Spring is here, which means that baseball, lacrosse and soccer are flourishing at various community, park and recreation department and school fields throughout Lake Zurich and the surrounding Ela Township environs. Lacrosse in particular is gaining traction as an increasingly popular youth sport, similar to where soccer was 15-to-20 years ago.
The Lake Zurich High School Boys Lacrosse Team is a steadily improving squad. Currently at the B level in the North Suburban Conference, they’re starting to look like they’ll be able to bring it against some of the upper-tier A level teams.
“We’re pretty talented this year,” first-year coach Kyle Dresser said. “We’re fast and athletic and we have a number of guys who can shoot the ball.”
The Bears are rapidly demonstrating that they’re a force to be reckoned with. They placed first by winning three matches in the season-opening Hoffman Estates Tournament at the end of March. In the championship match, they easily defeated Vernon Hills 8-3, as seniors Ryan Faetz and Tom Logan combined for six goals. Then they squeaked by Conant in an 11-10 victory on April 1 in their regular season debut.
In the Conant win, Logan had a team-high four goals and Tyler Cohn added three of his own. Jesse Gervens, Sean Learas, Ryan Miller and Ross Williams each tallied once. Markus Hofer also contributed with six saves. Lake Zurich trailed 5-3 in the first half and was behind for almost the entire contest.
Sophomores Greg Soosy and Williams are two of the team's better young players.
"I'm really pleased with the way the guys have bought into our new offense and the way we've played," Dresser said.
The Lake Zurich High School Girls Soccer Squad started their spring season with a 5-2 loss to Fremd March 17, followed by a 3-1 loss to New Trier March 23. In their third game against a very strong Mundelein team, the Bears played to an impressive 1-1 tie in their first conference game of the young season.
"We played aggressive and with a sense of urgency," said Lake Zurich coach Meghan Kolze. "We've improved tremendously."
The Bears scored first, midway through the first half on a goal by senior Josie Willman. Willman scored on the first touch after senior Tracy Krapraun crossed the ball to her. Mundelein responded with a goal midway through the second half, as senior Nathalie Mathis scored after a huge power assist by senior Abbey Eckstrom.
Kolze cited sophomore Vanessa Abad as one of her most up-and-coming players. Abad made the varsity squad last year as a freshman, and while it took her a good part of the season to adjust, she eventually became one of her team’s best players.
"She became one of the top players in the conference,” said Kolze. “She knows how to take advantage of scoring opportunities.”
Through the first three games of the season, Abad has already scored two goals.
The Lake Zurich Bears Boys Varsity Baseball Team will try and regroup against conference rival Libertyville this week after getting clobbered last week in their back-to-backers against Mundelein.
The Bears play the Wildcats at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 12 at Libertyville, followed by a home game against them at the same time on Wednesday, April 13.
The Bears are looking to pump up their offense after being outscored 20-1 in their two games against the Mustangs. Because of the number of runs their pitchers yielded in those two contests and the fact that they scored only one run, there really weren’t any pitching or hitting stars. Hopefully, that will change this week.
The Bears will be relying on what should be a solid four-man starting rotation that includes all-conference player Parker Asmann, Ben Gullo, Mike Lutz and Mike Schnur. Lutz’s fastball has been clocked at over 90 mph.
The Ela Soccer Club recently announced that they’ve agreed to a 12-year deal with the village of Deer Park that includes “field development and usage.” Ela Soccer Club “will develop two premier soccer field areas” at the Deer Park Town Center Park, located behind the Lake Zurich Fire Department at the corner of Field Parkway and Quentin Road, just south of Route 12.
It will give Ela Soccer Club two brand-new, state-of-the-art fields, an upgrade over their previous arrangement in Hawthorn Woods. The new deal might be received less enthusiastically by residents of Hawthorn Woods, however.
Congratulations to Lake Zurich Bears senior football player J.J. Raffelson. The linebacker, who was the team’s defensive leader the last two years, has committed to attend Western Illinois University.
Congratulations to Lake Zurich Bears senior soccer player Brooke Sill. The midfielder will play next year for Eastern Illinois University.