Lacrosse team shoots toward unity for success

Evan Goldberg, Sports Editor

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Senior Jake Fahey (right) shoots during a 13-2 win against Vernon Hills on April 7. Fahey is tied for the third highest number of goals on the team with nine, behind junior Ayden Garwood’s 16 and senior Brian Baruck’s 12. Photo by Robbie Fraser

The Ohio State University football team has unknowingly had a large impact on a team at Glenbrook North this year: not on the  football team, but rather the boys varsity lacrosse team.

Justin Georgacakis, boys lacrosse head coach, instituted a new policy this season that creates a more intense playing environment by sending players home who come physically or mentally unprepared to work once they walk onto the field. He got this policy, which he calls “cross the line,” from Urban Meyer, OSU football head coach, who wrote about the rule in his book.

“We tell [the players] when [they] cross the line [onto the field], if we do [not see them] cross the line with some purpose in their eyes or with some intensity, I [am] going to send them home,” said Georgacakis. “So, we cross that line, and we come out there, and the tempo starts right away. … We want to make sure [the] guys are understanding that we are doing something with purpose, and it’s meaningful, and it’s not just minutia or daily routine.”

Senior Jake Deutsch said the new rule has had a positive effect on the team thus far.

“When you cross the line, you have to look [Georgacakis] straight into the eyes, and if he doesn’t see that fire in your eyes, he will send you home without a question,” said Deutsch. “He [is] really trying to take away what happened to us last year of not being on top of our game every single day. … This is definitely one of Geo’s better moves.”

Twelve players on last year’s team graduated, including three of the top four goalscorers.

Georgacakis said he is not worried about losing so many players because the team is returning many players from a year ago, including seven three-year varsity players. He expects returning seniors Deutsch and Zach Knudson to lead a defense that he believes to be the strength of the team. The team also returns the second-highest goalscorer from last year, junior Ayden Garwood, who finished with 20 goals. He also wants seniors Brian Baruck, Jake Fahey and Andrew Slovis, who play midfield, to step up into a larger role on the team.

As of April 17, the team has a record of 3-4. Garwood leads the team with 16 goals, including six in a season-opening 13-0 victory over Deerfield. Baruck has 12 goals and Slovis has nine.

Despite the early losses, senior Rob Zynel said he does not think the slow start changes the team’s outlook on the season. He expects the team to respond and come back from the early struggles.

“Our expectations have [not] changed,” said Zynel. “We still expect to succeed as a family, and we [will] get there no matter what it takes.”

Following three straight losses, the team responded with a 13-2 win against Vernon Hills and a double overtime victory against St. Viator.

Deutsch said he realizes the team may not be the most talented, but its unity is one of its greatest strengths.

“This year we don’t really have that one shining star.

  “There [are] not going to be one, two or even three individuals that [are] going to carry the team on their backs,” said Deutsch. “I would compare this year’s team very much so to the team that we went to state with my sophomore year because we weren’t the most talented team, but we have the unity and bond.”

Deutsch said he attributes bonding activities such as summer trips, team paintball and Friday morning basketball games referred to as “laxetball” as reasons for the team’s unity.

“Not having a lacrosse stick in our hand … creates more of an investment and a bond between us, so we want to play harder for those next to us and not only for [ourselves],” Deutsch said.

According to Deutsch, the goal of the season is not to only win state, but instead to come together as a team in order to achieve success.

“[Winning state] is always a nice goal to have and a nice reward for all the work you put in, but I don’t think success is determined by whether we win state or not,” said Deutsch. “I think it [is] how close we manage to come at the end, and if we achieve our full potential, state will follow.”

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