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West boys eager to make mark in top division

GLEN ELLYN — Having moved up to the IHSLA A-Class division two years ago, Carl Landi is looking for steady improvement from his Glenbard West boys lacrosse program.

“Every team wants to win a state championship,” said Landi. “I’m not saying that’s not our goal. But I want our program to get a little better every year. I want this team to be more consistent as a team that last year and I want to get more guys on the field playing. Those are my big program goals.”

The Hilltoppers have 80 boys in the program this spring, split onto three teams. The varsity is off to a 3-3 start after beating Conant 9-1 on Saturday.

“We’ve got a healthy mix of kids,” said the coach, whose team went 10-11 a year ago and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to eventual champion Loyola. “We’ve got a good amount of seniors but our juniors and sophomores are also seeing some playing time.

“Everyone on the varsity team is contributing. The biggest lesson we’ve had to learn in years past is that everybody on the varsity team needs to contribute. That’s how we are; we are focusing on the team aspect in everything we do.”

The squad is led by seniors Erik Strittmater (midfield), Trent Schumann (midfield), Jack Manzella (midfield), Jake Droesseler (defense) and Anthony Huss (defense) and juniors Joe Leland (attack) and Joel Mayo (attack).

Strittmater tops the team in scoring with Mayo the leader in assists.

The group will be tested throughout the final month with matchups against Lyons Township, Wheaton Warrenville South and Hinsdale Central.

“The competition (at the A level) is so much greater,” Landi said. “Some of the upper echelon B-level teams are really good but every game you play against an A team you have to be ready. I wanted to make that jump to play better competition so our program gets better.”

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