By Jeremy Balan
OJAI – The final two minutes of the St. Ignatius boys lacrosse team’s game against Torrey Pines of San Diego were a microcosm for the entire fourth quarter.
Trailing by a goal, the Wildcats had possession for the final 1:51, but couldn’t get a shot on net, sealing a 10-9 Torrey Pines win on Saturday at Thacher School.
St. Ignatius (18-1) led 9-7 early in the fourth, but was held scoreless by the Torrey Pines defense in the final 10 minutes, allowing the Falcons (12-3) to score three unanswered goals, with the game-winner coming from Andrew Perkins with 5:52 remaining. Sophomore Joe Lang led the Wildcats with three goals and Spencer Evans added two, but neither scored in the fourth quarter.
“They forced us out of our normal offensive set, so we didn’t get the looks we wanted,” said St. Ignatius assistant coach Scott Brittain. “We had some good goals off transition, but was a warm day today and it was hard to run forever.”
The loss ends what would have been an undefeated season for the Wildcats, which multiple media outlets ranked as the top team in California and one of the best entire West.
“It’s tough to swallow. Obviously, our boys wanted to win out. It’s tough for everyone,” Brittain said. “It’s going to be hard to tell the kids this isn’t going to mean everything. They have a goal to go undefeated and if they don’t do that, they feel it’s a letdown. It’s our job to let them know that we’re so proud of them this season.”
The Wildcats thrived on fast breaks and in transition, but struggled throughout to penetrate the Falcons’ defense in their set offense and when a scoring opportunities did come, Torrey Pines sophomore goalkeeper Bryce Cady was often there to stop them. Cady had 12 saves, including eight in the second half.
“That last moment was the longest minute and a half of my life,” said Torrey Pines head coach Jono Zissi. “We were trying to jam the [midfielders] down the middle and trap them. They’re all so talented, you have to do something to throw them off.”
Torrey Pines has taken the last two meetings between the two state powers in consecutive years, but they have only played each other twice in eight seasons. The matchup is undoubtedly a budding rivalry and as the Falcons ran on the field, the Wildcats stood watching in shock.
“They’ve gotten the last two on us in one goal games and it stings,” Brittain said.
SI: 8:13 – Joe Lang
SI: 5:13 – JW McGovern
SI: 4:57 – Will McKee
TP: 4:09 – Zach Zien
TP: 1:57 – Corey Black
TP: 1:37 – Sean Doyle, assist Owen Weselak
TP: 0:19 – Lucas Gradinger, assist Zien
TP: 11:21 – Black
SI: 10:06 – Lang
SI: 9:12 – Spencer Evans
TP: 5:02 – Doyle, assist Grandinger
SI: 0:20 – Lang, assist Chad Cohan
SI: 6:29 – Peter Doyle
SI: 3:39 – Evans
TP: 0:42 – Doyle, assist Dustin Skousen
SI: 10:04 – Cohan, assist Evans
TP: 7:56 – Tyler Yamamoto
TP: 6:29 – Doyle, assist Andrew Perkins
TP: 5:52 – Perkins, assist Zien