He was talking about their high school prospects when he said: Its just a matter of time before were out here having one- and two-goal games. It really is. St. Charles lacrosse dates back well before Genevas genesis, and the program has stayed strong throughout, taking a string of four successive IHSLA state semifinal berths into this season. The St. Charles East-St. Charles North co-op has ventured to play in Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas in past seasons and habitually hosts top out-of-state programs to boot. Its a status symbol when you can differentiate records against Illinois opponents 4-0 and teams from out of state 2-1. Geneva, 3-2, hasnt left the Land of Lincoln this season, but right now, it doesnt have to. Would-be talent is finding the Vikings. Six years ago, the inaugural McCaffrey team featured 19 players. Genevas 2011 varsity roster goes 24 deep, and there are comparable numbers playing for the freshman-sophomore and JV teams. I think its definitely growing in popularity, Laduzinsky said. A lot of people are thinking about trying it next year and getting a look at it. So its exciting for us. We welcome anyone. We want to get better, and if theyre going to help, its always good. The team is off today before playing in the Sticks and Stones Tournament in West Chicago this weekend. Thompson plans to watch the Vikings play again on Sunday. Hed be there a day earlier, too, but St. Charles has a home game against Lake Forest, another club thats unbeaten inside of Illinois. The Vikings feel like theyre on that track, but for now, theyll take their lumps against St. Charles and take note of what can be learned. Definitely we look up to those guys, Geneva coach Rick Nobregas said. Thats a product of an early program, the young ones coming up. Were getting there. Were building our own program. Were getting there. Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or kdruley@kcchronicle.com.

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