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The Aquilian

Gonzaga lacrosse buries DeMatha in a WCAC conference matchup

Junior Johnny Gardiner, junior Will Raymond and sophomore Gaetano Cicotello celebrate after scoring a goal. Photo from Gonzaga Flickr

As the season progresses, Gonzaga’s lacrosse team continues to glorify their reputation after a few close losses at the beginning of season. After losing to Georgetown Prep 11-9 and Culver Academy Prep 12-11, the Eagles finally have their groove back. Winning five-straight games against teams such as The Heights, St. Albans and Bullis, the Eagles have made a name for themselves. Over spring break, Gonzaga Lacrosse traveled to San Francisco, to add two wins against Sacred Heart Prep and St. Ignatius Prep. 

Before St. John’s, DeMatha used to be Gonzaga’s main rivals in lacrosse, meaning that this game has history behind it. Coach Jeff King made it clear that this game means more than just a win. 

“This is a huge in-conference game. This is a must win game. Before St. John’s, Gonzaga was playing DeMatha on dirt fields […]. When I took a coaching job in 2010, I didn’t know the history behind DeMatha and Gonzaga lacrosse. It was a miracle if Gonzaga lacrosse beat DeMatha. The story has changed, and now we’re on top. Don’t let them change the timeline again,” Coach King said. 

Knowing there’s history behind this game, the players knew they were playing for more than themselves. The team captains, such as senior Matthew Rienzo, Georgetown commit, made sure that their players know this is a huge game. 

“This is something bigger than ourselves. All of our hard work and time we spend during practice, trying to win each quarter and throw the first punch, will show for this game,” Rienzo said. 

Like Rienzo said, Gonzaga showed up for this game. Although down a 2-0 lead in the first quarter, Gonzaga made a statement and scored six-straight goals making the score 6-2 by halftime. Leading the Eagles were goal scorers junior Johnny Gardiner, Maryland commit, junior Freddy Fowler, Colgate commit, junior James Gardiner and junior Joe Matan. Once coming back to take the lead, the Eagles never looked back. The final score of the game was 9-3 Gonzaga with Senior Penn commit, Declan Monahan, having a lights out game with 18 saves to protect the Eagles from losing their lead. 

“This game meant a lot to me and to my teammates, and I’m just glad we came out with a win. It’s nice to see all of our hard work paying off,” Monahan said. 

Although this game was a very tough conference game, Coach King didn’t hesitate to put in some of the new varsity players and underclassmen. Players like Caleb Oliver, sophomore, Carter Cadin, sophomore, and Jake Mendenhall, sophomore, all saw the field during this game. 

“It was kind of intimidating stepping onto the field but we are coached to play under these intense in-game scenarios, and I definitely wanted to show my skills when I’m on the field,” Oliver said. 

The lacrosse team continues to show that hard work at practice can carry onto in-game scenarios if you put in the hard work. No matter the situation, every player has to be physically and mentally prepared for any game whether it’s big or small and that’s what makes Gonzaga lacrosse different from the rest. The next upcoming big game for the Eagles will be on Friday, April 24  against St. John’s on Buchanan Field. This will be the last regular season game for the Eagles before the WCAC playoffs begin. 

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