Boys lacrosse hosts out-of-state opponent South Oldham


Photo Contributed

Junior Michael Soderdahl looks to communicate with his teammates.

Evan Neiswanger, Staff Writer

Update: Tonight’s game has been moved to South Oldham

GREENWOOD- The Center Grove Trojans (5-1) are set to play South Oldham (KY) (6-4) Friday night at 8:45 at the Center Grove Soccer & Lacrosse Field. 

The Trojans are coming off a five-game win streak, the most recent against Culver Military Academy, a nationally-recognized lacrosse program where the Trojans’ junior Michael Soderdahl broke the club’s single-game scoring record of 10 goals. 

“I was nervous at first knowing we were going up against a very strong program, but the key for me when I go against great teams is treating them all the same,” Soderdahl said. “The opponent has no face, and you are playing against the same defender every time and staying confident.”

Soderdahl’s ability to find the back of the net has been a huge part of the Trojan’s 96 goals scored this season. He notes that being able to read the defense is a key part of scoring. 

“For me It is all about reading the defense and knowing when to cut,” Soderdahl said. “Another big thing is that I have learned how to use my speed and change of direction to beat my defenders for an easy shot.”

Center Grove had a rude awakening at the start of the season when they traveled to defending back-to-back state champs Hamilton Southeastern, where they were beaten 14-2. Trojans senior goalie and Elmhurst signee Harry Hummel says that game was a contributing factor to their recent success. 

“I think we definitely had a reality check against HSE, and now that we know the level we have to be, that kind of sets the standard for what we need to live up to for the rest of the season,” Hunmel said. “You know we’re all motivated to be better than the day before and it’s working.” 

South Oldham is ranked third in the state of Kentucky behind two teams the Trojans will play later this season: St. Xavier and Louisville Trinity. South Oldham coach Kendahl Nieto says being ranked so high is partly due to their travel-heavy schedule. 

“Being third in Kentucky is because we are traveling,” Nieto said. “You don’t get better unless you play better schools. It sucks to lose but losing gives you more tools to get better then blowout wins.”

The Dragons have played three out of state games, all three against Indiana school’s — HSE (L, 15-5), Westfield (W, 8-7) and Zionsville (L, 12-10). 

“Traveling to play is something that I look forward to because we’re going to play better lacrosse,” Nieto said. “At the end of the day these games don’t matter when it comes to fighting for that state title, but they do allow us to get better by playing better teams and learning what works and what doesn’t.”

South Oldham is led by senior attackman and Lindenwood signee, Kentucky Mr. Lacrosse, Evan Mason. Mason led the team in scoring last season with 131 points (85 G, 46 A) and was named Kentucky Mr. Lacrosse, Kentucky All-State, Regional MVP, as well as a Nike National All Star for the second time. 

“It meant a lot to see my hard work pay off and achieve one of my goals,” Mason said. “It also felt great to represent my school and teammates.”

Mason is a big factor on the Dragons’ motion and cutting offense.  As far as stopping the Trojan offense, Coach Nieto says slowing the game down will benefit the Dragons.

“I think for the [Trojans] dominant offense, the key to success is to slow the game down,” Nieto said. “Once you’re down by a couple, it’s hard to rally back against a good team.” 

The Dragons play a fast-pace offense and have relied upon overwhelming their opposition with speed and aggression. Soderdahl says keeping possession will be a deciding factor if the Trojans hope to win Friday. 

“I believe the key for us to win this big game is possession,” Soderdahl said. “Our offense needs to play at our own pace and slow the game down to how we want to play. I believe our defense needs to stay strong on and off the ball and shut down their number one player.”