Playing their second game in less than 24 hours, the Zionsville boys lacrosse team used some unfamiliar tactics Saturday afternoon against Crown Point.
And while it wasn’t always pretty, they dig deep when they needed to in an 11-9 win.
“We put in a gameplan today that was totally unlike anything we have done this year,” Zionsville head coach James Rundle said. “We had a quick turnaround from last night, and everything went as well as could be expected. We need to tighten up a few things, but overall I’m pretty happy and it is good to avenge a loss from last year.”
Quick turnarounds are nothing new for the Eagles this year.
They have played Friday-Saturday turnarounds already this season, and have had stretches of three road games in less than a week.
Rundle said the Eagles schedule prepares them for anything they will see in the post-season.
“We have had a couple of weeks this year where we have had three games and a couple weeks ago, we had three road trips,” Rundle said. “These quick turnarounds are nothing knew for us. They definitely take a toll, especially later in the season, but it builds character for our team and will make us a force to face in the playoffs.”
Against the Bulldogs, it looked like the Eagles offense was going to lead them to victory.
The Eagles led 7-3 at the half, getting two goals from Aidan Oberweiser and Duncan McCourt, as well as goals from Bennett Chambers, Kai Takesue and Jack Swenberg. and controlled the tempo of play.
But in the second half, the Eagles managed just four goals and the Bulldogs got themselves back in the game.
“In the second half, we tried to have a little more pride in taking care of the ball and not forcing anything,” Rundle said. “We just didn’t execute quite as well to get the final goals.”
Crown Point got within one at 9-8 early in the fourth quarter, but goals from Takesue and Swenberg pushed the lead back to three with 7:39 to play.
The Bulldogs got a goal with 5:25 to go to make it 11-9, and got two separate man advantages in the final five minutes, but the Eagles killed both.
“I am unbelievably proud of our penalty kill,” Rundle said. “I think they had close to 15 man advantages in the game and for our man-down defense to play like they did and allow so few goals is a huge win for us.”
The Eagles have two home games remaining, against Noblesville on May 7 and against Hamilton Southeastern on Wednesday, May 15.
Then it is on to the postseason. Rundle said the biggest thing for the Eagles to work on at this point of the year is the mental mindset going against some of the other top ranked teams.
“The biggest thing we have to correct is our mental approach,” Rundle said. “For the past eight or nine years, it has been Carmel, Cathedral, HSE and Culver-type look and Zionsville has kind of fallen a little behind that top-4. For the teams outside that top-4, it is a huge mental game because everyone feels like they are playing for fifth. If we can break that mental wall down, I think we can be a big force.”