By John Ourand
In their last game it looked as if the Gonzaga Eagles would have a sure victory against Boys Latin School in Baltimore. But a late comeback sent the game into overtime, and Gonzaga ended up with a loss.
Saturday afternoon, the Eagles made sure Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Illinois)didn’t come back, and they played hard through the entire game to earn a 13-5 victory.
Within the first two minutes of the game, Kaden Keller struck first with a goal for Loyola to put the first points on the board. This would be the only time Loyola would lead Gonzaga all afternoon.
The rest of the first quarter was dominated by Gonzaga. Jack Myers scored twice while Brian Townsend and Henry Mudlaff each notched a goal to give Gonzaga a 4-1 lead. Gonzaga also had a strong presence on defense, holding Loyola to just two shots not including one goal in the quarter.
Both teams had a slow start in the second quarter, and a goal wasn’t scored until the 7:19 mark, when Hackett scored Loyola’s second goal of the game. That was when Gonzaga went on another run at the end of the quarter. In the final four minutes of the half Townsend, Myers and PJ Zinsner each scored a goal.
But when the Eagles thought they’d finish the half with a 7-2 lead, Loyola’s Naiee Tavlor streaked down the field and put in a goal at the whistle to cut Gonzaga’s halftime lead to 7-3.
Gonzaga came out in the third quarter with another barrage of goals. Myers, Zinsner and Sam Sweeney each scored to boost Gonzaga’s lead to 10-3.
But toward the end of the quarter, careless mistakes from Gonzaga on both offense and defense allowed Loyola to make a run of its own. In the final two minutes of the quarter it tallied two goals to cut Gonzaga’s lead to five goals heading into the fourth quarter.
Luke Gilday started the fourth quarter for Gonzaga with a quick goal right out of the faceoff. There wasn’t another goal scored that quarter until Ben Barbour put in another Eagles’ goal with 4:01 left to play. Kurt Bruun added one more goal for Gonzaga, and the Eagles finished the game with a 13-5 victory.
The Eagles went on multiple offensive streaks, scoring as many as three goals in a row at times. Head coach Casey O’Neill was proud of his team’s offensive effort.
“Our goals in offense come from the little things and the dirty work,” O’Neill said. “[We were] doing the little things, making good passes, clearing through, getting ground balls, being tough on any of the 50/50 stuff, and that’s what led to our offense.”
Gonzaga also played strong defense. It held Loyola to only three goals on seven shots in the first half, and in the second half, only let in two goals.
“Our defense, especially from yesterday with Boys Latin… started really forming some shape in the second half of that game,” O’Neill said, “and I think that transferred into today.”
Gonzaga hopes to to bring this success into its next matchup. It will host Georgetown Prep next Tuesday.