New Trier boys lacrosse player Matt Solberg is ‘the leader of the leaders’

SHARE New Trier boys lacrosse player Matt Solberg is ‘the leader of the leaders’

HINSDALE — New Trier senior captain Matt Solberg did much more than just score the game-winning goal in overtime in the boys lacrosse state final.

“He established himself early on as the leader of the leaders,” said New Trier coach Tom Herrala, whose team beat Loyola 9-8 Saturday in the title game. “Not everything he did for us happened on the field.”

Solberg took it upon himself to drive teammates to and from practices, games and team dinners. He even taught sophomore teammate Danny McDermed what to order at Sarkis, a popular Evanston breakfast spot on Gross Point Road.

“He walked in with us one time and never had been there before,” Solberg said. “He was going to order pancakes, but I told him what to get.”

Solberg instructed the restaurant rookie to go with the Loretta, a sandwich served with meat, cheese and vegetables on French bread. But Solberg also shared the Sarkis secret, which is to add a fried egg on top.

“He showed Danny the right way,” Herrala said with a laugh. “He did little things like that.”

Solberg contributed on the field, too. He helped deliver New Trier (18-7) its 10th state title in program history. In the state final against the top-seeded Ramblers, he scored two goals: The first came with 43 seconds to go in regulation and cut Loyola’s lead to 8-7 and the second occurred at the 2:15 mark of overtime.

“He did that for us so many times,” Herrala said. “He would put the team on his back.”

Solberg finished with 10 goals and 11 assists in the playoffs and ended his career as the program’s all-time leader in assists with 80, 39 of which came this year.

New Trier senior Jackson Kaplan said Solberg was the perfect teammate.

“He was reliable and loyal,” said Kaplan, who dominated the face-off circle Saturday at Hinsdale Central. “He was a great wing man and did so many things for us.”

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