By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Based on the two regular-season matches between St. Xavier and Cleveland St. Ignatius, both decided by one goal, Saturday’s title match between the two schools in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Lacrosse State Tournament figured to be another instant classic. And it certainly didn’t disappoint, as St. Xavier defeated its Northeast Ohio rival for the third time this spring by one goal, winning 10-9 at Ohio Wesleyan University Selby Stadium to earn St. Xavier its fourth state lacrosse title overall and first since the sport became an official OHSAA-sanctioned sport a year ago.
The Bombers’ win also keeps the title in the Greater Catholic League South Division, after Moeller won the 2017 state title. St. Xavier won state crowns in 1997, 2000 and 2015, all of which were then governed by the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association. Moeller defeated St. Xavier a year ago in the regional final to advance to the state semifinals; St. Xavier knocked off Moeller in this year’s regional final to advance to the Final Four.
Against St. Ignatius, it did not look good most of the match for the Bombers – who lost in virtually every statistical category except the one that ultimately counts – the final score. St. Xavier trailed 8-7 with 4:13 remaining in the third quarter but came back on goals from senior Duke Alf and Jack Kilfoil to tie the game, 9-9. The score remained the same until with 1:46 remaining, Alf scored an unassisted goal to give St. Xavier its only lead of the night. Senior goalkeeper Ross Wiseman took care of the rest, shutting down the Wildcats to preserve another one-goal win over St. Ignatius.
St. Xavier (19-3), which closed its season by winning eight straight matches, got three goals each from Alf and Morrocco – who also added three assists. Coach Nate Sprong’s Bombers were a perfect 3-0 against St. Ignatius (16-8), winning a pair of regular-season matches by identical scores of 12-11. St. Ignatius advanced to the state final with a one-goal win, besting Dublin Coffman, 16-15, in overtime.