No. 5 St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, well-coached though on Saturday somewhat injury-riddled, gave nationally ranked Foothill High School (No. 1 in the coaches poll) a taste of exactly how a difficult schedule the Knights will play out this year.
The Knights, taking a beating in a scoreless second quarter, overcame sloppiness and numerous penalties to wear out a skilled St. Margaret’s team, 10-6, at Foothill.
All-American attack Nate Marano (Denver), quiet if efficient for most of the game, ended thoughts of an upset with a late goal and then a perfect pass to freshman Ellis Geis, who scored his first goal of the season on the day before he turns age 15. The Geis goal gave Foothill the final score in the waning minutes.
Foothill’s defense found itself man-down seven times; goalie Ryan Blank (St. John’s) helped prevent disaster with 10 saves and the Knights controlled most of the middle on transitions.
Defensive middie Chris Reem, who excels at coast-to-coast play, got Foothill going in the opening minutes of the third quarter, sprinting upfield past two defenders to begin a two-pass transition to middie Julien Marchese (2 goals), who tied the game, 4-4.
St. Margaret’s, which started slowly with a series of turnovers but turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 halftime lead, tied the game one last time, 6-6, early in the fourth quarter on a man-up goal by Kevin Cox (2 goals and 2 assists). But Foothill’s depth played out. Attack-middie Kevin Kodzis (Holy Cross), who had a team-high 3 goals and added an assist, followed with a stutter-step and shot that froze his defender and middie Matt Harris made it 8-6 with a tight shot from the left side. His second goal of the season, a blazing shot from 10 feet out, followed a gutty man-down effort by the Knights.
Foothill also counted on the brother combination of junior long-pole Kosta Dalis and his sophomore brother, George, on man-downs. George had a team-high 3 caused turnovers. Defenders Spencer Davis and Matt Marano had 4 ground balls each. St. Margaret’s scored twice on man-up.
St. Margaret’s, 2-1, got 2 goals and 2 assists from Patrick Fallon and a goal each from Jason Welling and Eric Suh. Goalie Payton Fales continued his impressive play with 19 saves, including a highlight kick save late in the third quarter with two Knights wide open on his doorstep.
Foothill, 3-0, hosts football powerhouse De La Salle next Friday. The Knights travel to Boston for three games next month over spring break.
The 2-1 Tartans travel to Great Oak on Wednesday to take on the 2-0 Wolfpack.