As league and section boys’ lacrosse playoffs begin this and next week, coach Greg Angilly and his St. Ignatius team will be sitting on the sideline completely at peace after what has been a spectacular season.
Saturday, the Wildcats (18-0) finishedoff a perfect year with an impressive 9-3 win over rival Monte Vista of Danville at J.B. Murphy Field. St. Ignatius is not eligible for postseason play because of its status as an independent, so the Wildcats end their year as the top-ranked team in California by laxpower.com and No. 22 in the nation.
“I don’t want to take anything away from any other team, but internally as coaches, we felt if we could complete our schedule undefeated, we’d prove that we’re the best team in California,” Angilly said. “We have absolutely no regrets.”
Angilly compared his team’s quest for an undefeated season with “going after a no-hitter” and said the team showed signs of nerves Saturday for the first time. But senior reserve Ryan Cavalier scored a second quarter goal to put the Wildcats on the board and goalies Tommy Kilgore and Alex Tice combined to stifle the Monte Vista attack. For the season, St. Ignatius outscored its opponents 263-77 and allowed more than six goals just once.
“Their goal from the beginning of the season was to win every game they played,” Angilly said. “And with a rare combination of talent and hard work, they were able to meet that goal.”
Angilly pointed to an 11-3 win over SoCal power Poway early in the season and a thrilling 8-7 overtime victory over De La Salle of Concord on April 4 as two highlights. The Wildcats fell behind Poway 1-0 before reeling off 10 straight goals to take control and overcame a 6-4 fourth-quarter deficit to topple the Spartans.
St. Ignatius was led by senior tri-captains Miles Suter (an attacker who will play at Dartmouth), midfielder Carter McLennan (Stevens Institute of Technology) and defenseman Derek MacDonald (St. Joseph’s). Each of the Wildcats’ other nine seniors will all play club lacrosse in college next year, Angilly said.
A Lowell loss: The Lowell girls’ soccer team proved to be as dominant as ever during Saturday’s 7-0 win over Washington, claiming its 10th consecutive San Francisco Section title. But a technicality will scar the Cardinals’ perfect 14-0 regular-season Academic Athletic Association mark. Lowell — which has not been defeated in league play for at least the last five seasons — was tacked with an “administrative loss.” Section commissioner Don Collins said a player joined the Cardinals during the season, but Lowell did not submit the proper paperwork. It did not affect Lowell’s playoff standing. Amazingly, as recently as two seasons ago the error would have forced a team to forfeit each game the unlisted player participated in. But thanks to a new rule instituted during the 2005-06 school year, the penalty was reduced to just one game.
Transfer rule changes: Ninth-graders who wish to change schools before their sophomore year will be eligible to participate in a varsity sport even without changing residences, according to new rules approved by the California Interscholastic Federation’s Federated Council of Friday.
However, a ninth-grader who transfers twice or any sophomore, junior or senior who transfers without a valid change of address will not be allowed to participate in a varsity sport. Athletes who move with their families or change addresses due to “hardship” will still be eligible to play a varsity sport immediately.
The new rules were made in effort to create more consistency in transfer rules throughout the state. Previously, each section had its own rules when dealing with transfer students.
“The state had to get to one rule that’s consistent and people realize that,” Collins said. “It should lead to more uniformity throughout the state.”