The Lacrosse Cats returned to Wasmer Field after a long road stretch that saw them take on Culver (IN), University School, St. Xavier and Archbishop Moeller. The Wildcats took three of four games on the road trip that featured a thrilling 15-11 win against an undefeated Moeller team. The Blue and Gold returned to the friendly confines of Saint Ignatius High School this past week to take on highly ranked opponents in the state of Ohio. This past weekend the Wildcats took two of three games on their home turf as they took down Chagrin Falls Wednesday night and Worthington Kilbourne Saturday afternoon.
The current home stretch began Wednesday night at Wasmer Field, where the Lax Cats took on the Tigers of Chagrin Falls. The Wildcats came out firing as they rode their momentum together from their mast match vs. Moeller. In the first seven seconds, senior Kyle Geary found Kenneth Klubnik for the quick strike. Klubnik would find the back of the net again as Adam Ormstead set up the shot on the crease making it 2-0 early for the Wildcats.
In the second period, the Cats would receive scoring from junior Luciano Yacovone and senior Kyu Shim as the Wildcats headed into the half with a 12-1 lead over Chagrin Falls. The impressive highlight from the second half for the Wildcats was a last-second goal by Griffin Taliak, who would then celebrate with a backflip that left the SIBN broadcasters speechless.
The Wildcats would win their fourth in a row with the 19-3 victory over the Tigers. Klubnik would be responsible for 10 Wildcat goals in the win. “We were moving the ball real well together,” Klubnik says. “We played great on defense too, which helped our transition offense.”
Next up on the docket for the Wildcats was a match Friday night against the No. 2 ranked team in the midwest, the Upper Arlington Golden Bears. Braeden Lair won the opening face-off for the Wildcats and the offense went to work. After about a minute of gameplay Griffin Taliak found the back of the net to take an early lead.
The Golden Bears would respond quickly to the Taliak goal as they would tie the game at one apiece with 10:30 left to play in the first period. Junior Andrew Wynocker would get himself on the board with a wrap-around goal that fooled the Upper Arlington goalie to retake a 2-1 lead in the first. The Golden Bears would again respond with back-to-back goals to take a 3-2 lead heading into the second period.
After the third unanswered goal by Upper Arlington, the Wildcats needed a spark trailing 4-2. Yacovone ripped a shot off the crease to cut the Golden Bears lead to one. The Golden Bears would strike again, making the score 5-3. Both teams would be a defensive stalemate on the scoreboard until the Wildcats got one to go with under a minute to play before half. Klubnik ripped a shot from about 10 yards out, reaching the back of the net of the lower 90. Upper Arlington would lead the match at half 5-4.
Opening up the second half, Wynocker found an open shot for Taliak to knot the game at five with 11 minutes left to play in the third period. The left-handed shot for the junior midfielder gave momentum for the Wildcats in a playoff-type atmosphere night on Wasmer Field. The Golden Bears would erupt in the third period with three unanswered goals to take an 8-5 lead into the final period of regulation on the Wildcats.
The comeback for the Blue and Gold began at the 10-minute mark of the fourth period with a shot by Klubnik. After extra time for the refs to discuss, the goal would count for the senior attackman. Upper Arlington continued to fire on all cylinders on offense as they would respond with back-to-back goals extending their lead to 10-6 with under seven minutes to play in regulation.
Lair would win the face-off after the Golden Bears goal and take a shot of his own that snuck underneath the Upper Arlington goalie’s legs to make the score 10-7 to keep the Wildcats within shooting distance. However, a late goal by Upper Arlington put the game out of reach and the Wildcats fell 11-7 on Friday night.
The Wildcats had to have a short memory as they retook Wasmer Field at noon the next day to take on the Grey Wolves of Worthington Kilbourne. On the transition offense, Klubnik found Yacovone, who made an incredible reach for the pass and would fire a shot into the back of the net to give the Cats an early 2-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the opening period.
At the break, the Wildcats led the Gray Wolves 7-3, as the Cats played with a chip on their shoulder after the loss the night before. Klubnik kicked off the second-half scoring for the Cats with a sidearm shot about 15 yards out to give the Wildcats an 8-3 lead with 9:58 left to play in the third period.
In a matter of a minute, the goals came in bunches for the Wildcats and Wynocker and Shim took control in the second half. In that stretch, Wynocker scored twice, while Shim got one to give the Cats a comfortable 11-4 lead in the third period. Wynocker would finish with a hat trick for the Wildcats with an exclamation goal with 33 seconds left on the clock. The Wildcats were winners with a 14-9 score against Worthington Kilbourne.
The Wildcats enter this week with an 8-4 record and have a great test on their radar before tournament play as they’ll host the undefeated Hudson Explorers from Wasmer Field on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats will have a busy weekend to travel to either Western Reserve Academy or Hudson High School for the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association Tournament (MSLCA). Match-up, time and location will be announced this Thursday. The SIBN will have live coverage from Wasmer field Wednesday night, beginning with Varsity Blue action at 5:30 p.m.