South lacrosse cruises past Liggett before crucial MAC Red contests

By: Thomas Franz | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 30, 2014

 Grosse Pointe South’s Andrew Wright takes the ball down the field as Liggett’s Christopher Buhler, 19, defends during the game at South on April 26.

Grosse Pointe South’s Andrew Wright takes the ball down the field as Liggett’s Christopher Buhler, 19, defends during the game at South on April 26.

Photo by Sean Work

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Grosse Pointe South boys lacrosse took advantage of a non-league contest with University Liggett to work on improving its offense, and the result of the April 26 game was a 16-5 victory over the Knights.

In a league game on April 24, South won a defensive struggle with Romeo 8-4. After being slowed down by the Romeo defense, Blue Devils coach Don Wolford was pleased to see his team click on the offensive end.

“We’ve been working on diversifying a lot of our stuff. We ran into a zone defense against Romeo, and we’ve been having trouble offensively creating looks, so we spent the last couple of days working on zone offense with some different looks,” Wolford said. “It wasn’t just preparing for Liggett, it was preparing for everybody.”

Senior attacker Andrew Hyde scored five goals for South, three in the first quarter, and senior Andrew Wright scored three times to pace the Blue Devils (7-3).

Hyde and Wright are two of South’s four captains, and Wolford explained that each player has improved this spring by strengthening their weaknesses.

“Hyde keeps on working on improving things he’s not good at, and Wright is getting a little bit better doing the same thing. They’re good at certain things, so they’re working on things they’re not good at and improving in those areas, which is a huge step for a high school kid,” Wolford said.

South jumped out to an 8-0 lead against Liggett before Thomas Stevenson broke the shutout just before the end of the first quarter. After a scoreless second, senior James Jurcak scored his first of three goals to make the contest 8-2 just after halftime.

“With TJ (Stevenson) and James (Jurcak), our strength is our attack because we’re short on midfielders, and they’ve been our leading scorers all year,” Liggett coach Bill Brusilow said. “Jurcak has a great shot, and Stevenson has really good quickness. We try to do things from the attack as much as we can.”

Hyde scored his last two goals during a stretch of three unanswered goals by South that was started by senior John Whitney, who scored his first career goal.

“He’s (Whitney) a longstick middy, so he doesn’t get many offensive opportunities. He did a very good job of staying in the play knowing that the guys weren’t honoring him, so he got a good shot off of it,” Wolford said. “It’s one of those things where you’re not going to see a longstick middy take lots of shots, but as long as you take the right shots, and that was a good shot for him.”

Jurcak and Stevenson each scored a fourth-quarter goal for Liggett.

South closed its scoring with two goals from junior Nikolas Minanov.

South is off to a 5-0 start in MAC Red play, and Wolford attributed much of that success to South’s other two senior captains, goalie Archer Hauck and defenseman Caleb Cimmarrusti.

“He (Hauck) has improved a lot in his leadership. He’s done a great job working with the defense and even with the middies on defense. He controls the defense. He’s a good general now,” Wolford said. “On the ball, Cimmarrusti is a monster, but he’s very good at leading guys and keeping the younger guys composed.”

Coming up, South put its undefeated league record on the line against L’Anse Creuse North on April 29. The result of that home game for South was unavailable at press time. The Blue Devils will visit unbeaten Utica Eisenhower on May 1.

South and Eisenhower have won or shared the league title the last three seasons, and South’s home game against Eisenhower on May 17 could determine this season’s league winner.

Liggett (2-2) will host Grosse Pointe North on May 2.