SOUTH BEND — If La Porte needed a reference point for what its off-season should be about, Connor McKenna of South Bend Adams provided it.
The Eagles sophomore forward was full speed from first whistle to last, his tireless energy spiriting his team to three second-half goals that ended the Slicers' season and carried Adams into Saturday's championship.
"Put in the work," La Porte junior Aaron Feikes, who scored LP's lone goal, said Wednesday night. "We've got to hit the gym, get a little bigger so we don't get knocked off the ball. We've got to be faster. We've got to run, get in better shape, to be able to play all 80 minutes. It's the technical stuff, too. We've got to work on our passing."
Coach Pat McCoy and his staff all encouraged the returning players to increase their off-season investment, whether it's getting on a club team, attending school workouts or conditioning harder.
"We've got plenty of things to work on," he said. "We've got five or juniors who will be starters next year, some good sophomores, some good freshmen, too."
La Porte graduates 12 seniors, about half of whom were key contributors.
"We had some talent, but there are a lot of good teams out there," McCoy said. "We lost a couple games we could've, should've won, but we weren't really competitive with the better teams."
Crucial among the seniors is the versatile Ronaldo Cuarenta, who strapped on the keeper gloves and manned the net after sophomore goalie Gilberto Garcia was lost for the season with an injury a few weeks back. Cuarenta played about 60 minutes Wednesday before giving way to Alex Juszczak to finish and
"The backups just aren't quite ready for this level," McCoy said. "Alex is a good goalie. He made some good stops. He's just got a lot to learn. Ron's a really good field player, too. If it had been still 1-1, we probably would've left him in."
Duneland Conference colleague Michigan City, who bowed out a few hours earlier at TCU School Field to Plymouth, loses standouts in Omar Serrano, a four-year starting center-mid/forward, Nate Stevenson, a four-year starter central defender, Tre Bisher, a two-year starting defender, and forward Nick Bednar.
"Nick did really well to connect play and do a lot of little things that didn't always include scoring goals," Harris said.
City will have 13 seniors next season with Harris looking to midfielder Zach Parker, forward Josh Koepke, forward Jay Davis, defender Lukas Swistek, midfielder/keeper Evan Bush and defender/midfielder Cory Stevenson, a junior.