ST. CHARLES – Jack Connolly simply wants to make the most of his opportunity before him.
“It’s my senior season. We didn’t have a season last year. I just want to make the most of it,” said Connolly, an Augustana College recruit, after St. Charles North lacrosse’s 11-6 victory over St. Charles East on Friday. “I want to play to the best of my potential and then, obviously, I’m going on to the next level.”
Connolly scored five goals and helped the North Stars re-take the crosstown cup after St. Charles East won it in 2019. Dating back to 2012, the North Stars have maintained a 5-3 advantage in the series.
Connolly is one of seven returners from the 2019 North Stars team.
“In that year off that we had with COVID, he put the time and work in,” St. Charles North coach Kyle Pepich said. “Came in much improved, probably our most improved player coming into the season. He’s one of our best finishers [around the net].”
North Stars senior Zach McClure took two days off between the conclusion of football before joining the lacrosse team. McClure played freshman year varsity lacrosse before taking his sophomore season off. He came back his final year for one last ride.
“I’m just trying to make the most of it,” said McClure, who had two goals. “So far, so good.”
“I just love the game. I really enjoy playing with everybody,” McClure continued. “I just want to play as much sports as possible before I leave here and it’s always a pleasure playing with everybody. We play very well together.”
The North Stars (2-1) are playing down four players, including three key starters in senior goalie Kyle TwoBulls, an Indiana Tech lacrosse commit, who suffered a broken hand during the football season. Nick Schrepferman suffered a significant knee injury during the North Stars’ first game against Wheaton North, while Nick Kuzel suffered a torn achilles.
“We’ve had three starters go down with injury that our big parts of our team,” Pepich said. “We’re kind of at the point with our team where we played Geneva with 14 guys on the field. We lost in overtime, but these guys are willing to fight [with] whatever we got. I told them I was proud of them for that, just the effort, hustle and will to compete.”
The North Stars also received scoring tallies from Ethan Poyton (two goals), Jacob Collar and Dominic Cesarone.
“We got some kids that are stepping up playing both teams, playing JV and then go right into the varsity game,” Connolly said.
St. Charles East (0-3) has received positive contributions from senior goalie Trevor Meyer, who had six saves on Friday, so far this season.
“He’s just kept us in the game,” Saints coach Michael Black said. “He’s stayed calm, he’s just really smart. Controls the defense really well, communicates really well and he’s just given us opportunities to stay in games.”
The Saints offense, which returns four from the 2019 team, was powered by Andrew Skifstad, Cal McCue (two goals), Collin Goode, Ethan Cruz and Alex Lo Faso.
“I always go out there [and] try to play ball. Play man. I just don’t think about anything and whatever happens, happens,” Meyer said. “A lot of guys [on the team] I went to elementary school with, so I know a lot of them. A lot of them are friends, so we just have that type of bond together...[lacrosse] gives me a lot of confidence in myself knowing I can go out there and help my team out; make people better around me.”
Jake is a full-time sports reporter writing primarily for the Kane County Chronicle covering preps. His collective work is featured across several Shaw markets and platforms, including Friday Night Drive and Bears Insider. Jake began full-time in 2017.