Boys lacrosse championships: Falcons net ‘four-peat’

Torrey Pines' Ryland Roach and Chandler Caster (40) celebrate Caster's goal during the CIF lacrosse championship game.
(Denis Poroy/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Torrey Pines clinches fourth straight CIF Open crown


Winning apparently doesn’t grow old for Torrey Pines’ boys lacrosse team. The Falcons withstood a stirring comeback by Bishop’s, then pulled away to defeat the Knights 10-5 on Saturday evening, May 21, at Del Norte High to win another Open Division championship.

It was Falcons’ fourth straight Open crown.

Said a Torrey fan, “Four-peat, they can’t stop us.”

Midway through the third period the top-seeded Falcons led 8-2. Second-seeded Bishop’s (20-2) made it interesting, pulling to within 8-5. But Torrey put the game away with two fourth-period goals.

“I have mixed emotions,” said North Carolina-bound senior midfielder Tayden Bultman. “Today’s our last game. We finished off the way we wanted. It’s a little sad but very exciting.”

Illustrating Torrey’s depth, eight Falcons scored. Sophomore goalie Andrew Cook stopped 16 shots.

“I was just feeling it,” said Cook.

The Falcons (14-7) faced challenges this season. Two All-CIF players moved. Defensive standout Brycen Monjazeb suffered a season-ending knee injury. Notre Dame-bound attack Griffin Grant missed a dozen games with injuries.

On April 30, Torrey was routed, at home, 13-5 by Grossmont, snapping a 43-game winning streak against local teams. The Falcons needed overtime to beat rival La Costa Canyon in the semis.

“This is my 19th year (coaching high school lacrosse),” said Torrey head coach Jono Zissi. “This is probably the most rewarding year. We didn’t have all the talent. There were so many injuries. None are ever easy. But this one was particularly tough.”

It was the Falcons’ ninth title, breaking a tie with LCC for most in section history.

Division I

Patrick Henry 9, Coronado 8: When the clocked ticked down to zero, Patrick Henry’s players flung their sticks, gloves and helmets in the air, then made a mad dash to goalie Ethan Pham.

Minutes later, the No. 1-seeded Patriots were holding a trophy and mugging for photographers, celebrating the D-I crown.

It was Henry’s second straight championship after taking the D-II title last year.

Hence, the team chanting, “Back-to-back, back-to-back ...”

It wasn’t easy. Down by three goals in the third period, second-seeded Coronado (6-12) rallied to take an 8-7 lead. But Henry scored two goals in the final 5 minutes, 41 seconds. The winner, with 4:19 on clock, was delivered by Connor Stagner, his fourth goal.

Henry alternated goalies most of the season. But in the semis and finals, O’Neill stuck with Pham, a senior captain who came through with several clutch saves.

Said O’Neill, “He played a helluva match.”

Division II

Francis Parker 12, Pacific Ridge 7: Two weeks before Francis Parker was to start lacrosse practice, the boys’ head coach quit.

“I thought I had a solution,” said then-assistant Jason Khoury. “I thought that was me.”

Good idea.

Khoury was named head coach and Saturday the Lancers capped a memorable season, defeating Pacific Ridge 12-7 to win the D-II title.

Days before the game, Khoury wouldn’t give up who was the Lancers’ leading scorer. “Everyone’s equally important,” he said.

Senior Jesse Smith scored Parker’s first goal and didn’t stop, putting the ball in the net seven times.

“He’s everything a coach dreams of,” said Khoury. “He plays for love, he plays for his teammates.”

Top-seeded Parker (15-7) clinched its second section title by going up 9-3 after three quarters.

Olin Silverman scored six of Pacific Ridge’s goals.

Norcross is a freelance writer.