1A #1 Saint Andrew’s Grinds Out the 5-4 Win Over 2A Co-#1 STA!

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photos by Seth Austin

If last night’s game was any indication of what we’ve missed the last 10 years . . . PLEASE don’t wait another 10.

If you’re a believer that defense wins championships, you saw two title contenders last night.

Too bad we have two classes now, because we could likely have seen another go at it with bigger stakes on the line.

It was special last night.

The only thing that would have been better?  A pre-Covid crowd that would likely have been ringing the fence and shoulder to shoulder in the stands.

I made a point on Morning Coffee to name 4 long poles for each team.  They were the story last night.  Shut down, physical, 3 yards and a cloud of dust . . . pick your adjective.  Nothing came cheap on the scoreboard.  Important saves at key times but a few missed opportunities also.  In a game like this you don’t give the other team the easy way out.  You finish clinically, not with the highlight reel attempt.  And there were a few times where a more fundamental approach to shooting would have been better.  But it’s high school, and the lessons aren’t always ingrained.

Both teams offensively seemed to have the same desire; take the break if it is there and work for the good shot when it isn’t.  The first was not available for most of the game and the latter was not always easy to provide.  SA’s defense played a lot of zone, with a matchup feature and STA’s offense struggled to get anything inside.  It took pretty far into the game for STA’s outside shooters to get a chance to fire, because SA was closing out quickly and playing the hands well.

Both teams also turned the ball over more than usual and I have to think a good part of that was the longer poseessions, as patience took it’s toll.  Another factor is that the teams’s EMO’s were a combined 1 for 13, and I doubt they’ve seen that inefficiency in many years.  An early 4th quarter 6 on 4 for STA when trailing by one, was not converted and you can look back at that as a key point of the game.

SA’s offense was more effective when the field was stretched out, allowing backdoor cuts to space in the middle, but they uncharecteristically missed the net on a number of the open looks they had and over time it became more difficult to find the space.  But one advantage that SA was able to exploit was running off clock when needed.  And as the game went on, the need increased as SA found they had no answer for STA’s faceoff savant Jared Chenoy, who won them all.  That ‘risk factor’ also meant that getting into a run and gun game with STA actually widens the possession margin and the difficulty in winning a game like this.  STA’s future opponents might heed well to pay attention to that.

One surprise to me is that you’d think the offenses would be a little better oriented towards the defenses they saw last night becaues they face those defenses in practice.  But if your defense is mainly man-to-man and you are facing a zone team you are not fully comfortable until you’ve played against it.  Another item that a rematch would have been fun to reveal.

But mainly we just have to be satisfied that last night turned the page on an incident that 10 years ago took this game away from lacrosse fans down here.

Now let’s hope time takes away the barrier to a much bigger crowd that would have been sitting on the edge of their seats.  The environment would have been electric in the fourth quarter as this one played out.

And there’s always next year . . .

The statistics are revealing in one big way besides the faceoff discrepancy and that was in the shooting.  STA tends to turn up the volume on shot attempts while SA does not.  But with both teams they normally hit the net regularly with those attempts.  For example, SA is shooting 58% on goal on the season while last night they went 10 for 19, while STA was actually under 50% (16 for 33), as opposed to their 25 for 40 (63%) versus Jupiter.  In a 5-4 game these are not small differences, they are deciding factors.  SA’s goalie Gunnar Schwarz was also able to take advantage of STA’s 3rd quarter in particular, making 6 of his 12 saves in that period.  A number of those were on low shots that did not hit the ground and he dialed in on those as the game went on.

As I mentioned above the game was physical, but never got chippy physically . . . but certainly it got a little chippy verbally.  Can’t say I didn’t expect it.  But maybe next time they hook up it stays at the G-PG level and not the R-rated level.  Neither team will back down when challenged that way, better to just assume there’s no benefit either way.  Let the game talk for itself.

Can’t wait until next year’s edition!  With a much larger volume of rooting.  The sport deserves it!

STA got off to a fast start as they jumped to a 2-0 lead with goals 62 seconds apart.  Nico Cash opened the scoring at 8:58 as he took the up top feed from Trace McDonald behind the net for the step down to the low left and at 7:56 it was Chase Garey gathering a loose ball in front of the cage for his own low shot.  At 6:12 it was Timmy Martin responding for the Scots on a solo dash by the long pole down the right alley and his right hand hit the top of the net for 2-1.  Anthony Borodiak tied it up at 3:00 as he face dodged twice from the left wing and got to the front to finish for 2-2 after one.

The teams went back and forth in the 2nd but SA was sloppy with possession (6 turnovers in the period versus 1 SOG) but STA was not able to take advantage and the half ended still tied at 2.

SA finally broke the tie, on the only EMO goal of the game, at 7:48 as Tristan Moss found Borodiak on the low left after a left-wheeling series of passes and Borodiak ripped one just inside the post for 3-2.  With 1:28 left Moss took the Jack Schulte feed on the right alley and found the net with a bounce shot to the high left and 4-2.  STA got that back on a 5 on 5 as Robert Gazzano got off a low shot from the middle off a rebound to take it to the fourth at 4-3.

An early penalty on the Scots and a release of the STA penalty led to the 6 on 4 mentioned above and after SA killed it off it was time to run some clock and with 5:40 to go it was Borodiak dodging towards the middle from the left wing and he nailed a high bounce shot to the top right to give breathing room, only to be answered by Cash with the step down up top off the Jacob Urbano top right feed with 4:25 to go.

STA had some nice attempts to tie the game, none better than the last few seconds when they finally turned over the SA attempt to run out the game, as they got off a left wing shot that just missed.  A fitting way to end the game.  A game where a few small things made the difference.

Here’s SA Head Coach Tony Seaman after the game:

Team Statistics

Faceoffs:  STA 12-0

Shots:  STA 33-19

Shots on Goal:  STA 16-10

Turnovers:  SA 15-13

Penalties:  SA 8-5

Individual Statistics

SA

Anthony Borodiak  3G

Tristan Moss  1G/1A

Timmy Martin  1G

Jack Schulte  1A

Gunnar Schwarz with 12 saves

Long poles Timmy Martin, Sean Jordan, Matt Filippo, Zach Brent, etc., . . . because you deserve it

STA

Nico Cash  2G

Chase Garey and Robert Gazzano with 1G each

Trace McDonald and Jacob Urbano with 1A each

Wade Lamon with 5 saves

Long poles Sam Whitaker, Matt Chrupcala, Vinny Layne, Nino Dominguez, etc, . . . because you deserve it

Thanks to both coaches for talking to me before and after the game!