Sam Romano got the Eagles started in a huge SPC rivalry.
Sophomore midfielder Sam Romano tallied two goals and two assists to help lead the ESD Eagles to a 9-7 victory over their SPC rival, the St. Marks Lions, Friday evening in a highly anticipated Texas High School Lacrosse League North District contest. More importantly, this was the first time ESD has defeated their SPC rivals in the last 8 tries and the first time since 2008.
Also contributing on the offensive end for ESD, senior midfielder Barrett Anigian tallied two goals with two tremendous shots, while crafty crease finisher Jack Beare also added two goals of his own. Junior attackman Richie Loftus drew the Bear Goldstein matchup but was still able to carry with pressure and distribute two assists.
Every time ESD and St. Marks take to the field, spirited competition is guaranteed. Friday night was no exception. After watching the league for 8 years now, the rivalry between St. Marks and ESD is second to none. In lacrosse, these two programs have sat atop the SPC hierarchy for sometime. The St. Marks Lions have undoubtedly gotten the best of ESD over the past several years, but ESD put an end to St. Mark’s unbelievable streak in spirited fashion at Norma and Lamar Hunt Family Stadium.
For St. Marks, the offensive effort was led by attackmen Andrew Graffy (senior) and Jack Fojtasek (sophomore) as both tallied two goals and one assist. Junior Danny McNamara was also productive scoring twice. Finally, senior captain midfielders also got into the action - Danny Koudelka had two assists and Evan Chang Tung scored once.
Jack Beare with one of the tastier finishes we've seen in some time.
Jack Fojtasek responded early for St. Marks.
Danny McNamara was impressive as well for the Lions.
The game was heavily contested from the onset as ESD led 2-1 at the end of the 1st, the game was squared at 4 at the half, and then, heading into the 4th, ESD was up 6-4.
To round out the scoring for ESD, junior long stick middie Ben Kelly contributed one goal and one assist, while midfielders Blake Moore and Joseph Rooney each scored once as well.
Friday night was our first opportunity to watch St. Marks in 2013, so the matchup we felt would be especially intriguing was that of the sturdy, Lions defensive unit against the potent Eagles O. Sam Romano got the game started with two righty alley dodges that resulted in an immediate 2-0 advantage for ESD. Like clockwork, the Eagles O was humming, but then St. Marks settled in. St. Marks has 5 seniors on the defensive side of the field; it will take a confident effort by any opponent to best the Lions. ESD’s offense was contained a bit in the 1st half as the game was knotted at 4s going into the half. We have seen ESD score in bunches all year, though. It wasn't a matter of if, but when for the Eagles.
While St. Marks, defensively, is very strong, the offense is rounding into form. Losing several strong offensive seniors in Will Perkins and Griffin Cassagne to matriculation left a vacuum for offensive productivity. Friday, it was sophomore attackman Jack Fojtasek who got St. Marks going responding with two finishes from distance to match Romano’s initial offensive output. Fojtasek is a tremendous competitor; he demonstrated that Friday evening. After his two early goals, Fojtasek immediately drew Foster Huggins. Following Fojtasek’s emotional lead, a surprising contributor stepped up for St. Marks in Danny McNamara. McNamara, a junior midfielder, added two timely goals to even out the contest going into the half. While St. Marks was definitely in the game, to compete at their highest level, they will need seniors Graffy, Koudelka, and Chang Tung to be more dominant early on in contests. The seniors all contributed but mostly in the fourth quarter when ESD had already distanced themselves. The trio of senior captains are skilled and athletic but must have a greater sense of urgency when competing against the best the THSLL has to offer.
Blake Moore getting to the rack.
It's a celebration.
Definitely a physical contest.
Freshman Charlie Sikes. 14 saves.
The real story of the evening ended up being the defense for ESD as 2 freshmen got the start. In goal, Charlie Sikes recorded 14 saves (many of them timely) including 1 during a 3 man down disadvantage. Also getting the start down low was freshman David Kerrigan. Kerrigan stepped in for an injured Gab Goncalves, and both fit into the Eagle’s winning defensive equation seamlessly. Giving up only 4 goals in the 1st half and 2 late in the half, ESD’s defensive unit was stifling. Furthermore, ESD’s man down killed several penalties to preserve a very important win for the #2 team in the Great State.
Heading into the 2nd half of the season, things are really heating up. This week, Jesuit takes on St. Marks, while ESD heads on over to Highland Park. Each remaining week has colossal contests! We willl have them all for you right here on StickStarLacrosse.com. Please follow us on Twitter @StickStarLax, @StickStarATX, and @StickStarSwag for timely updates. Like us on Facebook, and now we’ve even got a StickStarLax instagram account. We’re dominating the social media and the Statewide Coverage. We’ll have fresh content, so, please, stay tuned!