Wednesday, April 24, 2013

High School: St. Ignatius v Chaminade

St. Ignatius 2013
The big game is tomorrow. Two undefeated teams, one from Long Island - the mother of all hotbeds - and the other considered to be young guns from the West. Here are some sobering, but not depressing, facts: NO Western team has EVER defeated a top Long Island team or a top Maryland MIAA A team.

The last time I got my hopes up was in 2011, when Peter Worstell's San Ramon Valley Wolves travelled to Garden City (Coach Worstell's home town) and took on the then #5 ranked Garden City boys. Garden City prevailed, 14-7. Devin Dwyer, Garden City's X Attack, shredded SRV's defense, which was a VERY good Western defense. Devin Dwyer is now a highly rated Freshman at Harvard. His knowledge of the game's angles provided a lesson in Applied Geometry to the Wolves. Moreover, SRV had at least four players, I'd say 5, who were HIGHLY sought after by the top DI teams in the country: one to current #3 UNC, two to current #10 Penn State, and one to current #13 Syracuse.   No one in the West had ever had a stud like Michael Tagliaferri. He was one of four members of the World Champion 2012 US U-19 team who were, when selected, still in High School. The other three U-19 prodigies? All from the East Coast!

Here's the thing: A Western victory is gonna happen sometime. When that occurss, it will shake the Lacrosse world. Heck, it may be that some VERY GOOD East Coast teams will then have to come to visit the West Coast, to take on our boys – on our turf! Right now, we genuflect to the East. We are the ones who have to travel 3,000 miles, sleep in strange beds, forego home cooking, and generally get discomfited by the journey. I think that's worth at least two goals, but NO ONE on Long Island will be thinking of travel-distance adjusted scores. You've gotta be MUCH than an Eastern Power to beat them on their home turf.

Do I hope that SI will prevail against Chaminade? Hell yes! Do I think the odds are with us? No. Reason and hope aren't the best of bedfellows. I've lived in hope before. Still, this is a very good SI team, taking on the #2 team in the country. The Wildcats have their assets. SI has a VERY good coaching staff, a stout, smart, skilled defense, and, perhaps, the best overall offense the West has produced. I believe they can play with – and defeat – the vast majority of Long Island and Maryland teams. Can they beat a stacked Chaminade team with more than twice as many NCAA DI recruits as the Wildcats? The answer will only be known on the field and when the game ends, the Chaminade scoreboard will reveal the final score. Should SI prevail, get a picture of the scoreboard! That image would symbolize – forever – a shift in the tectonic plates of the Lacrosse world.

I will be rooting for the 'Cats – and hoping for the 'Cats – and even praying for the 'Cats to play their best. I refuse to be disappointed if they don't prevail and I will be VERY PROUD OF THEM if they do! If I could tell them one thing, it would be to remember that they are NOT playing for NorCal, they are NOT playing for California, they are NOT playing for the WEST. They ARE playing for their teammates, their coaches and their school. They are 34 strong and they are... RELENTLESS! AMDG, boys.

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