Crespi never trailed in Friday night’s matchup with No. 7 Oak Park, but the 10th-ranked Celts never built a comfortable margin, either, and the Eagles actually pulled even twice. But Crespi held Oak Park scoreless in the fourth quarter and gradually pulled away down the stretch for a 13-9 win.
Junior Jack Doyle scored six goals and recorded one assist for Crespi, and senior attack Cameron Radenberg (above) had three goals and an assist. Alex Dixon had two goals and four assists; Sean Friedman had a goal and three assists; and J.P. Harrigan had one goal.
Senior attack Owen Consoletti and freshman attack Adam Julius each scored two for Oak Park, and Max Bulko, Brendan Egan, Griffin Hughes, Ryan Shorts and Patrick Lasure each scored one. Bulko, a sophomore, scored the Eagles’ first goal but left the game with an injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Crespi had billed Friday’s game as “#redepmptiontour15” after losing 10-9 at Oak Park in the semifinals of last year’s L.A. playoffs. That loss ended Crespi’s 2014 “redemption tour,” in which it beat Agoura and Harvard Westlake in its first two playoff games, avenging regular-season losses, before running into the Eagles. That playoff loss was Crespi’s second one-goal loss to Oak Park of the season, having fallen 9-8 earlier.
Before those two games last year, the schools had met only once in lacrosse, with Oak Park winning 16-8 in 2011, the year the Eagles went 18-1, losing only to Palos Verdes in the second round of the playoffs. So Oak Park now leads the all-time series between the schools, 3-1.
— Liv Lax (@livlax14) March 14, 2015
Perhaps the “redemption” talk worked. Crespi seemed to play with just a little more energy from the outset Friday night, causing turnovers and winning ground balls. Oak Park faceoff middie Josh Rosen had little trouble winning draws, but the Eagles struggled to clear the ball and settle into their offense. Oak Park played well in stretches, especially early in the second half, but they weren’t consistent enough to take control.
The difference in the game likely was Oak Park’s inability to score with a man advantage. Crespi was hit with seven minutes of penalty time, but the Eagles managed only one man-up goal. In fact, during a two-minute, non-releasable man advantage midway through the third quarter, Oak Park actually surrendered two short-handed goals.
The Eagles had come out of halftime red-hot, rattling off three quick goals to tie the score 7-7 in the first three minutes of the half. When Crespi went man-down for two, it looked like Oak Park might take its first lead — and maybe even put some distance between itself and the Celts. But Crespi goalie Nick Enos saved a shot (one of his nine in the game), Crespi cleared and Doyle scored short-handed. After the Celts gained possession in a ground-ball scrum on the faceoff, Dixon fought through a double-team and put another in the net for a 9-7 lead with 4:36 left in the third quarter.
Oak Park recovered from that and actually tied it 9-9 on goals by Shorts and Lasure, but Crespi took the lead again on a goal from Doyle, assisted by Radenberg, and entered the fourth quarter in front 10-9. Three more in the fourth put it away.