Mike Gabel's

2024 HS IL Rankings

#01 - St. Viator

This is the first year I have put Viator at the #1 spot. Yes, they graduated some of their top offensive players last year, but they return their face-off man Michael Tauscher (High Point commit) and goalie Jack Hartman. Last year, they had the toughest postseason schedule, defeating New Trier, Loyola, and Lake Forest before losing the championship game. They are hungry to get back to that championship game and this year, they have all the pieces they need. On offense, expect a lot of goals coming from senior attackman Ryan Halperin; midfielders Carson Wilder and Driese Rapp, along with juniors Emerson McGrath (High Point commit), Franco Caputo, and Wes Star will all take on leadership roles. Make sure you keep an eye on sophomore speed-demon Keaton Franzen. He can play attack or midfield and will be the guy who can start the offense. On defense, senior Kasper Gwidz (Lewis commit), junior Ethan Angst, and sophomore AJ Skotnicki will keep opponents at bay. This team plays with a ton of energy and is building into a powerhouse, especially with their younger impact players.

#02 - Glenbard West

The Hilltoppers are considered the top public school in the state this year. Their returners include their #1 and #2 goal scorers from last season: junior attackman Sam Clark (Providence commit) and senior midfielder Ben Cesario. They will also bring back a healthy senior attackman Jack Moellering (Denison commit), along with sophomore Logan McDougal, making this one of the top attack units in the state. Their midfield is rounded out by juniors Cooper Kinney, Cole Glascott, and sophomore Andrew Engel. The biggest question mark for this season is losing last year’s All-State face-off man and goalie. They have guys ready to step up and fill those roles, but they have yet to be tested in big games. Luckily, they return 90% of their defense from last year, including seniors Eli Limouris, Aiden Nelson, and Will Sweinsberger, along with sophomores Nile Woods and Jacob Quintos, who will be included in the starting lineup. Every year, this team has been getting better and better. Their talent is evenly distributed among each grade, which adds some longevity and depth to their future potential.

#03 - Lake Forest

I am sure the Scouts believe they should be ranked #2 this year, especially with their OT win against GBW last season and a final four playoff appearance, but that was last year. They return senior goalie August Silver (Quinnipiac commit) and some experienced guys on both sides of the ball. On offense, senior attackmen Graham Garrigan (Bucknell commit), Colin Pfeifle and midfielder Oscar Kokke should be putting up a ton of goals. Junior sharpshooter Lucas Kroner (Lafayette commit) will be able to put the ball in the back of the net with some help from Bryden Theirgart, Jimmy Rappel, and Jack Walsh. Freshman Emmit Lee will probably make an immediate impact this year with his speed and grit in front of the cage. On defense, returning starters include juniors Danny Van Camp and Marty Hipple, who will command the group. If they can get possession, this team can score goals. And with a qualified goalie to keep every game close, Lake Forest will be a final four team.

#04 - Loyola Academy

This might be a rebuilding year for the Ramblers, but that does not mean they are going to be weak. They have a bunch of young studs who are getting a lot of playing time. Even though they don’t have some of their superstar players like years past, this team can compete and will win a lot of games. They graduated their top defender but return starting senior defenders Finn Miller and Colin Scheid. In goal, I expect to see Aiden Hughes holding down the fort. On offense, they will rely on senior attackman Will Steele (Colby commit) along with senior midfielders Matty Vallace, David Pezza, and junior Tommy Ghislandi (Air Force commit). They will have an experienced face-off man this year with senior Mason Shackleford. Loyola Academy is always a well-coached team that knows how to win big games.

#05 - New Trier

The Trevians are ready to return to the final four. They are done rebuilding and want to make a statement this year to remind opponents they need to be respected again. If they get a few early wins this spring, I expect them to gain momentum, which could carry them far into the post-season. They return a ton of guys from last year’s young team. Expect speedy senior attackman Nico Nassar (Fairfield commit) to start things off, along with senior Jake Zenkewicz and juniors Shea Randel, Milton Haffron, and Hans Huber. On defense, they will have a four-year varsity senior Charles Truckenbrod, along with juniors Ian Schnizlein, Finn Degroot, and in goal, returning starter junior Graham Stuart. The cherry on top of this year’s team is returning face-off man, sophomore Aaron Pressman, who is considered one of the top FOGOs in the country. If you were able to get a win last year against New Trier, do not expect the same result this year.

#06 - Wheaton Academy

WA lost a lot of senior leadership from last year’s team and got hit by a few boarding school departures, but they do return some hungry talent. If their offense can put up at least seven-to-eight goals a game, they will remain a top team in the state. They return starting attackmen senior Jake Miller and junior Charlie Foley (Lafayette commit) and should get some much-needed fire power from senior midfielder Tyler Sommer and junior Zach Moravick. On defense, they return four-year starting goalie Johnny Carrington (Siena commit), who can single-handedly steal goals from opponents. Johnny will be getting a lot of help on defense from seniors Mitchel Carik (U-Indy commit), Riston Tomich (Providence commit), along with a few other established returners. They need a consistent face-off man and will rely on junior midfielder Jack Roth to get them the ball. This team is very well coached, and the boys know how to win, especially with some solid returners. Even though they may be ranked 6th, they can still make a big playoff run this year.

#07 - York HS

The Dukes have been a top 10 team for the last couple years. They play smart, and this senior class is really strong. Senior attackman Blake Rieger (Roanoke commit) will be their “Patrick Mahomes” on offense: a big scoring threat who has great lacrosse IQ. He will be running with fellow senior Bennet Jones (College of DuPage commit). Junior midfielders Adam Crum and Evan Gaughan round out the Dukes’ power players on offense. In goal, senior Jack Kevin is expected to have a strong showing with senior defenders Nate Schlief, Jack Tomei, and junior Braeden Bartlett in front of him. The Dukes will be asking junior face-off man Fintan Helm to get some big-time possessions this season. York is going to be a good team this year – expect them to upset at least one of the teams ranked ahead of them.

#08 - Benet

The Redwings graduated a ton of firepower from last year’s team, but they do return a deadly face-off man, senior Michael Frieri (Air Force commit). This team made the final four last year and, with the return of their sophomore goalie Zachary Gorman and their experienced offense, they should be dominant once again. On attack, seniors Charlie O’Grady, Tommy Tierney, and junior Tommy Bartenhagen can score in transition and in settled 6v6. Their midfield unit is young but skilled, showcasing sophomores Grant Randolph and Patrick Carr. Benet graduated several defenders from last year’s team, but they return senior Nathan Sarros. Even though this team does not have a lot of depth, their face-off man could produce a lot of transition offense for them and help play “make it, take it” once they get a lead.

#09 - St. Rita

St. Rita is making a comeback this year! They return their senior goalie Nolan O’Malley, giving them a bump above a few other teams I had on my list. They bring back some strong offensive guys, including seniors Aiden McIntyre and Liam Nolan. Unfortunately, they lost their do-everything midfielder Nick Herman to football, so they will need someone to step up at the face-off X this year. Expect slick stick sophomore Nick Quaid to be a problem for defenders this year around the goal. This team can score goals and have an experienced goalie behind them. Rita should roll through their local schedule and be a team to watch come playoff time.

#10 - Neuqua Valley

You can’t underestimate the Wildcats. They continue to make deep runs in the playoffs, and this year, they have a few secret weapons to help. They return their leading scorer junior Jonah Frank, who registered 65 goals last year and 96 total points. Additionally, senior Cary George and junior Jonathan Ostendorf are big time threats on offense. They return sophomore face-off man Ben Stefanski, who gained a ton of experience last year as a freshman. Senior Drew Tedrow will need to be a leader on defense this year since Neuqua graduated their senior goalies from last season. They will also need to adjust to a new head coach for this spring.

Honorable Mention:

These are the teams who have the ability to make the jump this season.

Glenbrook South

Glenbrook South had a break-out season last year. The 2023 Coach of the Year Matt Larson graduated a senior-heavy team, but I hope to see them back again this year or next.

St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius had a great season last year but lost their senior goalie to prep school, and I heard they lost a bunch of returners to focus on football this season.

Andrew High School

Andrew High School did well in the regular season and return their starting goalie and some stud attackmen. Unfortunately, I would like to see them schedule some tougher games to get them prepped for the playoffs.

Washington in Central IL

Washington in Central IL is another team to look out for. They had a great season last year and brought back a ton of points on offense.

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