(June 7, 2019) Several Stephen Decatur lacrosse players were honored with All-Bayside South Conference awards for their performances during the spring season.
Decatur senior captain Xan Johnston was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year with senior Stevie Mancha of Parkside.
“Xan was consistently the vocal leader for our defense this season. He has phenomenal on-ball defense and takeaway ability,” said Decatur Coach “Hoffy” Hoffman. “Once he has the ball he is also an offensive threat with the lacrosse IQ to know when it’s the right time to push the pace.”
Johnston signed his National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse at Division II Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, in December.
“I’m excited to see what he will accomplish at the next level,” Hoffman said. “I know the team and myself will miss his intensity, drive and motivation for excellence next season.”
Johnston also received All-Bayside South First Team Defense accolades with teammate Andrew Ball, a junior.
Senior captain Chase Porter scored a spot on the First Team Attack.
Junior captain Eric Gwin and freshman Austin Airey received Second Team Attack honors.
Porter led the team this season with 38 goals and 21 assists. Gwin was second with 33 goals and 25 assists.
Senior captain Kevin Beck was presented Second Team Midfield distinction.
Honorable mention awards went to Decatur junior goalie Tony Scafone and sophomores Riley Rayne and John James.
Decatur finished the season with an 11-4 record. Hoffman thought the season, his first as head coach, went well overall.
“We set the bar really high and most, if not all of them, rose to the challenge. I can’t be any prouder of the kids,” Hoffman said. “They bought into the system and were willing to do whatever it took to win. They’re a great group of kids.”
Junior midfielder Sarah Engle was named Co-Player of the Year for girls’ lacrosse with Parkside’s Leah Vilov.
“Sarah is an amazing player. She’s smart, she has great stick work [and] she makes things happen all over the field,” said Decatur Coach Sara Braniecki. “She has a huge impact on our offensive and defensive end of the field and she does an enormous amount of work in the midfield. She leads our team in goals and draw controls. She also has great work ethic, always trying to improve her game, and she is a great influence on her teammates.”
Engle finished the season with 49 goals, 17 assists and 64 draw controls.
She has verbally committed to Division I Loyola University in Baltimore. She plans to sign her National Letter of Intent as a senior in the fall.
Braniecki said she is looking forward to having Engle for one more season.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “Her and the other girls that she’s been playing with for a long time are a huge part of our team, so next year should be fun and productive.”
Engle also received Bayside South First Team accolades along with teammates, senior captains Kennedy Duke (defense) and Logan Townsend (defense), juniors Ellie Dutton (attack), Alyssa Romano (midfield) and Isy Kristick (goalie), and sophomore Brittyn Leonard (attack).
Second Team awards were presented to freshman Darby Moore (attack), sophomore Julianna Fohner (defense) and junior Abby Yesko (attack).
Decatur finished with a 10-6 overall record. The Lady Seahawks won the 3A East Region championship to advance to the state semifinals.
It was the team’s fifth regional title in the last six years, seventh this decade, and the ninth in the last 14 seasons.
“Midway through the season, I’m not sure many people would have predicted us winning a regional championship and heading to the state semifinals,” Braniecki said. “But there was one thing we held on to as a team – we always, always, work hard and continue to get better until the last game. And they did that.”