Mira Costa jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first two minutes of Tuesday night’s game at Crespi, and it appeared the Mustangs might validate their Top 10 ranking in what amounted to their first full-game test of the season.
But No. 5 Crespi scored the next 11 goals, dominating faceoffs, ground balls and time of possession en route to a surprisingly one-sided 16-4 victory.
Mira Costa (7-1) was ranked No. 11 in the preseason US LAcrosse/MaxLaxLA coaches poll and had moved up to No. 7 this week. But Crespi was the first Top 10 team on their schedule after last week’s game vs. No. 9 Oak Park was suspended in the second quarter due to a power failure and a game the Mustangs thought was scheduled against No. 11 Newbury Park somehow never made it onto Newbury’s calendar.
So Tuesday was Costa’s first chance to show their unblemished record and No. 7 ranking were legit, and for a few minutes, they were on track. Sophomore middie Casey Bonner scored unassisted less than 30 seconds into the game, and sophomore attack Ryan Gustafson added another 45 seconds later. It was 2-0 with only 1:14 elapsed, and the Mustangs were fired up.
But Crespi averages nearly 13 goals per game and has played the fourth-strongest schedule among L.A. teams, according to LaxPower.com. Once the Celts got rolling, Mira Costa was pretty much helpless to stop them. The Celts led 3-2 by the end of the first quarter, 8-2 by halftime and 11-2 midway through the third. Costa didn’t score again until the closing seconds of the third quarter, and that came in transition.
Crespi junior Ricky Hayashida went 13 of 18 at the faceoff dot, and Crespi was 17 of 24 overall, giving the Celts a huge advantage in possession time. Moreover, Crespi won 33 ground balls — five by defenseman Daniel Jackson — to just 11 for the Mustangs. With the ball consistently in the Celts’ offensive end, Costa’s offense essentially became a non-factor.
Crespi’s offense rolled, though, with eight players getting into the scoring column: Alex Dixon finished with six goals and two assists; Jack Doyle had four goals and one assist; senior middie Seth Park tacked on three goals, all in the fourth quarter; Sean Friedman had one goal and three assists; JP Harrigan had a goal and an assist; Connor Leste scored once; Cam Radenberg had two assists; and sophomore Dorian Ruh had one assist.
Despite all of that offense, though, Costa goalie John Van Sickle, a junior committed to Drexel, held up well. He was credited with 18 saves on 34 Crespi shots on goal. Other than that, the highlights were few. Junior middie Zane Crandall had a goal and assist, and junior Hayden Frye scored once.
Now both teams will take two weeks off and prepare for the season’s stretch run. Mira Costa still has its full Bay League schedule ahead, with two games each against No. 2 Palos Verdes, No. 4 Peninsula and No. 11 Redondo Union. Crespi has three Mission League games, including an April 16 visit to No. 1 Loyola, and three nonleague games remaining.