McHENRY – The biggest reactions throughout the game came from Prairie Ridge’s players on the bench for their final two goals, and at the end for their goalie.
The goals were not critical to the outcome. The goalie did not have to come up with pivotal saves in a tight game. It was because the Wolves were excited for the moments that junior varsity players had a chance to shine with the varsity.
Matt Regione scored his first varsity goal with 3:35 remaining. Chaz Emricson picked up his second with 1:01 to go and Michael Olas helped hold McHenry to five second-half goals as the Wolves defeated the Warriors, 17-9, on Saturday in their Fox Valley Conference boys lacrosse game at McCracken Field.
“The No. 1 thing was getting our future varsity players on the field and getting them some reps,” said Wolves attacker James Dingle, who led the team with five goals. “That’s the future of the program.”
The Wolves (3-4, 3-3 FVC) cheered wildly when Regione and Emricson scored. They ran onto the field to mob Olas, another JV player who played the entire second half, when time had expired.
Prairie Ridge got three goals each from Charlie and Eddie Ferree and two goals apiece from Zach Clark and Kyle Batt. McHenry (0-9, 0-3) was led by Jackson Wuchter with five goals.
“We had a lot of poise and control with the ball, which really helped our possession time, which is the biggest thing we’ve been working on,” Wolves coach Caleb Koss said. “We got a lot of JV kids on the field, got them time, prepping them for next year. In the second half, most of the defense and attack were JV kids.”
Clark, Charlie Ferree and Eddie Ferree all scored in the first two minutes of the game.
“I liked how we were able to get it around and get some dodges going in,” Charlie Ferree said. “Just have an overall good offense. The season hasn’t really gone all that well, but we had to get used to playing as a team and we’re starting to do that.”
Dingle likes the way the Wolves are trending.
“We had a lot of tough competition early in the season,” Dingle said. “But now it’s starting to even out. We’re playing really well and we have a lot going for us.”
McHenry’s other goals came from Brett and Ryan Hephner, Andrew Lehst and Tanner Polep.
The Warriors have only four seniors and one junior, the rest of the varsity roster is sophomores and freshmen.
“I liked the effort overall,” McHenry coach Matt Biell said. “They stayed in the game and didn’t get down on themselves. We had a couple problems with that early in the season, getting down early and the mentality shutting down. This time it was good to see them fight.
“We just want to develop. Now the younger guys have seen what it takes to play at the varsity level. I hope they’ll take the offseason seriously and work out, treat their bodies right and keep the stick in their hands.”