The varsity boys’ lacrosse team lost to Marin Catholic (MC) in the Marin County Athletic League [MCAL] championship game on Saturday, May 5, in the highly anticipated rematch from last year. In the 2017 MCAL championship, the Giants beat MC in the championship 3-2 at Redwood. However, this year they ended the game with an 8-6 defeat allowing MC to take home the pennant after a hard fought battle between the two teams.
The MC wildcats took the lead early in the game, scoring their first goal within the first minute of play due to an error made by junior defender Jack Parsons. However, the Giants were not easily discouraged, as junior Luke Elders scored a tying goal shortly after.
Despite greatly improved defense by Redwood, the Wildcats capitalized on their early momentum. Scoring four more goals in the first half, the Wildcats took a 5-1 lead by the half.
“There was a lot of nervous energy in the days leading up to the game, and during warmups, so I think that everyone was trying to move at 100 mph when all the game needed was to calm down,” junior defensive middie Nathaniel Kuffner said. This attitude may have lead to the sloppy style of play in the first half.
“The turnover in the first minute that led to the first MC goal really set the tone for the rest of the game. We were lackadaisical on defense and got caught watching the ball too much,” Kuffner said. “ If we were able to get more momentum on offense in the 1st half, I think we would have been able to claw back one goal at a time, and possibly won the game.”
According to sophomore defender Alex Kraaijvanger, the Giants did not play a poor game. Only a few major plays lead to the heartbreaking loss.
“Jack [Parsons] threw the ball to the other team in the first quarter that led to a goal, and gave MC the early lead. We passed the ball to Nick Piedmonte when he was very tired and about to be subbed off, which costed us a crucial turnover. You’re not supposed to pass to someone in that position when you’re on offense,” Kraaijvanger said.
Not only was the gameplay somewhat poor, but the energy in the first quarter also added to the early MC goals.
“We were also sloppy on transitions and subbing into the game. These are little mistakes we can easily control, but I think the nerves got to us,” Kraaijvanger stated.
However, there were some great plays from the Giants. Elders played a fantastic game and juked an MC defender to his knees in the second half. Junior Harri Hetrick and senior Ian Leonhardt both contributed with extremely clutch goals in the final minutes. Junior goalie Talis Stockton was also playing near his full potential, saving a tremendous number of goals. However, he lazily threw away the ball twice, leading to a turnover.
Hetrick believed that the Giants may have been able to come back late in the game.
“We had the momentum from the amount of goals we began scoring. I think we would have had a chance, it just ended too soon,” Hetrick said. The energy and passion of play just came a bit too late.
The Giants play next Tuesday May 7 against California high school from San Ramon at home. If both Redwood and MC win their next playoff games, they will face off in the NCS on Thursday for another rematch.