By Jeremy Balan
Riding a five-goal performance from senior midfielder Rob Emery, St. Ignatius Prep advanced to the final of the Jerry Langkammerer Invitational with a 14-11 win over Brophy Prep of Phoenix, Ariz. on Friday.
“He knows that we go as he goes,” St. Ignatius Head Coach Chris Packard said of Emery. “If he gets off to a good start, that’s usually how we play. He’s starting to understand that, athletically, there aren’t many people who can matchup well with him.”
Emery scored the first goal of the game a minute in, which fueled a 5-1 St. Ignatius (10-2) start.
“He gets the guys going,” Packard said. “They look to him, so when he delivers, the team feeds off of that.”
St. Ignatius sophomore attackman J.W. McGovern also contributed three goals and two assists.
Brophy (9-1) responded by a 4-1 run that cut the lead to 6-5, but the Wildcats pulled away again to carry a 9-6 lead into the half. The Wildcats also went on a 4-0 run to start the second half, but Brophy responded admirably, rallying to cut into the large deficit.
“The difference in the game was the first nine minutes in the third quarter. That was a big surge for them,” said Brophy Head Coach Beau Pich. “We were on the bus a little bit in the first quarter, but we fought back. They’re a great team and if you make a mistake, they make you pay.”
Brophy, the 2007 and 2008 Arizona State Champions, came in to the game undefeated this season with an average margin of victory of nine goals. Even with the early success, the Mustangs had not faced a team with the talent level of St. Ignatius.
“Just to have the ability to be able to play at this level is great exposure for our guys,” said Pich. “The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but what we learned from this game just isn’t comparable in our state.”
St. Ignatius largely dominated possession for most of the game, but sloppy play late, resulting in 11 turnovers, allowed Brophy to stay close.
“We want everyone to play, and you see what happens when guys that don’t have a ton of game experience get in there, it’s faster than they realize and they make some silly decisions,” Packard said. “The effort is what we really care about and that was there.”
Brophy was led offensively by senior attackman Adam Fishman who had two goals and three assists.
“He’s a heck of a player and one of the leaders on our team,” Pich said of Fishman. “He knows the game, he’s quick and has a great shot.”
The Wildcats will face a familiar foe in West Catholic rival Bellarmine of San Jose in the tournament final today at St. Ignatius. Both teams went 2-0 in their respective tournament pools. St. Ignatius edged the Bells 12-11 in their first meeting in WCAL play on March 19.
“The boys are pretty excited,” Packard said. “We’re not going to spot them a seven goal lead like we did last time. They tattooed us in the first half of [our first game], so we’re looking to have a better start.”
Updated: St. Ignatius will not play Bellarmine today and there will not be a championship game in the Jerry Langkammerer Invitational. The teams decided that, because they will play again in the WCAL regular season and in the WCAL playoffs, they would not play today. Instead, Bellarmine will play Lincoln (Portland, Oreg.) and St. Ignatius will play Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.).