On Friday, May 21, the Islanders men’s lacrosse team welcomed league foe La Jolla into the friendly confines of Niedermeyer Field in what would be the regular-season finale for the Islanders. Even in what has been a tough season for the team, a win or even a tightly contested match could help the Islanders reach the playoffs for Division I.
The first quarter of play, in many ways, was controlled by the Islanders. On the offensive side of things, the Islanders were able to net three goals — from Reese Packard, who saw his first action of the 2021 season since returning from injury, from No. 13 Daniel Bell, and from No. 22 Connor Worth to give them an early 3-1 lead over the visiting Vikings. Along with the intense effort on offense, the Islander defense constantly wreaked havoc on any attacker wearing black and red. Leading the defense effort was No. 30 Dominic Friedly, No. 18 Carter Cohen, No. 7 Matthew Tetzlaff, who all constantly restricted passing and shooting lanes for La Jolla in the first quarter. However, La Jolla found a few goals late in the first quarter, all coming from Taylor Walsh, to make it a 3-3 game at the end of the first.
Early in the second quarter, the Islanders continued to play some solid defense. Goalie Matthew McCormack made several excellent saves to keep the game level at 3-3 with just over 10 minutes to play. Perhaps McCormack’s strong play in goal motivated the offense as after the goal-saving display, the Islanders quickly added to their goal total as No. 4 Neil Capin ripped a ball into the top shelf with some serious velocity to give the Islanders the 4-3 lead with 8:04 left to play in the second quarter. Following the goal from Capin, the Islanders continued to pepper the La Jolla goal with quality shots from Bell and Capin. But unfortunately, efforts either struck the crossbar or were saved by the La Jolla keeper and kept the game at 4-3 with 4:40 left to play.
Much like the first quarter, however, La Jolla eked out a few late goals to take a 5-4 lead into the half. And unfortunately for the Islanders, these late goals seemed to provide some serious momentum for the Vikings, as they came out like madmen in the third quarter, going on a 6-0 goal run and growing their lead to 10-4. The biggest issue the Islanders seemed to run into during the third was figuring out how to stop La Jolla attacker Taylor Walsh, who had half (7) of the Viking’s goals Friday afternoon. It seemed as if the Islanders also had to play against the refs in the third. On numerous occasions, it appeared that La Jolla got away with illegal slashes, pushes, and even several questionable high hits.
Despite the deficit, the Islanders continued to fight like they’ve done all season. They added two more goals — Friedly added a goal with 5:21 to play, and it was quickly followed by Capin, his second of the day, making it 12-6 with just four minutes to play.
The Islanders ultimately lost to La Jolla 14-6, but it wasn’t the Islander’s final game of the season. The Islanders could grab the No. 12 seed in the CIF Division I Playoffs, where they will face the No. 5 seeded Broncos of Rancho Bernardo on Tuesday, March 25.