It was all about working together as a team, said the Rams Lacrosse Head Coach Chris Ridella in reviewing the season.
"I am proud of the effort and hard work our players put into the season," Ridella said. "I feel that in any team the credit needs to be shared as everyone is responsible for success."
He acknowledged that the Rams had a tough loss this week. They lost 11-10 in OT on Tuesday night to the Sandburg Chiefs Lacrosse. Now, the Chiefs, instead of the Rams, will battle Grayslake North on May 31.
"It was a disappointing way to end our season but we had some opportunities to make plays at the end," Ridella said.
One of the keys to the Rams' success this year was teamwork, Ridella said.
"The team overall this season had a strong offense and a defense that really came into their own by the end of the season," Ridella said. "Our offense was led by Colton Brunk, Jason Koziol, Jake Paust, Bryan Clancy, Tanner Hermes, Luke Nozicka, Timmy Engdahl, Danny Mudd, Aidan Connolly, Cassidy Cohen, Kyle Martinez, and Zach Boydell. We were the seventh team overall for goals scored a game in the state."
Ridella said that he did not want to single out anyone in particular. Instead, he had a long list of players to recognize.
"I really do not like to call attention to individual players as lacrosse is a team sport," he said. "Jason Koziol played a fantastic game against the Chiefs. He really turned it on in the playoffs by netting 6 against the Chiefs and 19 in our three playoff games. Jason played with tremendous effort and scored a great behind the back goal to finish a fast break. Charlie Risinger did a nice job creating some transition opportunities and disrupting our opponent's offense. Ryan Aoki stepped up nicely and played his best game of the season. Jake Paust played with this heart on his sleeve until he hurt his knee and was unable to finish the game. Jake does many little things that do not show up on the box score. Thomas Halloran made some nice saves."
When asked which players stood out the most during the season, Ridella again mentioned several people.
"We tried to find roles for the players to be successful within," Ridella said. He gave examples of a few players who were outstanding in different ways: John Clancy did a great job for our team at face offs. Thomas Halloran, Sean Halloran, Mason Smith, Troy Deal, Alex McCully, Charlie Risinger, Nick Traske, Steve Moioffer, Brandon Seiler, Ian Sheppard, Ben Celeslie and Ryan Aoki were good as our defensive unit, Ridella stated.
Believing that the team as a whole was more important than any one particular player was something Ridella said he tried to instill throughout the season.
"To single one player out would be against what we were trying to teach all season, to be successful on defense we need the entire unit to play as one," he stated. "I have mentioned some things about our offense earlier."
He said he was impressed with the improvement of the team throughout the season as they learned to rely on one another.
"We didn't have any players returning who saw significant playing time at the varsity level on defense from last season but by the end of this, season the defense had improved tremendously," he said. "Nick Traske and Nick Block were very important to our team by playing good short stick defense. They were both monsters on ground balls."