Season Summary 2011
A strong national schedule tested the Western Reserve Academy boys lacrosse team, but the Pioneers were up to the challenge.
The team went 12-10 on the season, beating Michigan state tournament participant Detroit Catholic Central, six-time defending Illinois state champion New Trier, as well as Northeast Ohio teams Solon, University School, St. Edwards and St. Ignatius.
In addition, the Pioneers faced Avon Old Farms (Conn.), St. Paul’s (Md.), Severn (Md.), and participated in the inaugural North American Lacrosse Invitational Tournament.
“We had a tough schedule, like we always do, and it was a challenge this year,” said third-year coach Mat Wilson ’01. “But the guys learned a lot from playing against some of the best teams in the country. We had a core group of six players who carried the team and we also had a large number of players who gained valuable experience at the varsity level.”
The Pioneers were led by Kyle Bernlohr ’11, who earned a Gold Medal, the school’s highest athletic honor, for his play in goal.
“He sees the ball in a way that other goalies just don’t – at times it looks like the other team is passing him the ball rather than shooting on goal,” Wilson said.
Bernlohr shared Most Valuable Player honors with Dillon Giorgis ’11. Giorgis scored 35 goals and dished out 35 assists from his midfield position while being named to the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association’s First Team.
“Dillon is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached,” Wilson said. “His ability to play one-on-one defense is fantastic – if he got within 10 yards of a loose ball on defense it was only a matter of seconds before we were on the attack.
“On offense, I have yet to see a short- or long-stick defender who is able to keep Dillon from getting to the goal and producing a good scoring opportunity.”
Bernlohr and Giorgis were both also named to U.S. Lacrosse’s All-American team and were first team All-Midwest selections. James Dahlheimer ’12 and Mike Gulasey ’12 were named to the All-Midwest second team, while Andrew Foster ’12, Nate Cain ’12 and Jack McCormick ’13 earned All-Midwest honorable mention.
Alex Fausnight ’12 was named the Most Improved Player for his work as a back-up goalie.
“Because Alex was able to go into the game at critical times, we were able to move Kyle (Bernlohr) into an offensive position when we needed him,” Wilson said. “It was nice having two goalies we could rely on this year.”
The Coaches/Spirit Award went to Martin Presley ’11.
“Martin always shows up ready to work,” Wilson said. “He was always cheering on the team and he never lost his enthusiasm for the team or the game.”
In addition to the award winners, the Pioneers relied on Gulasey, who lead the team with 111 points – 73 goals and 38 assists. Gulasey now has 223 career points at WRA, leaving him 132 points away from the school record of 355 – held by his coach.
“Considering the team’s strength of schedule compared to what it was 10 years ago, that is a big accomplishment,” Wilson said. “If he has a strong senior season, Mike could break the school record.”
While the Pioneers may have fallen short of their annual goal of winning the MSLCA Tournament, it was still a successful season.
“The real purpose of this program is to get players ready to play at the college level,” Wilson said. “The schedule we played this year prepared our seniors for college and helped our returning players get ready for next season.”
Head Coach: Matt Wilson
Gold Medal: Kyle Bernlohr ’11
MVP: Kyle Bernlohr ’11 and Dillon Giorgis ’11
MIP: Alex Fausnight ’12
The Coaches/Spirit Award: Martin Presley ’11