By Jeremy Balan
St. Ignatius Prep began its two-game road trip to the San Diego area with a shaky 7-1 loss to La Costa Canyon High School of Carlsbad on Friday.
The Wildcats (4-2, 2-0) struggled offensively, especially in the first half, when they totaled only three shots on target.
“We ran into a bit of a buzzsaw,” said St. Ignatius Head Coach Chris Packard. “[La Costa Canyon] is a really athletic team and they do a good job of controlling tempo. There defense did a great job on our attack. They got to everything.”
The Mavericks (5-0) punctuated the victory with a raucous celebration after the final buzzer. St. Ignatius has beaten La Costa Canyon in each of the past two seasons and the two teams have built up a considerable rivalry.
“They’ve whooped us twice in a row, I mean, manhandled us,” said La Costa Canyon Head Coach Dallas Hartley. “It’s a big win for our program. They beat us twice in a row, on our home field. All these kids remember those games.”
The St. Ignatius attack seemed to settle in during the second half and added its only score on a spectacular leaping rebound put-back play from sophomore J.W. McGovern, but La Costa Canyon goaltender Eric Sanschagrin had eight huge saves in the half to hold off any potential rally.
“You gotta give a ton of credit to their goalie,” Packard said. “He played a heck of a game. He made the first stop 10 seconds in, on one that we’re used to scoring. That set the tone.”
The Mavericks took advantage of 18 St. Ignatius turnovers to feed multiple fast-break opportunities that put pressure on the Wildcats early. La Costa Canyon also dominated in ground-ball wins.
“We got a taste of our own medicine,” Packard said. “We got frustrated with how athletic they were. It’s the loose change that wins the ball games. They did a better job of picking up the ground ball and those are things we’re used to consistently beating teams in.”
La Costa Canyon also shut out St. Ignatius standout senior midfielder Rob Emery, mostly through its main defender, senior Steven Bogert.
“[Bogert] shut down their best player,” Hartley said. “That was the gameplan and he executed well.”
St. Ignatius will wrap up their Southern California road trip with a game against Coronado today and will look to ride the relative surge that came in the second half.
“Hopefully there is a little momentum,” Packard said. “We got the ball moving a little bit better [in the second half].”
Just like La Costa Canyon, St. Ignatius has defeated Coronado (0-1) in their last two meetings. La Costa Canyon defeated the Islanders 8-5 on March 17.