Gonzaga held a big lead and was looking to cement the WCAC lacrosse championship late in Wednesday’s title game. The Eagles put the ball in senior midfield Connor Reed’s stick to do the honors. The senior took the ball into the offensive zone and was shoved to the ground by a DeMatha player.
It was only a minor inconvenience.
Reed sprung to his feet and drove the ball to goal to slam the door on DeMatha. “I’m used to that—the double-teaming. I just wanted to end my career with a goal, “ Reed said.
The Eagles went on to win their third straight league championship to the tune of 10-3 at Ludwig Field on the campus of the University of Maryland College Park.
“It was the biggest game of the season—even though we played Prep and Landon—without a championship it’s nothing,” Reed said. “I’m glad we could pull it out. It feels great. I don’t know how to describe it. It was awesome.”
The Eagles wasted no time jumping on the Stags as junior attacker Alex Corboy when to goal to score the fist goal of the game and set the tone of the contest. The junior led the offensive attack with four goals and one assist.
Then junior midfielder Max Planning tickled the cage twine with another goal and the Eagles offense was off to the races.
While Gonzaga’s offense built a formidable lead, its defense remained stout as it had all season. The Eagles befuddled the Stags lineup; except for DeMatha senior attacker Matthew Justice scored all three of the squad’s goals.
But it wasn’t enough, the Eagles allowed just 17 shots, while taking over 30 as a team. Junior goalie Timmy Farrell anchored the unit with seven saves.
“The defense has been the backbone of our team all season, “ said junior defender Jack Slater. “We came into this game knowing this was going to be our best showing. [We wanted] to hold that No.5 spot in the USA. “
Eagles head coach Casey O’Neill credited and thanked his large senior class for helping him build to program into a perennial contender.
“I’m really happy for the seniors,” O’Neill said. “It’s my fifth year and they made the conscious decision to come to Gonzaga when I had a year under my belt. It’s a great feeling. We worked really, really hard for this.”
For the players, it was an unforgettable season, which included a historic win over Georgetown Prep and other IAC foes to go along with an undefeated run through the WCAC.
“It really is the best time of our lives,” Slater said. “We’re going to remember it forever.”