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Titans claim title of inaugural Brothers Cup champion in lacrosse rivalry

Titans midfielder Zack Zitkovic created the trophy as part of a school project, beating the rival Knights in the process.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Titan boys nabbed their first lacrosse victory over rival St. Francis since 2013. 

The team claimed the inaugural Brothers Cup, a brainchild of St. John's midfielder Zach Zitkovic, in the process.

Zitkovic started playing lacrosse his freshman year. Now a junior, he wanted to give back to his program and his school through his capstone project.

"Mine was to try and get end-line netting for our lacrosse program," Zitkovic said.

Zitkovic noticed players would spend hours each season trying to recover a ball gone out of bounds during sports such as lacrosse and soccer. The end line netting would serve as a backstop for stray shots.

"It saves a bunch of time. We spend about 20 minutes each practice trying to retrieve balls and over the course of the season that adds up to about 20 hours," Zitkovic said.

The Titans midfielder got to work last summer, raising the thousands of dollars needed for the equipment, collecting donations and selling t-shirts promoting the Brothers Cup. 

The Brothers Cup is the trophy awarded to the winner of the lacrosse match between St. John's and rival St. Francis; two all-boys Catholic schools, hence the name.

Knights head coach Jack Loy said it didn't take much to sell St. Francis on the idea.

"I was all for it. I think it's a great thing. It's a great rivalry game. It's been an excellent game over the years and I think it's nice to have a trophy for it," Loy said.

Zitkovic's coach Andrew Smith says he's impressed with the initiative to make it all possible.

"Zach is such an amazing young guy. To see him take the lead in this project and run with it himself, it's been really impressive," Smith said. "I've had to do really very little for him. He's done almost all of this himself."

The game not only shows the hard work of a student but also reinforces the bond the two schools have.

"Living out our Christian virtues at our two schools, it keeps a good relationship and a good respect," Zitkovic said. "Both of these programs, we respect each other."

Smith says they are hoping the new netting will be set up by the start of next season in March 2023.