End of second quarter flurry propels lacrosse past Strake Jesuit into state championship round

Meer Mahfuz, Staff Writer

ALLEN- The first half seemed to be closed with Coppell holding a four goal lead over Houston Strake Jesuit. After four goals in the first quarter, only one goal was scored in the second quarter and it seemed to stay at which for the remainder of the half. 

However, the clock struck one minute left and Coppell unleashed an offensive onslaught that would effectively decide the game. What was a small deficit for the Crusaders was now doubled after the Cowboys scored four goals in a 60 seconds to close out the half. 

“[The eight goal lead going into half] was huge because we weren’t playing clean to start off the game, we were allowing them to hang around and that flurry really got us going into the second half,” Coppell coach Matt Mueller said.

Coppell (8-5) rode this offensive drive through the rest of the game and defeated Houston Strake Jesuit (7-7) in the second game of the Class A Super Regionals, 13-5, at the Allen High School Track and Field Stadium yesterday to advance to the Class A State Championships next weekend. 

Despite playing in the second round of playoffs, this was the Cowboys’ first playoff game and both the pros and cons of that showed. Despite practicing the guys hard throughout the week in lack of a playoff game, game speed and intensity is hard to match in practice, according to Mueller and the Cowboys started sluggishly.

After conceding within the first minute of play, the Cowboys were forced to regroup and recollect themselves mentally. Coppell allowed many breaks from the Crusaders and forced sophomore goalie Blu Carter into many saves to bail out the Cowboys. From there, the fresh legs of the Cowboys took off and Coppell never trailed for the remainder of the game. 

“Blu’s a stud; he has truly stepped into that role and embraced it, not only save wise but also stepping up and leading the defense which is the most important thing,” Mueller said.

Holding the eight goal lead over the Crusaders allowed the Cowboys to loosen up their play in the second half and the offensive drive was not as strong in this half. Despite scoring four goals and five goals in the first and second quarter, respectively, Coppell scored four goals and allowed four goals in the remaining two quarters. 

“To a certain extent, they outplayed us in the second half,” Mueller said. “Credit to their coaching staff because they adjusted into a 10-man ride, putting a lot of pressure on us and forcing many turnovers from us.”  

Coppell’s two quick goals from senior forwards Tyler Wendel and Gavin Osteen were quickly responded to with two goals from the Crusaders to split the third quarter evenly. Osteen added another goal early in the fourth before the Crusaders responded with two more goals and the junior forward Logan Hazelwood closed out the game with a goal with three seconds remaining in the game. 

The second half saw a more sloppy Coppell team, namely turning the ball over multiple times, not checking the right guys while marking on defense, forcing Carter to bail out the Cowboys once again. However, the second half saw a different lineup with most of the starters having been pulled to prevent injuries going into the championship round next weekend.

“I just made sure to do my part for the team, helping my team win which is most important,” Carter said.  

Coppell will travel to greater Houston on Friday as it plays Dallas St. Mark’s in the first game of the Class A Championships on Saturday at Kingwood High School, with faceoff at 2:30 p.m. The winner of that game will play the winner of Austin Vandegrift-Austin for the Class A State Championship on Sunday at Turner Stadium in Humble, with faceoff at 12 p.m. The four teams remaining in the bracket were the four highest seeded teams from the beginning of the bracket.

“[St. Mark’s] has some big guns on offense that we are going to have to prepare for by throwing some different looks at the guys in practice but, collectively, we just need to keep doing what we’re doing because we’re starting to peak at the right time,” Mueller said. “We want to play the game, not the name. We will have a game plan depending on who our matchup is but we just want the guys to show up and play Coppell lacrosse by giving effort, emptying the tank, supporting your teammates and the rest is going to take care of itself.”

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