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Cleveland Heights Girls' Lacrosse Forfeits Games, But Continues to Win

School's teams gearing up for playoff action

Although the Cleveland Heights girls’ lacrosse team had a very successful week on the field, they learned earlier this week they had to forfeit three games for using an ineligible player, said the team’s head coach.

A Tigers defender received two yellow cards against Shaker Heights April 14, which under Ohio Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association rules merely knocks a player from that game, but under U.S. Lacrosse rules suspends a player for the following game.

After the Shaker Heights game, the Tigers used the player against Western Reserve Academy the next day on April 15, and in two games against Mason and Lake Forest, IL, on Saturday, before realizing the difference between the two governing bodies' rules the following Monday, said  coach Terry Saylor.

The Tigers chose to report the incident, but Saylor said the state decided to apply the national rules, although U.S. Lacrosse later said the state’s bylaws should have taken precedence. Despite the appeal, the state upheld its decision, and the school chose not to press further.

Saylor would not identify the player. Although the team’s ranking wasn’t affected by the decision, the team’s record was 9-3 to begin the week and is currently 8-6. The team is currently ranked second in Ohio at laxpower.com.

“It’s disappointing because it affects the record," Saylor said. "It doesn’t really change who we are. And it hasn’t changed the girls’ perceptions of who they are. They’re taking a really positive approach, and they can’t wait until their next game.'

As for the on-field action, Olivia Lash had a career day with seven goals on seven shots as the Tigers handled New Albany, 17-10, in Columbus on Saturday. Kelly Rosenbaum had six crucial saves.

On Monday, the Tigers blitzed host Stow-Munroe Falls, 18-5. Meg Lentz had three goals and two assists, and Kelly Jones had two goals and three assists. Lash and Tali Lugasy had four goals each, and Rachel Evans played her first varsity game and scored her first goal.

This week, the Tigers host defending Division I state champion Medina at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and then host Sycamore of Cincinnati at noon Saturday.

Boys’ lacrosse

The Tigers split their games in this week’s action with a 15-3 loss Saturday evening at Solon, the eighth-ranked team in the state. Earlier in the week, Cleveland Heights downed Lake Catholic, 12-7.

Coach Curt Kassigkeit felt the Tigers performed well Saturday night against the Comets despite the score. Mike Bryant had two goals and Devin Johnson had a goal. Goalie Mike Arnold had 18 saves.

On Thursday against Lake Catholic, Bryant had seven goals, LaVonte Cook had two goals, while Sam Brown, Denis Bertrand and Johnson each had a goal. Arnold posted 15 saves.

The Tigers are 3-7 on the season.

“We had a good week overall with production from a variety of players,” Kassigkeit said. “I’m looking forward to finishing the season strong over the next couple of weeks.”

Tuesday’s scheduled match against Westlake got moved to Saturday at 3 p.m. and will be part of a packed week of action. The Tigers will host Benedictine at 6 p.m. Monday, go to Hawken at 5 p.m. Tuesday and travel to Shaker Heights for a 6:30 p.m. start Friday.

Baseball

The Tigers had a winning week, taking two of three games, raising their record to 11-7 overall and 7-1 in the Lake Erie League.

“We played a complete game against VASJ on Friday. I’m pleased with that,” Mike Dillon said. “Our pitching has been solid all year. As long as our defense is solid and we don’t make a bunch of mistakes, we’ll be in there against anybody.”        

Earlier in the week, Cleveland Heights thumped Maple Heights at home, 10-0, on Monday. Michael Houdek (1-1) pitched four innings, striking out five and giving up one hit for the win. Joe Eyerman struck out the side in the fifth inning to close the game. Tyler Rudy went 2-for-3 with his third home run of the season and two RBI.

Benedictine downed host Cleveland Heights, 6-1, on Thursday as Houdek picked up his first loss of the season. Benedictine ace Dan Piascik had seven strikeouts in five innings. Houdek gave up two earned runs in four innings, and Eyerman gave up one earned run in three innings. Eric Becker went 3-for-3 with a double, RBI and stolen base.

The Tigers rebounded with a 12-0 pasting of visiting Villa-Angela-St. Joseph on Friday. Wil Sharon (4-2) pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and four hits, and Trey Hopkins hit a grand slam in the third inning. Becker went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Sam Collins went 2-for-3, with an RBI and two runs scored. Terence Bailey was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Cleveland Heights has a packed week ahead as sectional tournament play begins at home against Shaker Heights at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. If the sixth-seeded Tigers win, they’ll face the winner of Riverside-Geneva on the road at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

In league action, the Tigers travel to Shaw for games Thursday and Friday, both at 5 p.m. To finish the week, the Tigers play Aurora (noon) and Brush (3 p.m.) in the Cheyfitz Tournament at Brush Saturday.

Boys’ tennis

After a rough start to the season in dual matches, the Tigers have hit their stride after defeating visiting Euclid, 5-0, on Monday for their fourth straight win. The Tigers are 4-6 overall and the win closed the Tigers’ dual-match record in the Lake Erie League at 2-2 placing them third in the conference.

In the LEL tournament, Cleveland Heights took third in the pro-set event. Aleksi Vihanto took second in the first flight, Jake Stern was third at No. 2 and Ethan Tucker was third at No. 3.

In the doubles, the Tigers top team of Evan Cerne-Iannone and Brian Kent upset the No. 2 seeded team of Mamoud Al-zeer and Chris Caldera of Lorain City Schools, 8-6, in the first round and finished second overall. In No. 2 doubles, Brandon Fernando and Nathan Adkins took fourth.

In the overall tournament standings, Shaker Heights won with eight points, Mentor, 12; Cleveland Heights, 14; Lorain City Schools, 16 and Euclid, 25.

“My singles players Aleksi, Jake and Ethan are playing their best tennis right now at an important time in the season. You want your team to peak at this moment,” Tigers coach John Laskarides said.  

In their final week of competition, the Tigers host Garfield Heights on Tuesday and face Brush on Wednesday. Both matches begin at 4 p.m. Cleveland Heights begins the sectional tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Track and Field

With a weekend off from competition, the Tigers turn their attention to the Lake Erie League meet on Tuesday and Thursday at Bedford High School.

“For us, it’s the No. 1 team meet of the year,” Tigers coach Nick Continenza said. “This is where the team comes together and the most people have a chance to impact the team point-wise because we’re only competing against four other schools (Euclid, Warren G. Harding, Shaker Heights and Mentor) in our division. There’s more chance for second-tier competitors to shine and make their efforts count.”

Coach Continenza looks to sprinter Shelton Gibson, hurdler Bryce Jones and long-distance runner James Moore in individual events to perform well and believes he’s got a shot sweeping most of the faster relay events.

“Our goal going into next week is to win the conference. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle. If we’re going to do it, a lot of things have to go right. Mentor has a lot of people. If we capitalize on our strong events and assuming they will as well, I think it’s going to be close,” Tigers coach Nick Continenza said.

Against Shaker Heights on Wednesday, the boys won, 91-11, and girls lost, 80-26. The boys won every event in a tune-up for before the LEL meet.

Gibson tied a school record at 200 meters with a hand-time of 21.6.

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