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’Jackets suffer narrow defeat at hands of SI

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday March 27, 2002

At first glance, the Berkeley High boys’ lacrosse team’s two losses this season seem strikingly similar. Both came to private schools from San Francisco (University and St. Ignatius), both were close games all the way through (no lead bigger than two goals), and the ’Jackets gave up goals in the final minutes of each game to lose by one. 

But look closer. The loss to University, suffered a week ago, came on an unfamiliar field against a scrappy but under-manned opponent, with neither team playing particularly well. Tuesday’s loss to St. Ignatius, however, was a case of two powers trading blows for 48 minutes, both teams playing as if this game was their last. 

“St. Ignatius is twice as good as University, and we played twice as well against them,” Berkeley head coach Jon Rubin said after Tuesday’s 10-9 setback. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this loss.” 

St. Ignatius defenseman Damon Conklin scored his second goal of the game with just 1:12 left in the match to give the Wildcats the win. Berkeley had tied the score with less than three minutes remaining on a blind, backwards-over-the-head shot from sophomore Sam Geller, but that was the last comeback the ’Jackets had in them. The Berkeley players committed two turnovers in the final minute of the game, getting just one shot on goal before time ran out. 

“Those two times we threw the ball away at the end, that’s just a result of not playing in close games,” Rubin said. “Hopefully next time we’ll have a little more composure.” 

But the ’Jackets gave St. Ignatius all it could handle and then some. The Berkeley seniors had been looking towards Tuesday’s matchup with anticipation, referring to it as their biggest game of the year. They came out fired up, swarming all over the field and becoming increasingly physical as the game progressed. 

“The biggest difference in this game was hustle,” St. Ignatius head coach Dave Giarrusso said. “(Berkeley) out-groundballed us all game, and that’s just a matter of wanting it more.” 

The Wildcats scored two goals in the final two minutes of the first half to take a 6-5 lead, their first of the game. Scott Brittain scored on a loose ball for a two-goal lead just after halftime, but Berkeley tied the game on goals from Calvin Gaskin and Julian Coffman. 

David Hoyt scored for the Wildcats with 8:18 left in the third quarter, then both teams clamped down on defense. Each had a good scoring chance in the final minute. A double-team caused Berkeley defenseman Chris May to turn the ball over for a St. Ignatius breakaway, but Brain Schimaneck’s apparent goal was waved off for a crease violation. Then an errant St. Ignatius pass gave Erick Lindeman a breakaway, but Wildcat goalie Justin Boland saved the shot with just seconds left on the clock. 

Berkeley tied the game again on a Geller shot from up top, but Dan Mason scored from a nice assist by Chris Patterson for a 9-8 lead with 6:33 left. 

Despite the final score, Tuesday’s game gave Rubin confidence as the ’Jackets head into the Bayshore Lacrosse League season. 

“We looked like a totally different team today, and I’m absolutely proud of the effort the players put in,” he said. “That was the best lacrosse we’ve played at Berkeley High in a long time.”