Raiders open season with two wins
Liam Dietsch is enjoying his first taste of high school field lacrosse.
The Grade 11 student saw his Grade 9 and 10 seasons wiped out by the pandemic and his first Niagara Catholic Athletic Association action came Thursday morning and early afternoon at Kiwanis Field in St. Catharines.
“It is so nice and I am so excited to be finally out here. It is fun playing with guys who are younger and the older vets who are on the team,” Dietsch said, after scoring once and setting up four other goals in a 10-5 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. “Holy Cross has always had a good lacrosse program and I am glad to be a part if it.”
The 17-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake resident likes what he has seen so far.
“We have some newer guys this year but we are learning and things are going pretty good. It was a good game today and we are burying those balls. We scored some nice goals.”
Liam is enjoying playing with his younger brother, Kaleb.
“I think we have good chemistry going on the field and is always good to play with him.”
It is a busy lacrosse season for Dietsch, who also suits up for the St. Catharines Athletics junior B team.
“I made the junior B team this year at 17 and that is a pretty good accomplishment. I was going to play intermediate with my buddies back in NOTL but I wanted to take it a step further,” he said. “I am liking it and I am playing pretty well. I have a couple of points so far in our first two games and our team is doing well. We are going to step up tomorrow against Six Nations.”
Holy Cross co-coach Corey Quinn describes Dietsch as a very pleasant surprise.
“With the way sports have been cancelled the last couple of years, we had no idea what we would have, We knew we had a good group of Grade 9s but that was three years ago,” he said. “He has a great stick, he is athletic and he can bury the ball when he gets his chances. He is a guy we can build an offence around.”
Holy Cross finished opening day with a 2-0 record, including a 6-3 doubling of Saint Francis.
“We always have high expectations for this team. We have a tradition and coach (Dave) Walker built a program that consistently has gone to OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) and we always go into the season with the goal of making it to OFSAA,” Quinn said.
Quinn has been coaching for the past several years with Walker and hopes that will continue with Walker scheduled to retire at the end of the school year.
“He is not allowed to leave. That is basically the rule. He has to be here at all times and even when he is scorekeeping, he has to coach.”
The Irish were in tough against the Raiders.
“This game was a learning experience for us,” Notre Dame coach Mark Iannizzi said. “We got to see what we are missing. We struggled on our clears and I thought we rushed it a little bit on offence but considering our team and the fact that we haven’t played in a couple of years, all and all, I am happy.
Notre Dame opened the season earlier in the day with a victory over Denis Morris.
“The first game against DM I thought we played really well. We were tight defensively,” Iannizzi said. “We had a rookie goalie that did really well and our big players stepped up when they had to.”
Iannizzi and his team was thrilled to be back on the field after a two-year absence because of the pandemic.
“The kids are excited and it is a beautiful day,” he said.
Raiders 10 Fighting Irish 5
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Holy Cross’ Liam Dietsch with a goal and four assists.
For the Holy Cross Raiders: Lucas Williams (3); Dylan Price (2), Kaleb Dietsch (2), Liam Dietsch, Joey Young; Noah Ostromecki .
For the Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Adam Ponting (2); Josh Calder, Riley Smyth; Ryan Andrews.