Wednesday's afternoon sunny contest against Western Reserve Academy allowed the Wildcats a chance to build momentum and put last weekend behind them.
The Saint Ignatius varsity lacrosse team did just that, rolling past the Pioneers, 16-4.
With the win, the Wildcats advance to 5-2 on the year entering an important matchup with Archbishop Moeller on Saturday at 3:30 pm at Cleveland State University's Krenzler Field.
The Lax Cats started strong and never looked back against WRA. The team showed no signs of rust after a 45-minute trip to Hudson, dominating possession in the first quarter. The Wildcats outshot the Pioneers 19-0, winning three of five faceoffs and taking advantage of every offensive possession.
Connor Cmiel kicked off the scoring, finding the back of the next just 1:20 into the opening quarter. Cmiel then found an open Nate Conry for another tally at 7:22 of the first.
The offenses slowed for the next six minutes, as the Wildcats worked to create shots and find holes in the defense. With 41 seconds left in the stanza, Michael Boehm exploited an opening, ripping a beauty into the net, with Conry providing the assist. Just 30 seconds later, Moriarity lofted a pass from X to an open Merick Hartley on the near side wing. Hartley uncorked a hard side shot that bounced at the goalie's feet and into the back of the net.
The Wildcats didn't take long to build on the 4-0 lead. After the Wildcats won the opening second quarter faceoff, Connor Cmiel took advantage of a defensive lapse to bury one in the back of the net. Cmiel tallied his hat trick just a minute later. Receiving a Charlie Kinzel pass, Cmiel cut towards the net and lofted the ball into the top corner of the net on a beauty.
Moriarity stretched the lead further with back-to-back goals of his own in the span of 30 seconds. Mort did it all by himself on the first score, charging up the near side of the field and beating his man with a high righty shot. On the second goal, Mort found a spot near the edge of the crease, handled a pass from Boehm, and deposited the ball in the net for another tally.
The next goal showed the savviness of the Wildcats' offense. After passing the ball around the horn, Boehm took it from the far wing and ran towards the middle of the field. Using a screen from Cmiel, Boehm ran towards the near wing, drawing a sliding defender who left Hartley wide open. Leaving Hartley open is never a good idea. The junior took his time and unleashed a devastating low-to-high shot that the goalie had zero chance on.
Cmiel finished off the scoring in the first half by cutting to the net and finding twine off a Moriarity pass from X. The hosts broke the shutout, but the Wildcats held a 10-1 lead at the break.
The pace slowed some in the third, but the Wildcats continued to score. Moriarity completed his hat trick just 23 seconds into the period, with Boehm adding an assist. Cmiel etched his fifth and final marker of the game less than a minute later on another nice goal. Boehm also scored again, placing the score at 14-2 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter elapsed quickly with a running clock. Several youngsters and varsity blue players received playing time and did well. Kenneth Klubnik and KJ Ripich each scored in the fourth quarter. Chris Laska played stoutly in net. Christian Radke, Lou Persiani, Kyu Shim, and Kyle Geary all tallied ground balls.
For the game, the Wildcats outshot the Pioneers, 45-8, and earned an advantage in ground balls, 39-11. John Coughlin had plenty to do with the latter stat, earning 10 by the coaches' count.
With the win in hand, preparation immediately begins for Saturday. The Wildcats will play Archbishop Moeller in a 3:30 pm afternoon contest on Krenzler Field after the Cleveland State Vikings do battle with Robert Morris. Moeller will be the home team, as several Crusaders will be playing for the Vikings next year, so the opportunity provides a chance for them to watch CSU in action, and vice versa.
Moeller leads the all-time series, 14-11, dating back to 1989. The teams last met in the inaugural OHSAA State Championship in 2017, with the Crusaders winning in overtime. The Wildcats and Crusaders last played in Northeast Ohio in 2016, with the Cats catapulting to a 15-4 victory.
The SIBN has tentative plans to broadcast the game. Stay tuned for details.
Varsity Blue / JV Schedules
As with all spring sports, lacrosse is not immune to constant changes in schedules due to weather and other factors.
As of now, the varsity blue team has two games scheduled this weekend. First, the Cats will host the Archbishop Hoban Knights at John Carroll's Don Shula Stadium on Saturday at 7 pm. Next, the Wildcats will play host to Moeller's JV A team on Wasmer Field at 3:30 pm.
The JV Cats will also have two contests this weekend. The Wildcats will host Hoban on McLaughlin Field at 5 pm on Friday, and will then head to Columbus to face Worthington Kilbourne at 2 pm on Saturday.