Schlesinger assumes hero role once again
After watching his team win its third state lacrosse championship in as many years, Lakeridge coach Curt Sheinin joked that runner-up Oregon Episcopal School would probably soon be displaying wanted posters of the Pacers' Max Schlesinger.
If the coach's tongue-in-cheek prediction had somehow come true, OES at least had an appropriate motive. That's because OES team members are probably still seeing visions of Schlesinger in their dreams.
The Lakeridge senior attackman showed he was worthy of his all-state and All-American selections when he scored three goals in last Saturday's championship game. It was Schlesinger's last goal, though, that hurt OES the most.
That goal came 96 seconds into the overtime period, which gave Lakeridge a 10-9 victory and its third straight state championship. As luck would have it, Schlesinger also scored the decisive goal in last year's title game against OES.
After last Saturday's game, Schlesinger was treated like a hero by his teammates and the school's fans. But he gave credit to virtually everyone but himself.
'I couldn't have done it without the support of our team and our incredible offense, with guys like Joe Cramer, Danny Purcell and Andrew Clayton. They're all huge threats and all huge point-scorers. I couldn't have done any of it without them,' Schlesinger said.
When it comes to scoring goals, Schlesinger was money in the bank this season. He scored 60 times, which was the second-highest total on the team, and he added 21 assists. Plus, he obviously has a flare for the dramatic.
'I can't say enough about Max,' Sheinin said after the game. 'He's definitely a Division-I talent.'
Some Division I schools might shy away from a player like Schlesinger, who is not exactly the tallest player on the field. But Sheinin said his star attackman makes up for his lack of height with an abundance of skills.
'Sure he can play (at that level), with his quickness and his skills. And he's one strong kid,' Sheinin said.
Schlesinger and former Lakeridge teammate Justin Blackmore proved you don't have to be tall to be a successful lacrosse player.
'You don't have to be tall,' Schlesinger said. 'You have to have speed, or something on your side. (And) a lot of heart.
'I try to give 110 (percent) as often as I can. That's all you can really do is give it your heart and everything you have,' Schlesinger added.
Despite his personal achievements, Schlesinger was more concerned about the team's outcome. Once again, the Pacers finished on top with Schlesinger helping to lead the way.
'It's been an incredible year for our whole team,' Schlesinger said. 'We went to California (at midseason) and showed the entire West Coast that we're ready to play…
'And we capped that with a state championship. Who could ask for anything more?'