By Jeremy Balan
For a first-year varsity program, the Sacred Heart Cathedral boys lacrosse team has had its fair share of heartbreaking losses.
The Irish fell 11-10 in overtime to St. Francis of Mountain View in West Catholic Athletic League play on Wednesday at Crocker Amazon Playground. It is Sacred Heart’s third overtime loss of the season.
St. Francis senior midfielder Ryan Claus scored the game-winner with just 1:06 remaining in the overtime period, driving through a double team on the left wing with the Lancers shorthanded due to a deflating unsportsmanlike penalty.
The Irish (5-11, 1-7) trailed 8-3 early in the third quarter and 10-7 late in the fourth, but scored three unanswered goals in the final 2:28 to force overtime and the final Sacred Heart goal came on a shorthanded opportunity of their own.
With standout junior attackman Milo Gates serving a slashing penalty, fellow junior Colin Franceschini worked his way behind the net and found midfielder Jacob Cuffe unattended in front on a backdoor cut.
Cuffe took the pass and quickly buried the ball low in the net with 10 seconds remaining to tie the game at 10-10.
Even though the Irish were resilient late, Sacred Heart head coach Richard Cooke was not satisfied with the overall effort of his team, especially early in the game, when the Irish offense struggled to penetrate against the St. Francis defense. The Irish also compounded offensive struggles with 31 turnovers, including nine in the fourth quarter.
“It should have never gone to overtime, I’ll be honest with you,” Cooke said. “The last time we played them, we had an easy time and today we came out flat and didn’t give much of an effort.”
Gates, who has a team-high 97 points on the season in just 16 games, scored a game-high four goals and had three assists. He either assisted or scored the first six Irish goals, often worked his way through multiple St. Francis defenders to score and drew double teams throughout.
“Every single game he carries our team,” Cooke said. “It’s pretty much his team and he puts them on his back.”
The supporting Irish cast made key plays late, but seemed content to pass the ball around the perimeter at times and Sacred Heart didn’t score until the 3:06 mark of the first quarter.
“They were waiting for [Gates] to do something,” Cooke said. “There could have been more out of us. There’s so much potential on this team, they just don’t know it yet.”
St. Francis (7-12, 2-7) is only in its third year of varsity competition, but the Irish got their first WCAL win in school history with a win over the Lancers in March.
“We’re two growing programs that are evenly matched and every game is going to come down to a literal fight,” said St. Francis head coach Greg Derus. “They fought and beat us at our place by a goal, and the same thing happened today.”
SF: 4:55 – Everett Moiseff
SHC: 3:06 – Ryan Golembiewski, assist Milo Gates
SF: 1:51 – Arthur Morgan, assist Samuel Carver
SF: 8:36 – Taylor Chadwick
SF: 5:00 – Alex Frazier, assist Carver
SF: 3:10 – Sean Elmurib, assist Jake Kidwell
SHC: 2:31 – Gates
SHC: 1:58 – Gates
SF: 9:16 – Morgan, assist William DeWitt
SF: 8:59 – Elmurib, assist Kidwell
SHC: 6:50 – Golembiewski, assist Gates
SHC: 4:50 – Peter Van Zandt, assist Gates
SHC: 2:35 – Gates
SHC: 5:32 – Golembiewski
SF: 4:07 – Matthew Meissner
SF: 3:17 – Meissner
SHC: 2:28 – Golembiewski
SHC: 2:07 – Gates
SHC: 0:10 – Jacob Cuffe, assist Colin Franceschini
SF: 1:06 – Ryan Klaus