Thursday’s night’s contest between No. 1 Foothill and No. 5 Santa Margarita was the only game of the week that lined up two Top 5 teams. Both teams have been lodged in their respective positions virtually the entire season. Foothill continues to fend off challenges for the top spot from Corona del Mar and St. Margaret’s who both won this week against quality components. Santa Margarita on the other hand has not been able push past J Serra into the No. 4 spot, and a strong showing against the No. 1 team could be the shove that they need. So both teams entered the game with some extra incentive of knowing the game would be watched closely by the voting coaches.
Both team were also facing local competition for the first time since returning home from successful Spring Break Trips. Santa Margarita went 2-0 on a trip to Sacramento. The Knights returned home over the weekend after going 2-1 in the Boston area. Foothill had the longer more arduous trip and it may have showed itself late in the second half. With the Eagles down 9-4 and under a minute left to play in the half, Andrew Kofoed (Notre Dame de Namur) alertly took advantage of some Foothill carelessness, and converted a turnover into one of his two goals with :10 left to narrow the score to 9-5.
Riding the wave of momentum created by Kofoed’s goal, the Eagles held Foothill to only two goals in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the Eagles, their offense could not take advantage, and attack/midfield Kevin Kodzis (Holy Cross), who had a game-high four goals while adding two assists, scored on a fastbreak off a perfect pass from attack Drew Boyd (one goal, three assists) to pad th eKnights’ lead to 11-6 with :33 left in the period.
Santa Margarita, finding ways to beat the defense inside, made the game close by scoring the first two goals of the fourth quarter, the second coming from Logan Dochterman’s second goal to make it 11-8 with 6:29 left. Freshman attack Ellis Geis answered about a minute later, fed by a perfect pass from behind the goal from attack Nate Marano (Denver, three goals, two assists), to lock up the victory.
Attack Nathan Skeen had two goals and an assist for Foothill and teammates Matt Marano and Matt Harris also scored. Danny Carter led the Foothill defense with six ground balls and four forced turnovers. Defensive middie Chris Reem and long pole Jared Copeland each had four ground balls.
Junior Zach Taylor (2g, 3a) led the Eagles with five points. Freshman Quentin Buchman (1g, 2a), Jack Fisher (1g, 1a) and Shane Cobb (1g) rounded out the Eagles’ scoring. Eric Rubak (Bellarmine) had four groundballs. Max Vought had 11 saves.
Next up; Santa Margarita (8-4; 0-1) returns to Trinity League play when they host the resurgent Mater Dei Monarchs (5-7; 1-1) on Saturday. Foothill gets ready for a numero uno vs. numero uno showdown when they travel to Palos Verdes on Monday. Unless of course, the polls show something different when they are released on Monday.