The boys’ lacrosse team defeated St. Francis Wednesday by a score of 13-3 in the final game of the regular season. Though the Wolverines struggled to crack the opponent’s zone defense in the first half, Paul Rodriguez ’18 had three goals in the second half to propel the team to a dominant win.
The Wolverines held only a 4-1 lead at the half against a team Loyola scored 25 goals on in their previous matchup. St. Francis moved the ball slowly and struggled to find open lanes to the net.
Defender Donovan Econn ’19, who scored two goals in the game, said the team was just not clicking and has, at times this season, had trouble running the offense well. Still, he trusts that even when the team is not gelling well, their superior talent can be something to lean on.
“We have great individual talent,” Econn said. “Against that team it wasn’t the biggest struggle. We just weren’t scoring at the rate we should have been.”
Asher Early ’19 said that the team may have been thrown off by Senior Night presentations, which took them out of their normal routine and did not allow them to do their regular warm-ups.
Players also say injuries may help explain the slow start. Jared Goldman ’18 missed the game due to an ACL tear he suffered early in the season. Harrison Listen ’19, who regularly faces off for the team and has 13 combined goals and assists this year, was out with a concussion. Without them, young team members like Owen Hudgins ’21 and Brody Listen ’21 saw more playing time.
The team then scored nine goals in the second half. With four goals in the game, Rodriguez now has 42 goals on the season and 25 assists. The next highest is Early with 31 goals, who put in three yesterday for the Wolverines.
Early said that even though Rodriguez is a great talent, he works very well in the team’s system and has gotten so good by learning to use his body to overpower opponents and find positioning.
In the first two plays of the fourth period, Econn scored two goals. Both times he won the face-off and outran all defenders upfield for an unassisted goal.
The squad continued to score into the final few seconds of the game, with Reid Hudgins ’18 scoring his second goal in the last minute of the game.
Despite such standout players like Early and Rodriguez, Econn says the team as a whole has to try to improve on running plays carefully and listening to Head Coach Erik Krum. He also said that, due to the short roster, players need to focus on bringing energy to the game.
“Energy is really important because we have less players than any other team we have played this season,” Econn said. “Whenever someone scores a goal, we usually only have five other people on the bench. I hope that’s something we can change in the playoffs because hopefully we can bring up some kids from JV.”
Even though, the team’s record this year is 8-6, as opposed to last year’s 16-2, many players do not actually think the team is having a worse year. This year, they are challenging themselves to play better teams than last year, like Saint Margaret’s, which is the top team in Orange County right now.
“If we played the same teams as we did last season, our record would have looked a lot like it did last season,” Early said. “The fact of the matter is this year, we’re challenging ourselves. We’re playing a lot of out-of-league teams and out-of-LA teams.”
Playoffs start May 1, but it has not yet been decided who the Wolverines will face off against. The opponent will likely be released today. The Wolverines expect to get a bye then face Chaminade.