Drew Kessenich dreamed of the day he led his team to a state lacrosse championship.
On Saturday, the senior fulfilled that dream as the Oregon/Stoughton boys lacrosse club defeated Hudson 7-5 in the state championship game June 11 at Hart Park Wauwatosa.
“The moment that clock hit zero was probably one of the best moments of my life,” said Kessenich, a Division 1 Detroit Mercy lacrosse commit. “I’ve been dreaming about that moment since fourth grade, and to see all the hard work and sacrifices pay off, truly does make it worth all of it.
“It’ll definitely be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Huge congrats to Oregon/Stoughton on their 2022 WLF Lacrosse state Championship! Panthers win 7-5! pic.twitter.com/pRMiuleUjP— StoughtonAD (@AD_Stoughton) June 12, 2022
The Panthers advanced to the state championship game after an 11-7 victory over Middleton in a state semifinal game on Wednesday, June 8, at Oregon High School.
Top-ranked Oregon entered the state final with an 18-1 record, with its only loss coming against Hudson 15-10 on May 14.
But Saturday was a different story.
“We played Hudson in the middle of the year when we weren’t playing our best lacrosse and we had a couple guys banged up and we weren’t at full strength,” Kessenich said. “We also had a great game plan that the whole team bought into.”
Kessenich powered the Panthers with four goals.
“I had absolutely zero jitters playing in that game and I think that came from my confidence in myself and my confidence in my teammates,” he said.
Lake Rewey, Leo Schleck and Jacob Cameron all added one score in the victory.
“I feel like right out of the gate, we took control of the game,” Kessenich said. “We started out on fire on ground balls as well as the gritty plays and dominated in that area the whole game. Also when Jacob Cameron had that fifth goal we knew we were the better team and we needed to keep our foot on the gas and stay disciplined.”
Logan Leatherberry spearheaded the Oregon defense as the sophomore goalie racked up 15 saves. Hudson came into the state final averaging 17.5 goals per game.
“I think Logan really stepped up big for us,” Kessenich said. “For him to be a sophomore playing like that in a state championship is unbelievable.”
An unbelievable performance on an unforgettable night.
“We’ve all (seniors) been playing together and dreaming about that moment (winning state) for so long,” Kessenich said. “It’ll definitely be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Oregon 11, Middleton 7
Kessenich led the Panthers past Middleton with a five-goal, one-assist performance. Rewey scored four goals as Kessenich and Rewey combined for nine of the 11 goals.
Adam Slager and Seth Niday both netted one goal. Schleck recorded a team-high three assists. Adam Mikkelson helped lead the defense with three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Slager went 18 of 22 on faceoffs.
Leatherberry racked up 11 saves in goal.