MICDS showed again it has the premier high school boys lacrosse team in the state.
The Rams captured the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association boys state title win for the fifth year in a row with a 13-1 victory over the St. Louis University Junior Billikens.
What does coach Andy Kay say about that accomplishment?
“I guess it means that we run a good program and that the kids know how to compete,” Kay said.
It was the eighth overall state championship for the MICDS program.
MICDS finished with a sparkling 20-2 record. This team deserves to be in contention for being one of the best in school history, Kay said.
“This was a great team. They picked up the most wins in school history, a No. 2 Midwestern ranking,” Kay said. “They certainly should be in that conversation.”
The team dealt with the pressure to keep the state title streak going from the first day of practice. Kay said no one shies away from it.
“The pressure is certainly felt, but we can always fall back on the discipline of good practice to help us manage,” Kay said.
There were several highlights from the regular season. MICDS did not lose to any team from Missouri. The Rams also defeated nationally ranked Loyola Academy and the Texas power Episcopal School of Dallas during the season.
There were two losses that came in late March in Dallas and early April in Memphis.
“Against Jesuit [Texas], we competed well and closed the game on a nice run,” Kay said. “Lesson there was that we are solid but need to play a full 48 minutes. We never got off the bus in Memphis. Lesson there was that we were beatable on any given day and needed to refocus our energy on the toughness of plays.”
The Rams didn’t lose after that.
Kay said he was happy with the way the team was playing heading into the postseason.
MICDS opened with a 14-3 win over Webster Groves in its first postseason match.
“We executed a nice game plan and demonstrated for us that we needed to be prepared for teams trying to take long possession and keep us from pushing the pace,” Kay said.
The Rams faced De Smet Jesuit in the semifinals. MICDS scored a 10-4 victory.
Kay said the Spartans followed the Webster Groves plan in the game.
“De Smet executed a similar plan as Webster Groves,” Kay said. “They were very methodical and slowed the game way down. We stayed calm and were confident operating in the pace.”
MICDS then met SLUH in the championship game. The Rams had beaten the Junior Billikens 14-2 in the regular season finale.
Such a lopsided win did not give Kay any concern about his Rams overlooking SLUH in the title game.
“We were not overconfident,” Kay said. “We had the most intensely competitive practices of the year leading up to it. ”
In speaking with the team before playing SLUH, Kay reminded his squad what it needed to do.
“We really just focused on us,” Kay said. “We knew SLUH would zone us, and we had prepared for many weeks to counter it. We also talked about riding the middle of the wave and executing in between the lines.”
His team was aware of what was at stake in the big game.
“The main fear for the guys is that they didn’t want to be the ones who lost the streak,” Kay said.
The Rams took a 3-0 lead just over 2 minutes into the game. Henry Carpenter, Andrew Feldman and Nico Feldman all scored to put MICDS in command.
“We capitalized on some transition opportunities early, and our defense stifled SLUH with some heavy pressure,” Kay said.
There was no looking back as the Rams went to win 13-1.
“This was a very solid effort across the board,” Kay said. “We really felt like it was a display of skill and power that we hadn’t fully achieved during the season.
“The boys were excited and relieved.”
Several Rams caught Kay’s eye in the postseason.
“I thought Jason Sugavanam and Ross Buchman were outstanding in the back,” Kay said. “They held their matchups well and that made it tough for teams to feel like they had a chance. I was also impressed by senior captain Alexander Feldman. He was the quarterback of our offense, and kept us quite composed.”
Kay was happy with how it all turned out.
“It’s special. I know that these moments can abruptly end and that the competition will only become hungrier,” Kay said. “If your career is in coaching and education, you really can only hope to ever get one of those trophies. To be a part of a group that got five is career-making.”
The program loses 14 boys to graduation. While there will be spots to fill, the future look looks good, according to Kay.
“We lose a lot in the back, but we return some great offensive pieces, a first-team goalie and an outstanding face-off guy,” Kay said. “If the boys press, they should be competitive again next year.”