To many, the Saint Ignatius vs. St. Edward rivalry seems to be as old as time. But the rivalry on the lacrosse field does not have a lengthy history – the first lacrosse contest between the Westside foes occurred in 2007.
Since then, the Wildcats have held the upper hand. On Tuesday, the Lax Cats wrote another chapter of the rivalry, roaring past the Eagles, 16-5.
The victory marked the Lax Cats' 11th straight conquest of the Eagles.
The win marked the end of the regular season for Saint Ignatius, advancing the squad to 13-3. The Wildcats will take that record into the Midwest Tournament on Friday.
The contest started slow at times, with each squad feeling out the other team's defenses. St. Edward seemed to strike an early blow just 26 seconds into the contest, but the goal was waved off by the referees due to an offsides call. As a result, the contest stood scoreless for the first half of the opening quarter, until Connor Cmiel stepped in. The speedy junior barreled towards the net on the breakaway and beat the goalie with a nice shot.
A couple minutes later, the Wildcats took advantage of a poor slide that left Michael Boehm wide open. Nate Conry lofted a pass to Boehm, and the junior scored his first of many goals. Derek Chandler and Jonas Aquila tied the game at 2 with 2:28 left in the quarter, but from there, it was all Wildcats.
Cmiel finished off the first quarter scoring. The midfielder seizing a one-on-one matchup to take the ball to the hole. Cmiel's go-ahead goal set in motion a 6-0 run extending deep into the second quarter.
Boehm started the scoring in the second stanza, dodging past an opponent and ripping it past the goalie. Jack Moriarity scored his first tally of the day just over a minute later. The savvy veteran stood at X and saw no defender come to stop him. Mort strolled to GLE and easily sidearmed a shot into the net.
In the next possession, Boehm completed his hat trick, finding twine after receiving a pass from Christian Radke. Boehm then scored yet again at 6:54 of the second, juking the goalie out of his shoes and scoring yet another beautiful goal.
Cmiel finished off the first half scoring by taking it by himself to the bucket. This time, Cmiel ripped it right-handed into the back of the net for a hat trick.
The Eagles managed one second period goal, but the Wildcats owned a sizeable 8-3 lead heading into halftime.
Mort opened the scoring in the third quarter. Conry worked as the distributor for the second time of the day, drawing a slide to open space for Mort. The senior then used a couple of moves on the goalie, placing the biscuit in the basket with a beauty. Mort did so again just a couple minutes later off a Radke assist. Working from X, Mort rolled up towards the wing, looking to pass before he lofted an over the shoulder shot for his hat trick tally.
Boehm kept the party going early in the third. The skilled attacker charged to the net by himself and opened space for a shot, placing it perfectly in the back of the net.
Hartley scored his first goal of the day on a low shot from his office. The junior rocketed it home, advancing the lead to 12-5. Cmiel completed the scoring in the third quarter just a few minutes later. Facing an opponent one-on-one from the top of the box, Cmiel turned on the jets, running right by him. Employing a dodge in the slot, Cmiel opened room for a top cheddar goal, setting the scoring at 13-5 entering the final quarter.
The Wildcats left no doubt as to the outcome in the fourth, outscoring the Eagles, 3-0. Hartley scored in his office off a nice pass from Cmiel. Charlie Kinzel bodied past a defender and bounced it home. Kenneth Klubnik touched twine off a wonderful assist from Camden Kurtz.
As the horn blew, the score stood at 16-5 Wildcats.
Scoring-wise, Boehm topped the team with 5 goals and an assist, while Cmiel followed closely with 4 goals and an assist. Mort notched a hat trick, and Conry and Radke each tallied two assists.
"Our guys who've been our best players and who have been big contributors stepped up today," said Associate Head Coach Joe Boehm '05. "It's always good to come and bring it against your rival. You could tell those guys were fired up before the game. St. Ed's has a really good goalie, he made a bunch of saves early. Our guys made good adjustments in going offstick low, moving the ball, and getting dunks and easy ones so he couldn't make saves on the 15-yard shots."
Plenty of credit must also be given to goalie Charlie Minerd and faceoff specialist Joey Morford. Minerd turned aside 7 shots in an impressive effort in net, stonewalling many Eagles chances. Minerd also almost tallied an assist, charging all the way into the Eagles' box on a clear. And thanks to Morford, Minerd stood for stretches as the Wildcats dominated possession. Morford won an incredible 20-of-23 faceoffs.
"Charlie has been so good this whole season. He never lets anyone else into the game," Coach Boehm said. "He had a great one, and Joey Morford was dominant today. They put a pole against him just to stop him from getting fast breaks, and he won almost every faceoff. He had a great game."
Moving forward, the Wildcats now begin preparations for the Midwest Tournament.
The Lax Cats will face Kiski Prep out of Saltsburg, Pennsylvania on Friday. The contest will take place at 5:30 pm at Fortress Obetz. Depending on the result, the Wildcats will either play at 10 am or 2 pm on Saturday.
"Later in the season and in Midwests, as you get into really good games, you have to win as a team," Coach Boehm said. "We're really deep and we have a lot of talent up and down the roster, and we need to take advantage of that all over the field and not play as 2-3 guys, but play as a full unit, move the ball, and execute as a team better than anyone we're playing."
Varsity Blue squares off against Varsity Green on Wednesday
The final of three games between the Wildcats and Eagles will take place on Wednesday. The Varsity Blue Cats will host the Varsity Green Eagles for a 7 pm showdown.
The injury bug has bitten Bo Shim's men frequently, but the Wildcats will look to fight past the adversity for a win.