With six minutes left in the game, the Cavs were fighting hard. Not having the same luxury as the 23-player Cardinal Newman Cardinals, the Cavs had only one sub. The game was tied, 4-4, until freshman Benjamin Miner shot and scored, ending the game, 5-4.
“It was the game that we should have lost,” coach Brooke Wells said, “but we won.”
After making the over-two-hour drive to Santa Rosa, the Cavs and assistant coach Andrew Cunningham had about five minutes to warm up.
Wells was still stuck in traffic.
When he arrived right at the start of the game, he was somewhat dismayed to recognize a familiar face on the turf.
“I knew their coach (Joel Holland),” Wells said. “I worked with him, when I first moved to California, at Sonoma Academy. Their head coach was the head athletic director of that academy.”
That meant that the coach also knew him, and his team’s strategies.
“They understood our defense strategy in the very beginning,” Wells said. “So they put in the correct offense to try to beat us.”
But the Cavs fought back.
“We did a great job on the back side,” Wells said.
After junior Aidan Cunningham and freshman Benett Sackheim scored in the first quarter, the Cavs didn’t score at all throughout the second quarter, weakening morale.
“Starting the second half, we were a little anxious,” Miner said.
The Cavs would not quit.
Coach Cunningham attributes this to their determination.
“It was their persistence, perseverance, the will to win,” Cunningham said.
The playing conditions were much different from those at home. For one, the ground was turf.
“On astro-turf, it’s a lot harder since it seems that the ball is a little faster and you get more tired,” Wells said. “On turf, it’s like everything was hot and fast.”
This extra running tires out the entire team, especially the midfielders.
“It’s almost impossible for a midfielder, who’s running up and down the field the whole game, to stay in the whole game,” Wells said.
To avoid fatigue, the boys had lots of ways to buy time.
“When we were on offense, we would play around a bit, hold the ball. Sometimes I’d talk to Aidan,” Miner said.
That’s not saying things were perfect, though.
“It’s hard to power through for the entire game,” Wells said, “We were struggling; we were lying on the ground.”
But their teamwork, perseverance and, specifically, defense earned them the win.
“There were times when they would try to run the ball through us,” Miner said, “but everyone was solid and tight and shot the ball down before they could get it.”
By everyone, Miner meant everyone, both those who are and those who aren’t part of outside-of-school leagues.
“All the people who don’t play lacrosse out of school helped us get the (win),” Miner said.
“(Freshman) Ethan Hockridge was great in the goal; he snatched some close calls,” Wells said. “(Senior) Jag (Lally) also had his first goal.”
The lead scorer was Aidan, with two goals. Sackheim, Miner and Lally each scored one.
Although the Cavs’ defense was stellar, their offense could be better.
“We need to score more creatively,” Wells said. “We are pretty one-dimensional on offense.”
Miner also thinks that they need to be more dynamic offensively.
“We need to work on ground balls,” Miner said, “since we could have picked up some balls and gotten them to the goal, but we just didn’t.”
The Cavs’ next game is at home on Monday, May 2, at 5:30 p.m.