It was a battle of top seeds this past Saturday at Del Norte High School as the Islanders looked to cap off their 2022 season with a win in the CIF San Diego Section Div. 1 Championship game against overall No. 1 seed Patrick Henry High School.
Coming off a commanding 15-9 win vs. La Jolla Country Day, the Islanders entered the championship match with confidence.
In the early minutes of the first quarter, however, it would be Patrick Henry who would take the early 2-0 advantage. In those early minutes, the Islanders looked as if they were pressing a tad.
But the Islanders would quickly regroup.
While on defense, Vinton Garden would force a turnover thanks to some one-on-one physical defense that would cause a pass out of bounds. The Islanders would quickly break out in transition as Emmett Warner found Landon Sutherland, who would dish to Neil Capin, who would then beat the goalie on a shot-hop to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
However, following the goal, Patrick Henry would counter right back with two more goals of their own to make it a 4-1 contest and leave Coronado in a 3-goal hole. Just before the end of the first, though, Coronado would rip the back of the net again, thanks to a tremendous on-the-run goal by Matthew Tetzlaff to make it 4-2 at the end of one.
At the start of the second quarter, Patrick Henry’s offense would start fast yet again as they would net a goal just two minutes in to push it to a 5-2, making it a three-goal game for the second time.
A few minutes would tick by, but the Islanders would strike again with just about three minutes to play. After a clutch save by Charles Laing, Coronado would again do an excellent job of getting in transition.
After an outlet pass to Sutherland, the sophomore would find Neil Capin, who, after putting his defender on skates, would make an elite pass to Maximus Kieffer, who would sneak one into the back of the net, in what would be the final goal of the half to make it 5-3 at the break.
Early in the third, both teams would exchange goals, with the Islanders fourth of the afternoon coming from Tetzlaff off an excellent assist from Sutherland. But the early goals would prove to be the lone goals of the third, as both teams played shutdown defense for the rest of the third.
For the Islanders, Jonah York, Garden, Warner, and goalie Laing did an outstanding job of communicating and keeping Patriot attackers at bay, allowing just that lone goal in the third to make it a 6-4 heading to the fourth.
In the fourth, Coronado would strike first thanks to a long laser from Charley Kobets to make it a one-goal, 6-5 game. The Patriots would net a goal of their own just two minutes later, but it would be all Islanders in the following minutes.
However, if we have seen anything from this Islander team this postseason, it’s that they always have a counter punch. After the goal, Kieffer would net back-to-back goals on two consecutive possessions to tie it at 7-7 with 6:36 left to play.
Then after a drop-by win by Robby Spane, Sutherland would clang one off the iron and into the back of the net on the run to give Coronado the 8-7 lead with a little under five minutes to play.
Sadly for the Islanders, Patrick Henry would net two goals to take the 9-8 lead over the final four minutes. The Islanders looked to have an opportunity when it appeared York forced a turnover with 1:26 to play, but he was called for a questionable penalty.
The penalty would keep the ball with the Patriots and allow them to run out the clock and take the victory.
While the 9-8 loss was not how the Islanders wanted to finish the season, the 2022 playoff run was still one the team should be able to look back on with pride.