By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Senior Johnny Morocco scored five goals against Cleveland St. Ignatius in last Friday’s opener, and then came back with four more against Moeller in Saturday’s final game to help St. Xavier to the program’s first championship in the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association (MSLCA) A Division Tournament held this past weekend at Obetz Fortress Field, the nation’s first professional lacrosse focused facility located in Greater Columbus that is home of the Major League Lacrosse Ohio Machine.
St. Xavier, which entered as the No. 2 seed behind Upper Arlington, recorded a thrilling 12-11 victory over St. Ignatius in the semifinals when senior Johnny Holcomb snapped a tie with the game-winning goal with just 44 seconds left in regulation. It was the second time this season the Bombers had beaten St. Ignatius, having won by the same score on April 20 in Columbus. Moeller, meanwhile, knocked off No. 1 seed Upper Arlington, 6-3, in Friday’s other semifinal to set up the All-GCL South championship match.
St. Xavier held an early 5-1 advantage before Moeller scored the final three goals of the first half to make it 5-4 at intermission. A thunderstorm moved into the area and forced a 30-minute delay to the start of the second half. In classic Moeller-St. Xavier fashion, the Bombers tried on multiple occasions to pull away but Moeller – the defending Division I state champion – kept responding until senior Jack Kilfoi and Morrocco scored consecutive goals to give St. Xavier an 11-8 lead with 3:28 remaining. Moeller would again narrow the deficit before St. Xavier held on for the 11-9 win and the tournament title.
The Bombers, who finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and will take the No. 1 seed in Region 4 into the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I State Tournament that begins this week. St. Xavier opens the tournament by hosting No. 16 seed Anderson at 7:30 tonight. Anderson advanced with a 13-12 overtime win against Fairfield on Saturday. Assuming it continues to win, St. Xavier would host the first three games of the state tournament on its campus. No. 2 seed Moeller (12-6) begins defense of its title when it hosts Little Miami in its state tourney opener at 6 p.m. today on its Kenwood campus.
GCL South member and No. 12 seed Elder (7-8), which has won four of its last five matches, travels to Lebanon for its first-round match at 7:30 this evening. The Panthers’ lone setback during its last five matches is to Mason.
Morrocco was one of three St. Xavier players named first team All-MSLCA this season. He is joined by seniors Duke Alf and Donny Stock. Teammates Kilfoil and senior Andrew Kendall were named to the second team. Both Moeller and St. Xavier compete in the MSLCA, a 16-team league that comprises schools from Cincinnati (Mason is the third), Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.