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Texas High School Lacrosse League Championship Weekend – Division I Final Four & Championship
The dust has settled in Texas! At the end of the most entertaining season in recent memory, the St. Marks School of Texas has claimed its first State Championship in school history defeating the Episcopal School of Dallas 8-7 in OT on May 5th.
The 2013 Division 1 THSLL Final Four was intense from start to finish. Let us recap the semifinal matchups that set the stage for the Championship Bout:
In the first semifinal, St. Marks took on the defending State Champs, the Highland Park Scots, in a rematch of last year’s championship game. From start to finish, St. Marks dictated the pace of play. Early on, the Lions finished opportunities capitalizing on Highland Park’s inability to possess the ball. Led by their senior-laden defense, St. Marks stifled the Scots for most of the game. Having won by a margin of 8-4, the Lions awaited the winner of the ESD vs. Jesuit game.
The nightcap of the semifinal matchups was one of the games of the year. Dallas Jesuit, the favorite to take the title in 2013, took on the offensively dynamic, ESD squad. ESD came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, going up 4-1 at the half on the talented Rangers squad. In the second half, Jesuit found their rhythm and brought it all the way back, actually taking the lead with 5 minutes left in the fourth on an absolute laser by senior, Duke-bound mid, Garrett Van De Ven. After a quick takeaway and subsequent fast break goal, it was all square heading into the home stretch. With eleven seconds left in the game, Eagle attackman, Richie Loftus, got underneath finishing inside to give ESD the lead and the victory. An absolutely thrilling conclusion to a well-played first day of THSLL, State, semi-final action! And all of us looked forward to the final, an SPC Championship rematch between ESD & The St. Marks School.
The rubber match saw ESD and St. Marks competing for the third time in the 2013 season, each with a win to their credit. ESD defeated St. Marks first in regular season play, while, just a couple of weeks before the final, St. Marks won the SPC Tournament. This matchup, however, was for all the marbles.
Coming out of the gates, ESD went up early taking a commanding 6-1 lead. The Eagles offense has been highly touted all year, and it appeared they were feeding off the momentum from a crucial Jesuit victory.
Capitalizing on early possessions with efficient shooting, the Lions had their work cut out for them down 6-2 heading into the half. As the game continued to play on, the battle-tested Lions squad brought it back slowly, continuously chipping away at the Eagles’ first-half lead. The senior-led, St. Marks defense settled in and really limited the potent Eagles O that had their way much of the first half. With 41 seconds
remaining in the final period, senior midfielder Evan Chang Tung tied the match up sending the State Championship into overtime for the first time in THSLL history.
In the “ovaltine” period, each team exchanged possessions. After a prolonged offensive effort by St. Marks, once again, senior midfielder Evan Chang Tung let one go from distance, a deceptive, three-quarter bounce at the chalk around a screen to punch the ticket for the first-ever, St. Marks State Championship! The ensuing celebration was epic, the appropriate mixture of emotion and appreciation. The Lions had finally done it! Congrats to St. Marks, Coach Lee, all the seniors, their teammates, and the Lions staff on a truly unforgettable run.
The 2013 season demonstrated once again that parity is alive in our great sport and that lacrosse in Texas is better than ever! That is a wrap on the 2013 season from the Great State. However, StickStar will keep you posted throughout the summer on the developments from our region.
Thanks to Connor Wilson and the LAS Staff for the opportunity to keep you informed. We will keep on working at it!