Club Pacific finally got the tournament championship they have looking for since it busted out onto the club scene summer 2018. Club Pacific crew beat Vegas Starz in the SB Showdown championship game 5-4 to win the program’s first tournament. The championship game victory avenged a loss to the Starz earlier in this year’s tournament as well as the 2018 championship game.
Championship games haven’t always been kind to Coach Kevin Donovan and Club Pacific. In their first nine tournaments as a club, CP finished in second place six times and in the top five eight times ( including Denver Shootout & Sandstorm).
“It’s not always easy to win the championship, but we are very proud of all our success in western region in such a short period of time,” Donovan said. “It’s also not easy to always make championship games or finish top five in almost all our tournaments, but it’s nice to finally get the championship we all have been working towards as a family.”
Coach Donovan’s (also head coach Palisades Charter & L.I. Sting National) Club Pacific is predominantly made of players from Palisades, Chaminade and Westlake High school but also includes players from surrounding areas – Oak Park, Crespi, Santa Monica, Hamilton, Mira Costa, Notre Dame and several others.
The team’s success in the SB Showdown was driven by its defensive dominance. Led by Goalie Evan Milner ’21 (Santa Monica) and Anthony Steel ‘20 ( Chaminade) CP only gave up 18 goals in five games and never allowed more than five goals in a game. Chaminade’s Carson Holtke ’20, Jack Cloutier ‘20 (Sting), Ryan Cornlius ’20 (Sting) and Dylan Freshman ‘22 (Sting) also played key roles throughout the weekend.
“ Vegas was a very aggressive and chippy team, so our defense had to be physical and play smart,” said Cloutier after the championship game. “We really jelled as a team, but it helps when we play together so much at Chaminade and club with Coach Donovan.”
On the offensive side, Grant Wilson ’21 (Palisades / Sting), who impressed with his play on plays on both ends of the field, finished the weekend eight points (3g, 5a).
“After being an original (Club Pacific) member as a rising sophomore and finishing second place so many times, it was a long time coming and I couldn’t be more proud to play with this group,” Wilson said. “I love our players and culture at Club Pacific, excited for the future and to keep building this family.”
The attack line led by Nino Leon ‘20 (Chaminade / Sting) & Nico Rabushska ‘20 ( Chaminade combined for 12 pts and controlled possessions to capitalize on key turnovers caused by their tenacious defense. A group of young guns in the class of 2022 also scored and contributed when called upon – Henry Roth ( Winward), Evan Garcholla ( Palisades) Henry Hallowell ( Palisades), Diego Sosa (Palisades), and Nicolas Sidoti (Winward).
Faceoff middie Jacob Martin ‘20 (Westlake / Sting) took advantage of great wing play from LSMs Connor Hobin ‘20 ( Palisades) and Taylor Evans ‘21 (Crespi) to go 8 for 10 against Vegas Starz’s Lake Baker (committed to Penn State). Martin’s ability to keep getting his team possession was a key to the championship game victory.
“Club Pacific is my baby and the players are my family, said Donovan. “All these families took a leap faith joining a new program we created and I couldn’t be happier for them. I wish we could have done it with our 2018 -19 alumni group who were the first to join but it was really amazing, emotional, to receive so many texts, calls and emails from past players.”
Club Pacific will look to continue its championship run this weekend at the Legends Battle at the Ballon and continue to prepare for Adrenaline OC Fall Brawl, 3d Oceanside Hustle and Legends National Cup to close out the Fall / Winter 2019 season.