Sophomore defenseman Avery Beck knocked down a pass in the Santa Margarita defending zone in the first overtime that set off a mad scramble for the groundball. Sophomore middie Trevor Cook emerged from the scrum with the gb and took off up the sideline towards the JSerra goal 80 yards away. As he crossed mid-field, Cook found another gear, sped past the JSerra d-middies coming out of the box, and passed off to Andrew Luher at X. Taking advantage of the unsettled situation, Luher found fellow senior Conor Ebner cutting toward the cage, who finished the play by scoring his fourth goal of the game to give Santa Margarita an 8-7 victory over JSerra in a thrilling game.
Santa Margarita coach Brad Reppert was pleased with his team’s effort and the seniors in particular saying “I was impressed with the way my team has rebounded from two difficult losses to Servite and Foothill. JSerra is a very good team and I think we proved to ourselves tonight that we can compete with the best teams in Orange County. Our seniors have really stepped up to lead the team through these challenges.”
Cook got the Eagles off to an early lead when he collected a pass from Brian Gould at 8:43 of the first period and ripped one into the back of the cage. JSerra did not wait long to even things up as Logan Olmstead scored on an EMO with an assist from Mitch Kingsley. The Eagles, with their long poles pitching in offense, scored the next two goals, to make it 3-1 at the end of the first quarter. LSM Ravi Dhouni earned credit for a groundball, a clear, and an assist on Ebner’s first goal to make it 2-1. Senior defenseman Connor Mullarkey scored the third Santa Margarita goal unassisted.
Brendan Lynch scored an unassisted goal midway through the second quarter to bring the Lions back to within one. Cook put the Eagles back up by two on a nice dodge from up top. Luher and Ebner then connected for the first time of the evening to extend the Santa Margarita lead to three. Freshman Yuta Murata scored as time expired on an EMO with 27 seconds left in the half to make the score 5-3 at halftime.
The third quarter was a scoreless defensive battle that proved to be the calm before the fourth quarter storm. Freshman James Yanes started the fourth quarter scoring with an assist from Kingsley (his second assist of the night), to close the SM lead to 5-4. Hayden Ruiz assisted on a goal from Luher in a 6 on 4 situation to put the Eagles back up by two. Then Lynch scored another unassisted goal, this time on a sweet left handed shot, to make it 6-5.
The Eagles seemed to have the game in hand when Ebner scored his third goal of the game with an assist from Ruiz. However, the Lions had other ideas and tied the game at 7-7 on unassisted goals from Olmstead and Cole Schleppy. The final four minutes of regulation were scoreless to set up the heroics from Beck, Cook, Luher, and Ebner.
As has been their MO all season long, goalie Ronnie Pisano and his defense put together an other solid effort. Mullarkey (5 takeaways), junior Garrett Parsons (3 takeaways), and Ravi Dhouni (2 takeaways) led the way. Jake Grubert was impressive in his debut at short stick d-mid.
The Eagles improved to 9-6 on the seasons and 4-3 in the Trinity League. The Lions fell to 10-8 on the season and 6-2 in the Trinity League. Santa Margarita plays Saint Margaret’s at home for Senior Night on Friday. If the Eagles win, JSerra will win the Trinity League title outright. Otherwise, the Lions and Tartans will share the honors.