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Men’s lacrosse: Aurora University sets high goals

Updated: March 19, 2013 6:23AM

In a sense, they are a victim of their own success.

Aurora University’s men’s lacrosse team has gone from being the new kid on the block to a team with a target on its back in two short years.

“We’ve set the bar high,” head coach Kylor Berkman said.

No longer is winning a game or two the lone goal. The Spartans expect to win the Midwest Lacrosse Conference championship.

They were close a year ago, finishing 13-4 overall and 8-1 in the league. The Spartans advanced to the MLC Tournament championship game where they were defeated 18-8 by Adrian College.

Berkman has virtually his entire team back from last year and he’s added a good group of freshmen recruits. It is still a young team, but it has depth and experience. The majority of the players on the roster have been with the program for two years.

Leading that list are juniors Pat Diorka (Waubonsie Valley), Justin Bose, Zach Olsen, Spencer Fuqua, Jack Berry, Garret Rosiek and Adam Holka, along with sophomores Max Obriecht (Naperville North), Danny Loyall (Naperville Central) and Andrew Schoessel.

Diorka had 11 goals and nine assists, Bose 15 goals and four assists and Rosiek 22 goals and 22 assists as the Spartans outscored their opponents 206-139 last year. Loyall led the team with 37 goals and added 13 assists.

Berry and Fuqua were defensive mainstays in the midfield, and Obriecht was a face-off specialist, winning 62 percent of them. Holka, the AU goalie, finished 13-4 with a 7.94 goals against average.

It was a team that reached Berkman’s expectations. “We got to the conference championship game which is what we wanted to do,” Berkman said. “We played at a high level and that’s something I want to continue to do.”

Junior Cooper O’Brien (St. Charles East) and freshman R.J. Banker (Batavia) will see playing time on the attack this season while junior Tyler Thomas (St. Charles East) is in the mix on defense.

Three freshmen — Zach Henry, Jared Pritchard and Max Sampson — are expected to provide immediate help.

“Sampson is right behind Spencer in terms of abilities and Spencer has taken him under his wing,” Berkman said. “Henry is a tremendous athlete and sophomore Jeremy Kartel will back up Max on faceoffs. When Max needs a rest we won’t miss a beat.”

AU plays its first four games on the road before its home opener March 13 against the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

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