Poor discipline made all the difference in the Rancho Cotate Cougars’ loss, 9-8, Fri., Feb. 22 in overtime against the San Marin Mustangs.
It was the Cougars’ first game of the lacrosse season and so a few kinks were to be expected—nevertheless, the Cougars struggled to maintain composure in the face of Mustang taunts and the game erupted in a brawl late in the first half. The fight ended quickly and the game resumed, but the break in composure forced the Cougars to play a man down for several minutes. Those minutes proved crucial.
“Honestly? Our lack of discipline. We had four or five non-releasable penalties—that means once they’re in the box they serve their full time. That hurt us,” Cougars’ coach, Tory Hotaling, said. “We’re a young team. They’ve got to keep their composure and maintain what they’re doing on the field.”
The Cougars kicked off the match strong when they gained possession after a stray Mustang pass sent the ball rolling across the field. They scooped it up and passed it around the Mustang net and edged forward. But the Mustangs held a tight defensive pattern, jabbing with their sticks if the Cougars drew too close.
It took the Cougars’ Zack Hegarty to find a hole. Hegarty snuck into the Mustangs’ zone around the net. In perfect position, he caught the pass as the ball passed into his net, spun around the defender covering him and flicked the ball into the net.
Cougar Keiran Keany followed up the goal with one that was almost an exact mirror. He charged forward and collided with the defender covering him, but he held onto his objective and hurled the ball over the Mustang goalie’s shoulder. A few minutes later he did again—this time from the middle of the box.
Everything told Keany took eleven shots and made three, more than anyone else on the team.
“The game went pretty crappy. We couldn’t get our offense going,” Keany said. “It wasn’t a shutout, but we had sloppy offensive control—their defense wasn’t great either. We just got lucky on shots.”
The Mustangs and the Cougars passed the lead back and forth. At halftime the Mustangs led by two, then within a couple of the returns the Cougars tied it up. They hovered within one point of each other for the rest of the third and fourth quarters. As the final seconds ticked down, they stood tied, 8-8, and went into sudden death.
It was a short overtime. The Cougars took possession after the face-off and missed their first shot on the goal. The Mustangs picked up the ball and carried it down the field. After a lengthy
passing session, they took their shot and landed the last goal of the game, bringing an end to the sudden death overtime.
You guys are such a class act up here,” Mustangs’ coach, Jim Hickey, said. “The thing I love the most about Rancho Cotate is that they bring such an intensity and heart to the game—whether it’s football, whether it’s lacrosse, whether it’s basketball—whatever they do they’ve got great kids up here that just go for it.”
Next up for the Cougars is a match against the Novato Hornets Sat., March. 9.