As the Coppell Boys Varsity Lacrosse team prepared for their district-opener last night against the top-ranked Jesuit Rangers, there were lots of things that pointed to a really exciting contest. The weather was beautiful, and the stands were full of fans from both programs, so the atmosphere was great.
Jesuit entered the game with a perfect 7-0 record, ranked #1 in Texas by one state poll, and ranked as the #7 team in the Southeast United States by Inside Lacrosse Magazine. On the other side, Coppell came into the game riding a 4-game winning streak, ranked #8 in the state, with an offense averaging almost 12 goals per game and a starting defensive unit allowing only 4.7 goals per game. Add to the mix that Coppell had the confidence of having defeated Jesuit in the pre-season Jesuit Invitational tournament in January, and this game had the makings of a really competitive match up, and that is exactly how it went.
The game started off with both teams battling hard, and both offenses working through their progressions, waiting for a chance to take advantage of any small mistake by the opposing defenses, but neither team budged. It would be a close game throughout that would see the game tied or the lead change hands a total of 11 times.
Coppell finally dented the scoreboard when Senior middie Brandon Point dodged his way to near the crease for an unassisted goal. Jesuit would have to lean heavily on their primary three midfielders (all are committed to play Division 1 lacrosse in college) throughout the game, and it was Senior middie Matthew Priddy who opened the scoring for the Rangers with 2:34 remaining in the first quarter. Providence commit and Junior middie Billy Metz (2 goals in the game) followed with an unassisted goal of his own with just 2 seconds left in the quarter to give Jesuit their first lead of the game heading into the first break.
Jesuit then turned to Senior middie Jacob Jackson (Michigan commit, 3 goals in the game) for all of their scoring in the quarter, but it was the Cowboy offense which really got heated up in the 2nd quarter, notching 4 goals in the frame. Senior Walker Cain scored first to tie the game at 2-2, and it was Sophomore Tyler Wendel who found the net a few minutes later on a feed from Sophomore Gavin Osteen, which answered Jesuit’s first goal of the quarter and tied things again at 3-3. After Jesuit took the lead at 4-3, Osteen scored the first of his three goals of the game, this time on a feed from Brandon Point, to tie things at 4-4. Osteen then scored an unassisted goal with just 0:32 remaining in the half to give Coppell a 5-4 lead heading into halftime.
Both teams lost a bit of their offensive flow in the 3rd quarter, as both defensive units stepped up their play and limited the scoring to a single goal by Jesuit, resulting in a 5-5 tie score entering the final quarter. Junior goalie Hayden MacArthur had a strong game for Coppell, posting double digit saves and an over 60% save percentage. Sophomore Colton Delk drew the assignment of covering Jesuit’s top-scoring attackman and was able to hold him scoreless on the game, while Delk also grabbed 2 groundballs and forced 1 turnover. Sophomore Canon Peters led the Coppell unit with 2 ground balls and 3 forced turnovers in the game.
Jesuit continued to dominate time of possession into the 4th quarter, allowing them to score the next two goals and open up a 7-5 lead with just 6:49 remaining in the game. The Cowboys would answer back quickly on a strong dodge and feed from Junior middie Max Lamendola, who found Osteen (3 goals, 1 assist in the game) near the crease for a rocket shot that found the back of the net and drew Coppell back to within a single goal with 5:45 left to play.
The game intensified as every possession became critical at this point. Coppell was able to get a save and a possession with just over 1 minute remaining, but a loose ball scramble ended with Jesuit grabbing possession and eventually running the final minute out to get away with the narrow 7-6 win.
In a game where both teams played at such a high level, it was hard to see either team come away with a loss, but the game certainly showed that both of these teams are capable of making runs into the post season and could potentially meet up again. Thanks to all the fans, students, and parents that were in attendance to help make it such an exciting game.
The Cowboys Varsity has a bit of a break as their next scheduled game is not until March 30, when both Varsity and Junior Varsity head to Austin for the weekend to take on Westlake and Vandergrift. Junior Varsity will play at home next Tuesday against Denton, so please come out and support the team.
Photo credits Kurt Liese