By Jeremy Balan
Behind two late goals from senior Dax Cohan, St. Ignatius Prep held off a late Coronado High School rally to secure a 9-7 win on Saturday night in Coronado.
The Wildcats (5-2) held a 6-3 lead at the half, but Coronado (0-2) scored three unanswered goals to tie the game up at 6-6 with 10:36 remaining in the game.
Sophomore attackman J.W. McGovern broke the tie just two minutes later by breaking free from the Coronado defense with a spin move, then scored from an unlikely angle on a bounce shot that he squeezed between into a slot no larger than six inches.
“It was a big goal,” said St. Ignatius Head Coach Chris Packard. “[McGovern is] as gifted a lacrosse player, with his hands, as we have. That was a nice looking shot.”
Cohan then pushed the lead to 8-6 with his first goal of the game, and after a goal from Coronado’s standout attackman Eddie Vita cut the lead to one again, Cohan rifled a jump shot into the top-left corner of the net to seal the victory with 2:05 remaining.
“[Those goals] were the biggest goals scored all season,” Packard said. “[The last goal] was sort of a momentum type goal that capped it. [Cohan] has had some ups and downs in his career, but he’s playing the best lacrosse he ever has.”
Cohan and the Wildcats avenged what was the their only loss of the 2009 season, which came against Coronado.
“We just really wanted to come out and beat these guys,” Cohan said. “We just have to keep this momentum going and make every possession count.”
The Wildcats dominated faceoffs in the fourth quarter, winning 6-of-7.
“Faceoffs were definitely a key,” said Coronado Head Coach Alex Cade. “We tried to switch it up with a couple of faceoff guys, but we just weren’t getting the ground balls on the wing play. Some of that is just the way the ball rolls, the other part is just getting your nose down and getting a ground ball.”
The Islanders were led offensively by a game-high five goals from Vita, who is headed to Denison University in the fall.
“Eddie is a great player,” Cade said. “He’s an excellent finisher. We really try to get him going on offense and we know we have a good shot at winning. Unfortunately there were other guys who didn’t get going who should have.”
St. Ignatius scored on all six of their shots on target in the first half, but were shut out by five saves from senior goaltender Peter Zeller in the third quarter, which fueled the Islanders’ late rally.
“It takes a lot of mental fortitude to come out, knowing you didn’t have a good first half, and have a decent second half,” Cade said. “We’re gonna work on some consistency, so it’s not such a hole were digging ourselves into.”
After dropping the first game of their San Diego swing with a 7-1 loss to La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad on Friday, the Wildcats are looking to build upon the Coronado victory, heading into the heart of their season.
“I think we’ll go back and watch the La Costa [game] and steal a page from their book,” Packard said. “We’ll certainly carry this momentum. We have games coming up that are just as big as the ones down here.”