In the annual battle between the two high schools in St. Tammany Parish that field lacrosse teams, St. Paul’s remained undefeated on the season (14-0) after an 18-7 victory over Mandeville on April 11 at Sidney Theriot Stadium.
Senior attacker Ian Varney led the way for the Wolves with nine goals and three assists to pace the St. Paul’s attack. Sophomore Jack Collins notched six goals of his own for the Wolves, with Christopher Flood finding the back of the net twice, while also finishing with three assists. Patrick Brown and Josh Verges scored one goal each for the victorious Wolves.
St. Paul’s delivered a quick paced attack, racing out to an early 2-0 advantage, aided by Varney, who tallied his first two goals just three minutes into the match.
Varney said he loves the Wolves offensive firepower.
“We play with intensity and have a number of great offensive threats, who can finish, and we bank on that,” he said. “We moved the ball well, finding the open player. We look for each other and work the ball to our open teammates, making the defense work.”
The Wolves featured a crisp on-the-money passing offense, patiently waiting for teammates to free up themselves deep into the Skippers’ net area, capping off a number of close-range goals.
Mandeville junior goalie Allen Torres, who notched 20 saves, kept his Skippers in it, holding off St. Paul’s early onslaught, trailing 2-0 at the end of the first quarter. Torres said he felt his team kept its composure, despite falling behind 5-0.
“When they went on that early run it motivated me to do my best in net,” the Skippers keeper said. “St. Paul’s is a quality passing team and plays really fast. They have a bunch of good shooters.”
Just 35 seconds into the second quarter Flood netted his first of two goals, making it 3-0. Only 42 seconds later, Collins scored his first of his six tallies, pushing it to 4-0, assisted by Flood. St. Paul’s Verges tally made it 5-0 at the 9:30 mark of the second quarter, assisted by Flood.
Mandeville (4-7) hung in there, finding a way to battle back in the form of two goals in just a 10-second span. Issac Holbrook put the Skippers on the board assisted by captain Jacob Weisensee with 7:47 left in the second period. Weisensee, who led the Skippers’ attack with five goals, found the range a mere 10 ticks later, scoring unassisted, cutting the margin to 5-2.
St. Paul’s regrouped, polishing off the next three goals, pushing its lead to 8-2, at the half.
Wolves first-year head coach Roger Bacon said his team’s game plan was to start fast.
“We have a bunch of mentally tough players, who play at a stellar level with a high lacrosse IQ,” he said. “We have a special group that plays with desire and passion and that’s something you can’t teach. They are playing fantastic and for each other.”
Entering the third quarter, Mandeville still battling, netted the next two goals by Weisensee and Jack Henderson, trimming it to 8-4 with 9:53 left in the quarter. The rest of the quarter went the Wolves way, outscoring the Skippers 4-1, holding a 12-5 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
St. Paul’s kept the offensive pressure up netting six more goals in the final quarter, allowing two goals to the Skippers, closing things out at 18-7.
Mandeville first-year coach Chris Oos said his team was a little short-handed due to injuries.
“St. Paul’s is a great ball handling team and they play excellent in transition, keeping the pressure on your defense,” he said. “They handle the ball better than any team I’ve seen. Lacrosse is all about momentum and penalties didn’t help, trying to defend their continued pressure.”