Boys Lacrosse: New Trier senior Kraus pressed into support duties
Wilmette, 5/01/12 New Trier's Rory McGinnis looks to get past Loyola's Dylan J. Harris during their match at Loyola May 1. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:28AM
Winning a state title almost is automatic at New Trier.
For seven seasons in a row, the Trevians won the final game of the season, beating rival Loyola the last six times.
That’s all Max Kraus knew.
But his senior season was cut short last week with a 9-5 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South in the state quarterfinals. A three-year varsity player, Kraus did all he could for the Trevians, whose locker room after the match resembled a hospital wing.
“He left it on the field every game,” New Trier coach Tom Herrala said of the midfielder. “He did so many different things for us. He was the mainstay, game in and game out. He really was a workhorse.”
When Mike Germano was out, Kraus took the faceoffs. When leading scorer Tyler Schmarak tore his ACL, the Trevians turned to Kraus for more offense.
But even Kraus’ best efforts weren’t enough this year.
New Trier finished 12-12, losing eight of the final 11 games. The Trevians showed signs of progress early by winning eight in a row before a 7-5 loss to the Ramblers started the downward spiral.
“It was a perfect storm,” Herrala said. “We had a young team, and we were hit hard by injuries. After a while, we became decimated. It became overwhelming.”
Key contributors such as Jack O’Malley, Will Caffery, Ben Connelly, Germano and Schmarak all missed significant time due to injuries.
Freshman Ben Connelly, goalie Jack Connelly’s younger brother, also tore his ACL.
O’Malley played for the first time in the more than a month against Wheaton Warrenville South, and the senior scored three goals in the fourth quarter to rally the Trevians.
Kyle Kahnweiler wasn’t sidelined, but the senior played with a separated shoulder.
“We would take him out from time to time, but he always would go back in,” Herrala said. “It was that type of season.”
Jack Connelly and Kraus both will continue their careers in college. Connelly is off to Providence, while Kraus will play at Roanoke College in Virginia, one of the top Division III programs in the country.
Starting this summer, New Trier goes about putting this spring in the rearview mirror. Players like Rory McGinnis and Germano, a Navy recruit, will lead the comeback.
“A big focal point will be stick work and getting into the weight room,” said Herrala, whose club struggled on offense all spring. “We are talented, and we want to get back to being the top team in the state and the Midwest.”