SANTA MARGARITA – In a battle between Los Angeles and Orange County, LA took the bragging rights back to tinseltown as LA No. 1 Loyola (2-0) cruised past OC No. 4 Santa Margarita (1-1) 10-2 in the Eagles’ home opener. The Cubs saw a balanced scoring attack that was led by five-point performances from senior Kaiser Fry (2g,3a) and sophomore Owen Gaffney (2g,3a).
“We’ve got a lot of talent on the team, so we feel like we can kill you from anywhere,” Cubs head coach Seth Cohen said. “If we’re playing our best ball, (we) just take advantage of the matchups, look for the open man, and to can a shot.”
It was all Loyola in the first half, when the Cubs outscored the Eagles 3-0 and 4-0 in the first two quarters, respectively, with Fry and Gaffney leading the charge. The Cubs defense was stout in the first half in particular, with 14 turnovers committed by Santa Margarita in the first 24 minutes of play.
“We just like to put pressure on the other team,” Cohen said. “It’s just trying to get our defense to play as aggressive as we can.”
While each team only scored one goal in the third quarter, Tyler Wrightson (2g) had an impressive diving shot as time ran out in the frame to finally put the Eagles on the board. He scored another in the fourth, but it was not enough to overcome the hole the Eagles dug for themselves.
“The second half I asked them to dig deep, and I believe they did,” Eagles coach Paddy Chester said. “They were better in the third quarter, and they were better in the fourth quarter. That makes me proud that they were willing to stand up and face the music, just like I will.”
Alex Horowitz (3g) was another big part of the offense for the Cubs with a hat trick, two of which came in the second half. Speed Fry (1g,1a), Matt Garvey (1g), Kyle Kirkpatrick (1g), and Jack Onufer (1a) also contributed points offensively for Loyola.
The cage work from the Cubs was impressive, as well. Starter Will Parducci pitched a shutout in the first half and had five saves, and Cam Bieler came in and had a solid second half with six saves and two goals allowed.
“I’m real fortunate I have two incredible ‘keeps,'” Cohen said. “There’s always not enough food to feed everybody, but I try to make them happy. We had a good lead, and Cam came in and gave up a couple of goals in the second half, but not with the starting unit in front of him. They’re both great; can’t go wrong.”
Wrightson and Connor Kentros (1a) were the Eagles only real offense, but they got some solid play at the dot with Zack Zahr winning nine of 15 face-offs. Ryan Olsker had nine saves between the pipes for Santa Margarita.
“We were humbled today, but sometimes you have to be humbled,” Chester said. “I know we can learn and keep going.”
Loyola will travel south again Saturday to take on OC No. 7 San Clemente (0-2) at 2:15 p.m. Santa Margarita will also play Saturday against No. 11 Los Alamitos (1-1) at Newport Harbor High School.