Sometimes, Libertyville sophomore Noah Moderwell’s lacrosse shot is easier to hear than to see.
“I can usually hear the ball when it whistles past me,” senior Sam Wilson said. “Noah will look at the goalie and just throw it where he’s not.”
Moderwell, a left-handed player, is an emerging star in his first full varsity season. In Libertyville’s last three games against teams ranked in the top 12 (according to laxpower.com), he has contributed five goals and four assists. Three of those goals and two assists came in a loss to Benet, the No. 1-ranked team in the state. Through Sunday, the Wildcats were 7-6.
Moderwell also played fullback on the sophomore football team and wrestled for the Wildcats.
“He works really hard in the weight room and what sets him apart is how much power he plays with,” Wildcats coach Brady Sullivan said. “Sometimes he plays like a fullback playing lacrosse. He has good speed, can run through checks and is hard to slow down.”
Moderwell’s introduction to lacrosse came when he watched his oldest brother play the sport for the Wildcats.
He picked up a lacrosse stick in third grade and was immediately smitten. Unlike football and many other sports, you don’t need a bunch of guys to practice lacrosse — just a ball, a stick and a net.
“Shooting is something you can practice pretty easily,” he said. “I love how lacrosse takes a lot of the best aspects of so many different sports and combines them. I get a rush when I play; it’s a really challenging and fun sport. There’s always something you can do to get better.”
Moderwell also has a built-in advantage. Not only can he practice lacrosse in the backyard with his twin brother, Jesse, but Jesse Moderwell happens to be a goalie.
“It definitely benefits me to talk with him about what goes through a goalie’s mind when I’m shooting,” Noah Moderwell said.
Jesse Moderwell is the starting goalie on the Wildcats’ sophomore team.
“He has one of the fastest shots you’ll see, so it gets my explosiveness up and I have to quicken my reactions,” Jesse Moderwell said.
Noah Moderwell earned a promotion to the varsity at the end of his freshman season. Although he saw limited action, he said the experience was invaluable.
“It was nerve-wracking at first, but it really helped me prepare for this year,” he said. “I was able to see [the level] I would need to play at.”
Noah Moderwell was unselfish at the start of the season, almost to a fault.
“He has such a hard shot that we wanted him to look for it right away,” Sullivan said.
Added Noah Moderwell, “Sometimes I think too much about whether I should shoot.”
But with each game, Moderwell is playing more instinctively. That was never more evident than against Benet.
“That was his breakout performance,” Sullivan said. “He’s starting to look for his own shot right away.”