GIRLS LACROSSE — John Dwyer is taking the high road on his sport’s reorganization of the playoff structure.
The Loyola coach and winner of the past two state championships accepts the new format and said the Ramblers will be ready to play any team at any stage of the postseason, even if that means facing New Trier for a sectional title rather than for a state crown.
The state governing body of lacrosse decided to implement a playoff system similar to what the IHSA will do once the high school association takes over. Instead of seeding teams from top to bottom, the playoffs now are based on geography.
“It wasn’t our decision,” Dwyer said. “But our feeling is that whoever shows up to play us, we will be ready to play them.”
Loyola beat New Trier for its last two state titles, and the Trevians captured the title in 2008 with a victory over the Ramblers. Hinsdale Central won the championship in 2007.
Loyola is the No. 1 seed at the Evanston Sectional, and New Trier is No. 2. The two teams could meet Monday in the sectional final.
The Ramblers, who entered week 16-2 and without a loss to an Illinois club, open the postseason Thursday against the winner between Regina and Northside.
Loyola looks ready to repeat its title. The Ramblers own wins this month against Lake Forest, New Trier, Hinsdale Central and St. Ignatius. They beat the Trevians 12-11 on Wednesday.
“We’ve been very balanced this season, getting contributions from a lot of people,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer’s been thrilled with the leadership provided by seniors Molly Hulseman, Stephanie Scherer, Nicole Gleason and Meg Perkus. Hulseman and Gleason both will play lacrosse in college, with Hulseman attending Loyola (Md.) and Gleason going to Villanova.
“They’ve been our rock in so many ways,” Dwyer said of the foursome. “We have a lot of seniors, but we also have a large group of underclassmen who are learning from them.”
The rebuilt defense, anchored by goalie Emily Nimrod, continues to impress Dwyer. The unit allowed only 31 goals in the four May wins against elite competition.
“A pleasant surprise,” Dwyer said.