Tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 pm, the Tartans of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and the Cubs of Loyola High School will meet at Mira Costa High School to decide the 2019 OC vs. LA championship. The Cubs are in hot pursuit of their fourth consecutive championship while the Tartans return to the title game for the second year in a row and hope to win their first OC-LA championship since 2015.
Although the Cubs struggled a bit earlier in the season, they are peaking at the right time as they always seem to do. Wednesday’s 12-6 win against Palos Verdes was a metaphor for Loyola’s season. Up by just one goal after the third, by shutting out the Sea Kings in the fourth quarter while scoring five goals of their own to run away with the game.
As they showed on Wednesday, the Cubs have a multitude of offensive weapons. Jack Carolan was the big gun against PV with five goals but he is far from the only finisher on the team. Alex Horowitz scored two goals on Wednesday including his 100th career goal. Kaiser Fry is big game tested and he’ll be ready Saturday. That’s just the attack. At midfield Kaiser’s brother Speed has been very good in big games, Matt Garvey could be a difference maker and sophomore Owen Gaffney is legit, he’s a baller, watch for him.
If there is common thread to these two consistently excellent programs, it is coaching. Both Loyola’s Seth Cohen and Glen Miles of the Tartans have proven for years they know how to get the most of their own players, expose their opponents’ weaknesses, and win the big one.
The Cubs will have to contend with a St. Margaret’s defense that also showed on Wednesday that they can clamp down when it matters most. Langston Sholl, Shane Dzwilewski and Jason Garrett teamed up with LSM Duke Ballard, shortie Nico Vorzimer and goalie Zane Handy to shutdown a tough Foothill in the fourth quarter of the OC championship game. Match ups are a mystery at this point, I’m sure both coaching staffs will spend time watching film to figure it out.
The Loyola defense is always tough, especially in the playoffs as they showed with their performance on Wednesday. Expect Brett Tietjen the Loyola defensive coordinator out of Hofstra and Garden City, Long Island, to put pressure on the ball. Shane McAusland is a tough on-ball defender and fights for the groundballs. Colin Hawkins is a rangy lefty, he’ll be ready to roll, and MIT-bound Will Kupiec tends to be the QB at close. LSM Preston Barnes is a game changer, legit, he can play.
On offense for the Tartans once again it was Koa Todd, Kevin Groeninger, Nate Sanchez and Cooper Barkate. Barkate had break out game vs Foothill, he must have liked that big crowd. I’d assume it’ll be Barnes matching up on Todd when possible and McAusland on Groeninger, watch those match ups.
At FOGO, as we’ve discussed Stu Pollard has been on fire all season. Loyola’s Matt Goffield had a big game vs PV. Went about 50% to neutralize a senior D1 commit. Could get interesting at X.
In goal, Loyola has two stand outs. Of late it’s been Cam Beiler ( St John’s) taking starting roll, but Will Parducci is an excellent, big-game-ready stopper as well. Beiler had nine saves vs PV’s sharp shooters. For St Margs Zane Handy has been in some big games, he’ll be ready.