Kissick ’16 patiently waits to make his move on the Highland Park defender, just toying with him, jumping side to side. Kissick then makes an agile move, spinning away from the defender towards the front of the goal and splits yet another two Highland Park defenders to take a shot, the ball finding the back of the net for Jesuit yet again.
Jesuit lacrosse finished district play strong over the course of April, taking on Allen’s power house, and two huge rivals: Episcopal School of Dallas and Highland park.
On April 9th, 2015 Jesuit faced off against the number 3 ranked team in the state and proved how much they have improved over the season with an 11-8 win. The 1st quarter was neck and neck between Allen and Jesuit, both splitting two goals apiece. Jesuit’s Kyle Casillas ’15 and Gavin McClure ’15 each scored for the Rangers in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the game’s pace quickened and Jesuit was able to shred apart Allen’s defense while only giving up 3 goals. McClure got hot in the 2nd quarter, putting 3 more points up on the board for Jesuit. Along with McClure, Christian Miller ’15 and Blake Buell ’16 each had a goal of their own while Kissick added another two points to the board. This offensive attack allowed Jesuit to confidently move into the second half. Although the Rangers were out scored 3-2 in the second half, they came out on top 11-8 for a crucial win against Allen.
Next up Jesuit faced their neighbors from just a couple of roads down: ESD. On April 21st, the two competitors fought head to head in a heated battle. Unfortunately, Jesuit did not bring home the glory that day and fell short of ESD, 6-10. Jesuit started the game off very slowly, only hitting two shots in the first half while ESD scored 6 times. In the second half the Rangers tried to rally back but they were unable to stop ESD and their top prospect from the class of ’17 from keeping the lead extended. But Jesuit did manage to score 4 more goals, 2 from David Sprock ’18 and one apiece from Miller and James Schroeder ’15.
On April 23, Jesuit’s most anticipated game of the season took place to finish out district play. In Postell stadium, Jesuit took on the Highland Park Scots, their biggest rival. Fans from both teams packed the stadium for the biggest district game of the year.
Switching from their attacking style of play in the ESD game, which led to 25 turnovers, Head Coach Chris Surran chose to play a much more conservative style in which the team patiently waited on the offensive end for the best shots on goal. Mac Elliott ’16 explained “We played a little more conservatory on offense versus HP because controlling the clock was one of the best weapons we had. Against ESD we took some shots we shouldn’t have taken and after a film session we all agreed that our success would be in keeping possession in the back and running our sets correctly.” The decision held to be the right move by the team in the first quarter where they took a 3-2 lead. The goals came from Luke Hoffman ’15, Sean Rilley ’16, and McClure, 3 tremendous Jesuit players. Jesuit continued to dominate the possession of the ball in the second quarter with their conservative style of play and held the lead into half time. In the second half, Jesuit truly took the reigns of the game and dominated the Scots. Kissick helped control the game offensively for the Rangers with an assist and a goal in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Jesuit defense worked incredibly hard to hold HP to just two goals in the second half. The Jesuit defense played very well throughout the game, especially the goalies who had multiple whimsical saves. At the start of the fourth quarter, the iconic “I believe that we will win” chant resounded through the Jesuit stands. The chant proved true and after 48 mins of play, Jesuit triumphed with an 8-5 victory. The win was the biggest one of the season, and Coach Surran explained that “It gave them confidence and the belief that they could beat anyone they could play.”
With a strong close to district, the Rangers moved into the playoffs with a head of steam. Jesuit earned home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs against Coppell. Jesuit, looking for revenge from their previous loss in the season against Coppell, was very eager to take them on at home.
Through the first half, both teams seemed neck and neck, neither willing to go out easy in the first round. McClure fueled the offense in the first half with a goal in the first and second quarter. Sterling Coker ’15 also was able to put a shot past the Coppell goalie, tying the game up 3-3 at the end of two quarters. The second half was a different story for the two teams. Jesuit showed their athleticism and mental toughness, dominating Coppell on both ends of the field in the second half. With 4 goals in the third quarter and 3 in the fourth, Jesuit pulled away from Coppell to win 10-5. Coach Surran attributed the win to the continued use of restraint as used in the HP game as well as the execution on the field.
Next, Jesuit rode south to Houston to take on Anderson High School in the second round of the playoffs. Jesuit cruised passed Anderson with a 19-4 win, putting on what was possibly their greatest offensive showing this season. Jesuit was able to take advantage of Anderson’s lack of depth, exploiting mismatches on the field. The team asserted its dominance from the start and went up 5-3 after the first quarter. Kissick and Coker each had 2 goals apiece in the first. Jesuit went on a 8 -0 run in the second, bringing up the lead to 10 at the half. By the end of the third quarter, it was all over for Anderson. The Jesuit defense continued to deny Anderson any scoring opportunities in the second half, while the Ranger offense kept pounding the ball inside on the other side of the field. By the end, the slaughter was over with a final score of 19-4. Elliott thought “The key to beating Anderson was the entire team, everyone contributed to our success that game. It was truly a team effort which made the win pretty special.”
The next day, Jesuit matched up against The Woodlands, their toughest opponent in the playoffs yet. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the ball did not seem to bounce their way that day. The Woodlands played a very aggressive game and dominated physically against the Rangers. Coach Surran explained that due to The Woodland’s physicality, they were able to ride the ball very well, forcing a lot of physical and mental pressure on the ball. Coach Surran said “We struggled clearing the ball more so than any other game and that ended up being the key.” After 4 hard fought quarters, The Woodlands walked away with the unexpected victory in a 7-0 close out.
Although Jesuit went out much sooner in the playoffs than usual, the team still competed in a notable 2014-2015 season. Depicting the highlights of the playoffs, Coach Surran thought that the win against Coppell was the best game because the Rangers were able to beat a good team they had previously lost to in the regular season. Leaving some final remarks, Elliott stated “The season was different to say the least. The team dealt with adversity extraordinarily well, especially some of the younger players that stepped up to a position they may not have seen themselves in before that season.” Elliott continued “The season was a positive learning experience for everyone involved and hopefully next year we can have another team where a large amount the team contributes to our wins.”
Thank you Rangers for another great year of lacrosse, and good luck to all of the seniors continuing their careers in college.