This has been a stellar season in Section V lacrosse for several teams. Few can go a whole season unbeaten, but Churchville-Chili has done just that.
Churchville-Chili’s 28 year old head lacrosse coach DT Benedict may look young for a head coach, but he can make decisions like a veteran.
After three starting attackmen graduated last year, Benedict handed the job in part to two sophomores. He admits he was nervous about it at first.
“But now I have every confidence in the world that they can compete at a level higher than varsity lacrosse,” Benedict said. “They see the ball well, they shoot the ball even better, and they just have a real knack for scoring and putting the other teammates in position to score.”
His decision has paid off. 10th graders Corey Yunker and Jake Buck combined for 210 points this season as the Saints finished with a perfect 16-0 record and the top seed in the Class B playoffs.
“Everyone has done a good job of getting me the ball and then burying the ball when I give it to them and we’re playing good as a team now and everyone’s doing their part,” said Yunker.
“It’s crazy to see the amount of points that they’re putting up,” said senior midfielder Jason Tebo. “Next couple years they’ll be breaking school records and killing it out there.”
Churchville-Chili has reached the playoffs with a 10-win team in each of the last five seasons, but never won a sectional title. Two of their losses came to Irondequoit, three to Canandaigua.
There’s a possibility the Saints could face both of those teams this year on the way to a sectional title, but for the Saints, any way they can lift that trophy is fine with them.
“We want to show that we can win,” said Buck. “Our regular season has done that, and now we want to transition that into the postseason and sectionals and I think we can do that.”
The opportunity to reverse postseason misfortunes isn’t lost on a team with young starters or a young head coach.
“I tell them that, is this going to be the year that we look back to 2016, that this is where the program really put their foot in, cemented themselves as somebody to acknowledge as a good lacrosse team,” Benedict said. “We’ve been so focused on the next task at hand. That’s the nice thing is that they haven’t been thinking too far forward.”