It's been quite the run of spring success for Catholic Memorial High School.
Mere days after a state golf championship and one week after winning three relays titles between the girls and boys track and field teams, CMH brought home another title when the boys lacrosse team handled Stoughton in the Division 2 state championship at Carroll University on Saturday, 13-5. It was the Crusaders' third consecutive state title, all coming against Stoughton in the final contest of the year.
The game started off in competitive fashion. Christopher Else scored a wrap around goal for Memorial, and Dominic Haight took a shot that deflected under Stoughton goalie Jack Anderson's legs for a 2-0 Memorial lead. Stoughton fired back on a long range snipe from Tanner Gutche, and Sam Onsager tied the game at 2-2 after scoring on a one-on-one situation with Memorial goalie Danny Gentile.
Two goals from Memorial's Justin Morrison and another from Danny Rossi gave the Crusaders a solid 5-2 lead with 10:19 left in the second quarter, but Stoughton continued to respond. Cam Furseth won a ground ball past two Memorial defenders and sent a centering pass to Dylan Gross, who put one past Gentile. Gross scored again a short time later to bring the Vikings within a goal at 5-4. Anderson had a few saves for Stoughton before Adam Gronowski put one past him with seven seconds left in the half for a 6-4 Memorial lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Crusaders busted the hornet's nest wide open, as the Memorial attack relentlessly pounded Anderson's goal. Despite several saves, CMH scored four times in the third quarter.
'Once we start clicking and we start getting shots on goal, I thought that we probably would light them up,' CMH coach John Morrison said. 'That goalie stood on his head. I don't know how many saves he made; he was just all over that goal. Eventually, if you keep shooting them, they've got to go in.'
The Crusaders offense conspired with a defense that only allowed one goal in the second half.
'We started off a little slow,' said CMH player Justin Morrison, 'but this was a big game for a lot of us because most of our starting lineup are seniors. Once we really turned it on, all the seniors out on the field tried to play our best. It feels really good, especially since my dad's the coach. It was a good ending for both of us.'
'The second half, the defense played a heck of a game,' John Morrison said. 'We allowed one goal in the second half, and that was a transition goal. I was worried that with this heat that they'd lose their stamina, but they kept going.'
For Gentile, the solid defense was all about communication.
'The defenders stood tall against good shooters,' he said. 'We know who was going to be trying to put the ball in the net, and they really locked those guys down. They're really good communicators. The entire game you can hear them yelling at each other, you can hear them telling each other what to do, taking advice. It feels like we're back where we're supposed to be, and it was up to us to win it. We came into this game and we didn't really have anything else in mind. We always knew that we could take this game.'
Stoughton closed the year at 20-4 after falling to Catholic Memorial in the title game for the third consecutive year. The Crusaders ended at 15-5 and are looking forward to next year already.
'We'll be here,' said coach Morrison. 'We're senior-heavy, so I don't know if we're going to be as good, but we'll be good.'