A five-goal first quarter helped propel sixth-ranked Agoura to a 12-6 win over rival No. 8 Oak Park on Thursday in the first championship game of the Coastal Canyon League at Agoura high school.
The red-hot Chargers (13-5, 5-0) have won eight in a row since losing to No. 2 Loyola on March 28, and the team is brimming with confidence and the belief that it deserves a high seed when playoff brackets are selected Sunday.
“We are a top-five team, and I think that four, five and six, are very close,” Chargers coach Sean Lindsay said. “When we show up and play, I think we can play with anybody in this LA region. We’ve just got to show up and play and be prepared and play with confidence, but I definitely believe we’re a top-five team, for sure.”
Senior captain and goalie Zach Tripp had nine saves in the win, six of which came in the first quarter and gave the Chargers’ offense plenty of opportunities.
“[Oak Park] has some shooting threats up top and down at the attack,” Tripp said. “They’re well coached and they get their looks, and their looks on the crease even, too. They can bury their shots all over the field. Tarik [Ergin] has got a good scheme in for them, and they’re a tough team no matter when they show up.”
This translated nicely to Agoura’s offensive attack, which scored two early goals off the sticks of Douglas McCarthy (3g, 2a) and Gage Garrison (2g, 2a). After an Eagles response from Sam Peters (1g, 1a) with six minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Chargers went on a 3-0 run to take a 5-1 lead.
Oak Park (9-6, 3-2) chipped away at the Agoura lead in the second quarter, getting goals from Benen Powers (1g) and Marcus Jasso (3g) to pull within 5-3. Agoura’s Matt Sganga (2g) scored to make it 6-3, but the Eagles’ Tyler Bradbury (1g) scored with two minutes left to make it 6-4 at the half.
“We knew we were going to get [Oak Park’s] best game,” Lindsay said. “Them coming back and us having to maintain our composure to the next play was big for us moving forward.”
The second half was more of the same for the Chargers, who outscored the Eagles 3-1 in each of the third and fourth quarters. While Oak Park’s defense put the clamps on Garrison and McCarthy in the second half, Jake East (3g) came up huge down the stretch, scoring two of his three goals in the final quarter.
“When you play a zone team, the game is going to be slower, and you’re not going to be able to score as much against a zone defense,” Lindsay said. “We just needed to be patient offensively and know what our looks are in our zone offense. I thought that we left a lot of lay-ups on the table, that was the only thing that kind of bothered me … but we got a lot of guys on offense.”
It was Agoura’s second win over Oak Park this season, following the Kanan Cup victory on April 11, and the Chargers soaked in the feeling of beating their neighborhood rival twice and winning their second championship in a row. Agoura won the Marmonte League last spring.
“It does feel good,” Tripp said. “We wanted to dominate this league as soon as we were switched in (from the Marmounte League). We wanted to come out and dominate the league, and I think we did our job. Sean prepared us well for this, and Tarik prepared Oak Park really well for this too. They’re a great team, so getting a few wins over them feels great.”
While Agoura will wait for its playoff position and opponent to be announced Sunday, Oak Park will play host to third-ranked Harvard Westlake on Saturday (noon) in both teams’ final regular season game.