After losing four of the last five neighborhood rivalry games with Oak Park by a combined five goals, sixth-ranked Agoura left no doubt about the outcome Thursday night, claiming the Kanan Cup from the No. 9 Eagles with an emphatic 18-9 victory.
This matchup also had title implications in the newly formed Coastal Canyon League, with the Chargers (10-5, 3-0) claiming first place and the top seed in the league’s championship tournament. Should Agoura and Oak Park (7-5, 2-1) win their respective semifinals April 23, there will be a Kanan Cup rematch in the league title game April 25.
Senior Gage Garrison (8g, 2a) led the Chargers’ offensive onslaught with a mammoth 10-point performance. The attackman said his squad is playing its best lacrosse of the season.
“We’re really coming together as a team,” Garrison said. “For some reason, we really seem to pick it up in the second half as a team.”
Garrison got the offense going early off a pretty assist from fellow attack Douglas McCarthy (5g, 2a). Agoura took control after a 5-2 first quarter by posting an impressive eight goals in the second to take a commanding 13-4 lead at halftime.
“We really wanted to pepper [Oak Park] with shots,” Chargers coach Sean Lindsay said. “We have a lot of good shooters out there, so getting good, quality shots to the cage was important, and [McCarthy] sees the field well, and he’s just a great shooter.”
The Eagles did not go away quietly, however, playing a strong third quarter to cut Agoura’s lead to 14-7. Sam Peters (4g), Marcus Jasso (2g) and Tyler Bradbury (1g, 4a) led the scoring for Oak Park.
“We had a little lapse in the third quarter, but in the fourth we buckled down,” Lindsay said. “We’re putting this in perspective, because in all likelihood we’ll probably see [Oak Park] again in two weeks, so I’m glad they came back and we had to stay on our toes the entire game.”
Agoura outscored Oak Park 4-2 in the fourth quarter to cruise to the 18-9 win. Jake East (1g, 2a) and Sebastian Bernt (1g, 2a) combined for three points in the frame for the Chargers.
Senior goalie Zach Tripp recorded 13 saves for Agoura, six of which came in the fourth quarter as Oak Park was trying to make a comeback.
While Lindsay is in agreement with Garrison that the team is playing it’s best lacrosse of the season, he took it a step further, and believes winning a game that had some type of playoff implications attached to it, as well as the community pressures of winning the Kanan Cup, will only help his team down the stretch. Many of the players and coaches from the neighboring schools compete with the LA Mavs club program in the offseason, giving local bragging rights a little extra importance.
“This game, we’re playing for something,” Lindsay said. “Playing for this cup means a lot to the community, and when we play Oak Park, it’s our conference championship, but obviously I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We’re playing for something with the cup, and if you don’t win, you don’t get it. If you don’t win the conference championship, you don’t win the conference. So you’re playing for things like you would in the playoffs.”
Agoura will try to win its fifth in a row Tuesday at home against Palo Verde (Las Vegas, Nev.) at 7 p.m. Oak Park plays at No. 12 Crespi on Tuesday.