By Jeremy Balan
Unlike nearly every other sport, when a ball goes out of bounds in lacrosse, it doesn’t always go to the team that didn’t touch last.
On a shot, possession goes to the team that has the player closest to the ball as it goes out of play, which can create a mad dash toward the ball behind the net.
It was just that play that sparked a 10-9 overtime win for visiting Torrey Pines High School of San Diego against St. Ignatius on Friday, in a clash of two of the best teams in California.
With 48 seconds remaining in overtime, St. Ignatius’ Matt Emery rifled a shot wide of the net. Torrey Pines midfielder Cobi Emery beat two St. Ignatius attackers to the ball, to give the Falcons possession and set the stage for a dramatic finish.
Just moments later, reserve midfielder Bennett Shafer, who was in the starting lineup due to an injury, circled behind the St. Ignatius net, and buried a bounce shot to give Torrey Pines (9-3) the win.
“That was our fifth overtime game this year, and I should be used to it, but I’m not,” said Torrey Pines head coach Jono Zissi. “Bennett is our fifth [midfielder], and we had some guys injured, so he started today. That’s the beauty of sports. With the game on the line, he surprised some people.”
As the Falcons stormed the field, the mood on the St. Ignatius sideline was somber.
“It’s a tough one,” said St. Ignatius head coach Chris Packard. “They play hard and have athletes, and it was such a good game, we’re just not feeling good right now.”
The loss certainly stung for the Wildcats (13-3), but the game more than lived up to its billing.
Early on it appeared St. Ignatius, which had recently been named the state’s top team by ESPNRISE.com, would be on their way to a rout. The Wildcats’ attack jumped out quickly in the first quarter and they took a 4-0 lead.
“The beauty and the trouble with lacrosse is that you can go on runs,” Packard said. “In the first quarter, that’s as good as we’ve looked.”
But the Falcons flipped the script in the second quarter, scoring five unanswered goals to take a 5-4 lead into the halftime break. As Torrey Pines surged, the St. Ignatius attack fell out of sync, with only one shot on goal and ten turnovers in the second frame.
“They won every face off [in the second quarter], so they had control of the ball a lot,” Packard said. “Then they started making plays, and got a little momentum, which pushed our guys back on their heels. I don’t think we played a complete game, but they’re good.”
Torrey Pines would keep that lead until the fourth quarter, when St. Ignatius’ Jack Bodine scored his fifth goal with 2:04 remaining to knot the game up at 8-8.
The Falcons responded with 36 seconds remaining, taking the lead back on a goal from Zach Zien, but the Wildcats answered again, this time on a goal from J.W. McGovern with four seconds remaining, to send the game into overtime.
“It was tough [heading into overtime], because the morale completely shifted,” Zissi said. “I was a little worried. I’m not going to lie.”
Bodine led all scorers with five goals, but it was Cornell-bound Torrey Pines midfielder Sean Doyle that may have had the greatest impact.
Doyle, a shifty and speedy junior attackman, was a thorn in the side of the St. Ignatius defense throughout, scoring two goals in the second-quarter run to go along with a game-high four assists.
“Every team knows about Sean and they key on him, sending two or three guys on him,” Zissi said. “He handles it well. He’s the man.”
SI: 10:49 – J.W. McGovern
SI: 8:40 – Jack Bodine, assist Matt Emery
SI: 4:39 – Bodine, assist Bobby Gray
SI: 2:58 – Emery
TP: 10:59 – Cobi Emery
TP: 9:36 – Kevin Hurt, assist Sean Doyle
TP: 9:08 – Doyle
TP: 6:08 – Chendo Aguillar, assist Hurt
TP: 0:03 – Doyle
TP: 6:30 – Hurt, assist Doyle
SI: 5:10 – Gray
TP: 3:11 – Andrew Perkins, assist Doyle
SI: 1:33 – Bodine
TP: 10:25 – Bennett Shafer, assist Doyle
SI: 7:52 – Bodine
SI: 2:05 – Bodine, assist McGovern
TP: 0:36 – Zach Zien, assist John Wilson
SI: 0:04 – McGovern, assist Emery
TP: 0:20 – Shafer