St. Margaret’s Defeats Harvard-Westlake to Capture its First U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section Championship

taSt. Margaret’s Episcopal School is going to have to find more room in its trophy case. Continuing its magical 2013 season, the Tartans of St. Margaret’s defeated the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines 15-8 on Saturday afternoon at West High School in Torrance. With a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over the Northern Section champs, the Tartans add the Southern Section Championship trophy to their U.S. Lacrosse Orange County Championship hardware captured earlier in the week.

In the victory the Tartans relied on their all-star faceoff man junior middie Ryan Harnisch, and their move the ball, team-first style of offensive play in the second half exploding for 13 goals to overcome a 5-2 halftime deficit.

After taking a quick 2-0 lead at the start of the game, the Tartan faithful were looking for a blowout, but the Wolverines would have none of that as St. Margaret’s high-octane offense was stymied the rest of the first half by the Wolverines’ defense and junior goalie Ben Klein. Nothing seemed to be working for the Tartans as the Wolverines led by junior middie Jack Temko rattled off five unanswered goals to take a commanding lead into the break.

The Tartans coaching staff lead by head coach Glen Miles must have found the right words at halftime as the boys from OC responded with three goals in the first two minutes of play in the third to start the comeback. The message was clear – control the faceoff X and move the ball to the open man on offense for better shot opportunities. With goals from freshman attackman Sam Harnisch, junior middie Hunter Edington, and senior attackman Chase Williams (Haverford commit), who knotted the score at five at the 9 minute mark of the third quarter, the St. Margaret’s scoring machine began to role. You could almost see the shoulders on the Harvard-Westlake players slump after the Tartans tied it up.

St. Margaret’s added ten more goals in the second half and played lock-down defensive on Harvard-Westlake’s big guns limiting the Wolverines to just three goals in the second half and the comeback was complete with a final score of 15-8.

Offensively for the Tartans, it was Hunter Edington’s turn to carry the load with a career-high six goals and one assist. Hunter has been a leader for St. Margaret’s all season not only delivering scoring punch, but running up and down the field with the ball in his stick and gobbling up ground balls. Other scores for St. Margaret’s included the Tartans’ explosive first-line attack unit of senior Alex Waller (1g, 3a), senior Chase Williams (2g, 2a), and freshman Samuel Harnisch (4g), as well as senior defenseman Brandon Suchand (1g) (Grand Canyon commit), and junior middie Josh Davis (1g, 2a).

The defensive workhorses for the Tartans closed down Harvard-Westlake in the second half with the same workmanlike style they have been using all season. Unlike the first half, it seemed like every time St. Margaret’s needed a critical ground ball or a big stop in the second half defenseman Brandon Suchand, senior LSM (Denver commit), sophomore defenseman , sophomore defenseman John Connelly, sophomore defenseman Mike McGraw, or senior defensive middie Winston Robinson came up with the ball or forced a turnover allowing the Tartans to transition back to offense. Senior goalie Austin Birch gritted out another big game for the Tartans especially in the second half to throw cold water on any come-back attempt, and freshman middie Nick Shanks and sophomore middie Oscar Gomez played key roles for the Tartans on clears and ground balls.

The Tartan’s final victory of the season improved their overall record to an impressive 21-4 with an amazing 19-game winning streak and the top ranking on LaxPower’s final 2013 power ranking for the California Southern Section (http://www.laxpower.com/update13/binboy/rating08.php).

The 2013 playoff squad for St. Margaret’s included:

Middies

Will Schmall, Connor Fallon, Nick Iavarone, Josh Davis, James Yorke, Hunter Edington, Oscar Gomez, Nick Shanks, Kevin Cox, Ryan O’Hare, and Ryan Harnisch

Attackmen

Chase Williams, Paddy Fallon, Alex Waller, Samuel Harnisch, Riley Pok, Matt Karzak, and Matt Williams

Defensemen

Brandon Suchand, John Connelly, , Mike McGraw, Winston Robinson, Nick Totah, Sam Tedori, Zach Shor, (LSM), and Cayson Fincher

Goalies

Austin Birch and Chris Heximer

MaxLaxOC would like to congratulate the St. Margaret’s players and the entire coaching staff at St. Margaret’s including head coach Glen Miles and assistant coaches Terry Riordan, Crawford McCarthy, Ryan Milligan, Paddy Chester, and Mark Warren for their accomplishments in 2013.

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