Junior defenseman George Dalis (pictured above) scored two goals, caused two turnovers, and recovered five groundballs to lead Foothill past St. Margaret’s 12-10 in the third round of the Orange County Invitational. St. Margarets’ entered the game ranked No. 4 in the west by the Under Armour/IL Experts Poll, and Foothill was right behind the Tartans at No. 5. The Knights built up a 7-3 halftime lead, and fought off a St. Margaret’s comeback attempt.
St Margaret’s started the scoring early when Nick Shanks stuck one 20 seconds into the game. Despite the quick start, the Tartans showed some early season sloppiness, and committed eight penalties in the first half. The Knights took advantage of the penalties with a sharp man-up unit for the first time when Kevin Kodzis fired one home off a feed from Cole Falbo to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tartans answered right back with a tough inside goal by Kevin Cox making it 2-1. More Tartan penalties and an efficient Foothill man-up unit led to the Knights closing out the third quarter with three unanswered goals. Nathan Skeen found the back of the net unassisted, Falbo ripped one home on a feed from Steven Oberly, and Matt Harris scored off a Cole Falbo feed to make it 4-2 Foothill. The second quarter was much the same as the first with St Margaret’s spent time in the penalty box and Foothill taking advantage to build up a 7-3 half time lead.
St. Margaret’s came out strong in the third quarter. Kevin Groeninger initiated a typical Tartans scoring flurry with his first goal of the game. Twenty seconds later Samuel Harnisch (Denver) scored on a great move and finish. Two minutes after that Harnisch fed Nick Shanks (Tufts), and just like that the score was 7-6 in favor of Foothill.
With the Tartans on roll and threatening to take control of the game, Foothill goalie Ryan Blank (St. John’s) took matters into his own hands. He made eight saves in the third quarter, including a pair one-on-one saves that turned the momentum back to Foothill. The fourth quarter ended with Foothill hanging on to a 9-7 lead.
The Tartans led by Harnisch’s third goal of the game and two more by Shanks continued to fight back in the fourth quarter. However, Dalis and Blank had their own ideas. Dalis’ fourth quarter goal slowed down the St. Margaret’s comeback, and Blank continued to make big saves. Blank finished with 15 saves in the win. Maxlax caught up with him moments after the win and asked what he felt got him so dialed in for the second half. ” I play best when I’m having fun” he stated “My teammates motivate me because we work hard together, and the rivalry is great to play in, its top competition for sure.”
Steven Oberly led the Foothill offense with four points (2 goals, 2 assists), Geis, Skeen, and Dalis each netted two goals. Kodzis (1g, 1a), Falbo (1g, 1a), Jared Copeland (1g), and Matt Harris (1g) also tallied for the Knights.
Shanks and Harnisch each finished the game with four points (3g, 1a). Cox and Groeninger each scored twice, and Jeremy Davis had 1 goal.
Both teams wrap up the Orange County Invitational this week. Foothill (3-0) hosts Loyola (3-0) on Wednesday. St. Margaret’s (1-2) travels to Los Alamitos (1-2).
All Photos by Gregg Shaw Photography. Visit the gallery for this game at http://www.greggshawphotography.com.
Video highlights courtesy of Big Boom Video.
Devin Arkison was a 3x All American defenseman at Hobart College, and is a member of the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He has coached elite level high school teams and offers private instruction as well. He can be reach at email@example.com for private defensive sessions.