By Jeremy Balan
St. Ignatius battled back from an early deficit against visiting East Bay rival De La Salle of Concord in a 12-7 win on Monday.
De La Salle (9-5, 6-2), a consistent power in the East Bay, jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but St. Ignatius (13-2, 5-0) held the Spartans scoreless for nearly 17 minutes and the entirety of the second quarter to build an 8-3 halftime lead.
“We rarely get to [scout] other teams, but we got to see them on Friday night [against San Ramon Valley],” said St. Ignatius Head Coach Chris Packard. “We sort of knew what they were going to do, which was really helpful for our guys. We had a good idea what they were doing, anticipated and played really well.”
De La Salle struggled to penetrate the Wildcats’ defense and turned the ball over 26 times.
“They outplayed us from the get-go,” said De La Salle Head Coach Bob O’Meara. “They did a lot of good things and rode us really hard. We had trouble clearing the ball and gave up a bunch of goals on that. I think that took a lot of the wind out of our sails.”
The St. Ignatius attack was balanced and opportunistic, as six Wildcats finished with two goals (Jack Bodine, Johno Gibbons, J.W. McGovern, Dax Coham, Rob Emery and Bobby Gray).
“We had some nice individual efforts,” Packard said. “De La Salle does a good job of pressuring out, which makes it difficult to get your offense going, so you have to take the ball and do it yourself.”
St. Ignatius’ only loss in Northern California came to San Ramon Valley of Danville on March 17, while De La Salle beat the Wolves (11-2) on Friday. Packard said the players used that fact for extra motivation.
“They were looking forward to this game, especially because they beat San Ramon [Valley],” Packard said. “We wanted to get [a win] and remind the East Bay that we’re still out here.”
St. Ignatius was missing starting senior goaltender Keegan Finn due to a leg injury, but got an emotional bump from senior backup Willy Arbuckle, who had seven saves. The Wildcats’ bench erupted every time Arbuckle denied a De La Salle scoring opportunity.
“We say that we’re 30 strong and when one guy goes down we just fill him in with another guy,” Packard said. “[Arbuckle is] our backup goalie, but in his varsity career, he’s undefeated when he starts. It’s awesome when the team respects the guys who work hard and don’t always get the playing time, because they know how hard we all work together.”
De La Salle also started a backup goaltender in junior Vincent Coric, who had a standout performance with 10 saves.
“He played really well and we were really happy with him,” O’Meara said of Coric. “He stepped in and he did great.”
After a brief break from West Catholic Athletic League play, St. Ignatius enters the stretch run of its league schedule at St. Francis of Mountain View on Wednesday and hosting Bellarmine of San Jose on Friday.
11:46 – DLS – Gaetano DeMattie
10:29 – DLS – Nick Colletti, Garrett Garcia assist.
8:10 – SI – Rob Emery
6:07 – SI – J.W. McGovern
4:52 – DLS – Kaid Collins
0:21 – SI – Jack Bodine
10:27 – SI – Bobby Gray
7:20 – SI – Gray
4:18 – SI – Johno Gibbons
3:36 – SI -Nick Fotsch
1:03 – SI – Bodine, assist McGovern
11:32 – DLS – Joe Carmassi, assist Colletti
11:02 – SI – Dax Cohan
5:44 – DLS – Chris Pereira, assist Jordan Felix
3:27 – SI – Cohan, assist Gibbons
2:24 – DLS -Carmassi, assist Felix
0:42 – SI – McGovern, assist Giancarlo Sangiacomo
8:28 – SI – Emery
4:15 – DLS – Pereira