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Senior’s years of contributions stick out

Senior+Naomi+Lutz+%28right%29+plays+offense+in+the+girls+lacrosse+game+against+Warren+Township+on+May+14.+Next+year%2C+she+plans+to+attend+the+Massachusetts+Institute+of+Technology+as+a+lacrosse+commit.+Photo+by+Richard+Chu.
Senior Naomi Lutz (right) plays offense in the girls lacrosse game against Warren Township on May 14. Next year, she plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a lacrosse commit. Photo by Richard Chu.

Senior Naomi Lutz (right) plays offense in the girls lacrosse game against Warren Township on May 14. Next year, she plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a lacrosse commit. Photo by Richard Chu.

Senior Naomi Lutz (right) plays offense in the girls lacrosse game against Warren Township on May 14. Next year, she plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a lacrosse commit. Photo by Richard Chu.

Joey Harris, Page Editor

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After Conant’s girls lacrosse team took a 4-2 lead against Glenbrook North, senior Naomi Lutz knew something had to change. Seeming to dictate the pace of play, Naomi swept to the left of her defender, curled back and cut inside. With her opponent now trailing, she buried the ball in the back of the net. On the next play, the Spartans found themselves defending Conant. As an opposing midfielder drove into the offense, Naomi saw a chance to take the ball away and stripped it from the player’s stick. This allowed GBN to be back on offense, where senior Natalie Wolas scored a last minute goal to tie the game at half-time.

Going into the second half with a comeback on her mind, Naomi asked her coach to let her take the draw.

“I wanted to take the draw again because I knew I could get the ball,” Naomi said.

The Spartans defeated Conant 8-6 that night with the help of four goals from Naomi. As of May 16, she has accumulated 151 goals and 202 ground balls, along with a record of 53-32 over her four years on the varsity team.

This fall, she plans to continue her lacrosse career playing for the Division III team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although Wolas said Naomi’s passing and catching abilities are some of her greatest strengths, Naomi said her first experience with lacrosse did not involve a stick. When her older sister, Alumna Shayna Lutz (‘16) picked up the sport in middle school, Naomi would play catch with her using a softball mitt.

“Eventually, I just got a stick,” Naomi said.

A few years later, as a freshman, Naomi sat in the passenger’s seat while her sister drove her to tryouts. Heading there, Shayna used the song “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” to calm her sister’s nerves.

“It’s this really weird song, and I guess it just calmed Naomi down.

“So every single tryout that we would drive to, we would blast the Muppet song,” Shayna said.

According to Tom Rosenbaum, girls lacrosse head coach, Naomi impacted the team immediately.

In her first varsity game, she tallied two goals against Glenbrook South. She scored 14 goals that year, helping the team to a 14-8 record.

“She shocked a lot of people her freshman year, the way she played so confidently,” Shayna said.

After a 6-5 loss to Evanston in the 2015 playoffs, Naomi said knowing she and her sister only had one more year of playing together made them push each other in the offseason. They regularly went on runs, played catch and practiced one-on-one in their backyard. This seemingly paid off with a record of 16-5 in 2016, Naomi’s sophomore year.

In 2017, as a junior, Naomi was voted by her teammates to be one of their captains.

That season included 59 goals, an All-State Honorable Mention and being named the team’s Most Valuable Player.

She also played at the U.S. Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament with a select group of players from Illinois over Memorial Day weekend in 2017.

“I was one of the few people on the team that wasn’t from Loyola, New Trier or Hinsdale [Central] which are the big girls lacrosse schools,” Naomi said.

After the tournament, an MIT coach emailed her saying she was impressed with Naomi’s skills and decision making. Following visits in both the fall and spring of her senior year, she decided to verbally commit. The decision was not easy for Naomi because her entire immediate family are all alumni or students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Shayna, a club lacrosse player at Michigan, said hearing about Naomi’s decision made her proud, but she also remembered the tears shed after their last game together, a two-point playoff loss in 2016.

“I remember saying, ‘We’ll go to Michigan, we’ll play club lacrosse, we’ll win there, it’s not over,’ and it makes me really sad that she’s going to MIT now … because we’ll never play together again,” Shayna said.

Shayna said the sisters plan to watch each other’s games and talk about lacrosse as much as possible.

“Although I’m sad, she’s forever my sister and in a weird way forever my teammate because we understand each other’s play so well,” Shayna said.

According to Rosenbaum, Naomi’s successes are largely due to the skills she has developed with extra work outside of practice. These skills have made her the focus of opposing defenses.

“She’s usually double-teamed, … [but] she doesn’t quit or give up on it,” Rosenbaum said.

As of May 16, the team has a record of  9-5. Naomi leads the team with 43 goals.

Naomi said she has seen many first-year varsity players step up and has worked to help them develop.

Freshman Mia Fusco said Naomi has given her continual support since lacrosse camp in the summer.

“She was one of the first people to actually trust me during a scrimmage, and it kind of showed everyone that I could play,” Fusco said.

Rosenbaum said he can always count on Naomi to get the job done for the team.

“It’s just that quiet, assuming confidence she has,” said Rosenbaum. “If we need a possession or we need the ball, she just knows how to get it.

Thank God she’s on my team, because she’s just relentless, tenacious [and] amazing.”

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Senior’s years of contributions stick out