OC Crush defeated the Rebels 9-6 on Saturday at the Victory Athletic Center to claim their third consecutive Orange County Box Lacrosse League championship. The Crush pulled away with a five-goal second period that gave them a 7-3 lead heading into the final 15 minutes. With Ethan “C-Flo” Sepulveda coming up with big saves and a physical defense making things difficult on the Rebels, the Crush held on for the 9-6 win.
“I’m super proud for these guys to pull out the championship 3peat box win!” Crush coach Jon Fox said by email. “Box is a very finicky game, sometimes the shots fall and sometimes they don’t. I think some keys we’re some spectacular saves by C-Flo (Ethan Sepulveda), a run of clutch goals on our side at timely moments, and solid defensive effort. The Rebels have some super athlete’s so it was a real team effort to be able to stop them. The game was tight all the way back and forth and we just gained the momentum in the second period and then held on for the win.”
The Rebels hung tough all game but could not overcome the second period let down. Nicholas Parrino and Tyler Wrightson led the Rebels with two scores each. Jack Allender and Michael Walsh rounded out the Rebels scoring.
Rebels coach Adam Guy credited the Crush defense and finishing abilities for the victory.
“I think Crush did a great job in the second half or forcing the issue defensively and keeping the ball hot on the offensive side,” Guy said by email. “Most importantly, they finished their chances which allowed them to get that big lead.”
With nearly 50 teams competing in the OCBLL this season, including sixteen varsity teams from Orange and Los Angeles Counties, the league grows in significance each year and many high school coaches factor the Fall Box League into their year-round training programs. Guy and Fox both fall into that camp.
“I think we learned a ton this offseason in the box,” Guy said. “Our stick work improved dramatically and we began to gel as a team both on and off the field. I think we got tougher being in the box and our communication on defense was a big improvement. Conditioning-wise I don’t there is anything better than being in the box in the offseason.”
Fox says that his teams get five things out of box lacrosse.
“The biggest thing for us is the team camaraderie, it’s just fun to be together in the off-season,” Fox said. “Second is learning to play under pressure situations. Third, it builds game sense & situational thinking, having to know where you are in the shot clock on offense and defense each possession, Fourth it makes you really think about shot placements, it’s really challenging to score goals, and finally, we can start to see players step into leadership roles.”
Guy, Fox, and the other OCBLL coaches now turn their collective attention to the winter tournament season that will roll into the first day of high school practice, which is only three months away.