After playing top out of state competition over the weekend, the Saint Ignatius varsity lacrosse team headed south to North Canton on Wednesday evening.
The Wildcats have faced the Hoover Vikings every season since 2007. The two teams often enjoy a hard-fought, close contest, but that was not the case on Wednesday. The men of Ohio City are an experienced squad returning many starters from last year's run to the state title game. Meanwhile, the men of North Canton are a young group with many key playmakers gone from last year.
As a result, the Lax Cats walked away with a one-sided victory, 17-4, improving to 4-1 on the year.
The visitors poked and prodded at the Hoover defense, looking for weaknesses to exploit. The Wildcats found a few holes, but the Vikings also managed a goal. The Cats carried a 4-1 lead into the second stanza.
The next 12 minutes broke open the contest. The Wildcats' offense throttled into another gear and pummeled the net with shots and goals. Merick Hartley and Connor Cmiel captained the attack, orchestrating a 7-goal effort in the second quarter. Wearing Sam Daugstrup's #44, Cmiel corraled three goals in an impressive effort. With 15 of the 19 players on the Hoover squad playing on varsity for the first time, the Vikings battled valiantly.
Hartley continued to work into the third, netting his fourth and final tally of the evening. The junior has done outstanding work on offense this year for the Wildcats. Heading into the final 12 minutes, the Lax Cats led, 15-1.
As the Wildcats eased off the gas in the fourth quarter, the Vikings hit the twine three times. Sophomore Drew Robinson notched all of the goals for the hosts in the contest. On the other side of the field, some youngsters received some playing time for the Lax Cats. Kyu Shim ripped home his first varsity goal of his career to place an exclamation mark on the win.
Next up for the Wildcats is arguably the most difficult matchup of the season.
On Saturday, the Lax Cats will head west to South Bend for a showdown with Culver Academy (IN) at the University of Notre Dame. Culver currently stands as the No. 4 team in the country and the No. 1 squad in the Midwest according to Inside Lacrosse. Culver stands at 6-1 on the year, averaging 14.6 goals per game. Culver's lone loss came at the hands of McDonogh (MD), the No. 15 team in the country.
The SIBN is planning to broadcast the game vs. Culver. Connor Barchanowicz and Matt Kelly will be on the call. The game is set to start at 3 pm.
Varsity Blue and JV Doubleheader
Wildcat High will host two lacrosse games on Thursday evening.
The JV Lax Cats will host Strongsville for a 5:30 pm contest on McLaughlin Field. Shortly after, the Varsity Blue Cats will host the Mustangs on McLaughlin Field for a 7:15 pm showdown.