Nike/US Lacrosse Boys' Midwest Season Rewind
by Jonah Rosenblum | LaxMagazine.com
Year-End Top 10
1. Culver Academy (Ind.), 23-0
2. Upper Arlington (Ohio), 21-2
3. New Trier (Ill.), 18-7
4. Loyola Academy (Ill.), 17-5
5. Brother Rice (Mich.), 19-4
6. Dublin Jerome (Ohio), 17-5
7. Eden Prairie (Minn.), 16-2
8. Rosemount (Minn.), 16-1
9. MICDS (Mo.), 18-2
10. Carmel (Ind.), 17-3
A defensive force for the midwest's dominant team, Matt Neufeldt had over 100 ground balls and 64 caused turnovers while sparking the transition game from the back. (Kevin P. Tucker)
Midwest Player of the Year
Matt Neufeldt, Culver Academy (Ind.)
Coach Jon Posner hesitated trying to figure out his pick for Player of the Year.
His assistants didn't: Matt Neufeldt.
During a year in which Culver Academy (Ind.) finished 23-0 including a stunning trip East, it's understandable why Posner would have so much difficulty honing in on one player.
There was Joel Tinney, a player who Posner insisted he would want with the ball in any must-score situation. There was Ethan Walker, a sophomore new to Culver, who flew onto the scene with a 107-goal season.
Ultimately, the winner is Matt Neufeldt, who led the team with 129 ground balls to go with 64 caused turnovers.
"This kid is awesome. He was a difference maker every game," Posner said. "He shut down opposing players. He pushed transition."
Also the pick of the Midwest Scholastic Coaches Association, Neufeldt drew praise from every opposing coach during Culver's trip East, according to Posner.
"He's going to be a three or four time All-American at the college level," Posner said.
In particular, Posner credited Neufeldt with sparking the Eagles' transition game.
"He ignited our offense every time," Posner said. "He's so good and so fast and he does things that people can't do."
What could possibly make a coach prouder than a team that takes his word?
All season long, New Trier (Ill.) coach Tom Herrala stressed playing a full 48 minutes.
That didn't come right away, as the Trevians suffered a series of heartbreaks.
There was a three-goal loss to Brother Rice (Mich.). There was an overtime defeat at Dublin Jerome (Ohio). There was a triple-overtime fall at Glenbrook North (Ill.).
"We were there, but we weren't finishing games," Herrala said. "We were playing well in spurts. We just weren't playing a full 48 minutes."
Even so, despite a 2-4 start, the Trevians did not lose hope.
"Our record wasn't great, but I think the feeling in practice and in the locker room was that we were better than our record," Herrala said. "The kids felt like this was still their year."
There was plenty to be encouraged about after all. Scoring 11 goals, including a five-goal burst after halftime. against a team of defensive stalwarts in Dublin Jerome was a good sign. Posting nine on Culver Academy (Ind.), the most any Midwest team managed against the Eagles all season, boded well too.
"That was one of our best games we played all year," Herrala said.
That Culver loss would be their last of the season. The Trevians went on to win their final eight, including an overtime thriller over Loyola Academy (Ill.) to wrestle back the state title from their North Shore neighbors.
In that game, New Trier needed every minute, scoring two in the final minute of regulation before taking it in overtime.
"Ironically, we played a full 48 against Loyola," Herrala said.
All of which made for a very proud coach.
"We've won a bunch of state championships and they're all great, but to score two in the last minute and in overtime, we've never won a state championship game in overtime, it was just great," Herrala said. "I couldn't be more proud of these guys. They just didn't give up."
2014 Midwest Region Report Archive
- February 26 - Preseason Top 10/Player of the Year Watch List
- March 25
- April 1
- April 8
- April 15
- April 22
- April 29
- May 6
- May 13
- May 20
- May 27
- June 3
- June 10
- June 17
comments powered by Disqus